The Cost of Staying Cool

Today has been one of those “when it rains, it pours” days!

First, this house is mostly rock but the peaks on the sides (I don’t know what you call that stuff) is cheap wood and it needed to be painted. We waited a bit too long and now it needs to be replaced .. which kinda is happening at a good time because it would need to at least partially come down to replace the a/c unit in the attic.

Mini-Split

Mini-Split

It seems like every day it’s harder to keep the house cool. I so love the mini-split in the sewing room.

The plan was to put in a couple of mini split units, which I thought would cost $2,000 to $2,500 each. Surprise! We’ll have to have 220 outlets run and not even counting the cost of that, the mini-split, along with installation will be at least $5,000 each. Uhh .. no!

The guy took some readings. We have some insulation issues, of course . . over the cathedral ceiling. We have some duct work issues . . probably sucking hot attic air in through our vents. Our main outside unit is on its last leg so the inside unit (in the attic) and the outside unit need to be replaced. So, here’s the plan . . some time in October . . too hot to get in the attic and work now.

  • The guy who is replacing the siding is going to cut a big ugly hole in the siding so the a/c guys can access the attic.
  • The a/c guys will then come and pull out the old unit, re-do all the duct work and add some larger vents in the rooms where needed. Put in larger return air vents. Put in new inside and outside heat and air units.
  • The wood replacement guy will then come back and pull off enough siding that we can get someone out to blow in more insulation.
  • Once they come, then wood guy will come back and put up new wood.

I’m thinking I need to be sitting on the street corner with a sign that reads “Will Work For Food!” 

The real problem (though it could be answered prayer!) is that the last three times we’ve put in a new a/c system, we’ve moved within 6 months. We always thought we’d be staying, put in a top of the line system . . then left it for someone else to enjoy.

Seriously, that’s all a huge expense that we didn’t plan on having but I’m thankful that we can do it and hopefully nothing else major will need to be replaced for a while.

Canning Pumpkin

There’s a voice in my head that keeps saying over and over .. “Canned pumpkin will be on sale this fall for less than $1/can!” The voice goes on to say “There are a dozen or more cans of pumpkin in the pantry and you used 2 cans last year!”.

We do love pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie is my favorite .. well, along with buttermilk, cherry, apple, peach, coconut, pecan . . I’m an equal opportunity pie lover.

Sugar Pumpkins

Sugar Pumpkins

This pile of 17 sugar pumpkins was awaiting me this morning. I will cut, peel, remove the seeds (and stuff), par-boil for a couple of minutes and then can them in chunks. I have no idea how much to expect. I’m hoping it all fits into one load for the canner. I guess it all depends on how big the hollow seedy area is inside each pumpkin – how much usable “meat” there is.

This is what I’ll be doing today . . canning pumpkin!

Once the pumpkins are done, I’ll have to figure out a good way to preserve spaghetti squash. I should be thankful I didn’t get enough tomatoes to can . . but I’m not!  🙂

A Trip to the Grocery Store

You’re going to read this and I know what you’re going to be thinking . . she really needs to get a life!  🙂 Maybe I do but I’m pretty happy with my weird little life.

I am not a shopper. I’d rather walk through a garden infested with waist high grass burrs (oh, wait . . I do that every day!) than go shopping . . any kind of shopping.  Many years ago, I loved shopping. If I didn’t have money for shopping, I’d sometimes go to the car dealers and look at cars. That was pretty safe. I knew I wasn’t going to buy a car. Or mobile homes . . I used to love to go look at mobile homes. I loved that “new mobile home smell”. OK. Now  you know way more about me than I should have shared.

But, these days, about the only shopping I have to do on a routine basis is grocery shopping. I’ll make my list and plan to go, then talk myself out of it for days. Sometimes I get desperate enough that I ask Vince if he will take my list and go to the store .  . knowing that even though there are only 20 things on my list, he will come home with 80 things.

When I do go to the store, I go in with my list. I get what’s on my list and I never even notice anything else. I would be perfectly happy if I could walk into the store, hand a personal shopper my note, stand at the door and wait til they had picked up everything on my list.

For some reason, the other day when I went to United, I felt like shopping. I sure hope I’m not going to start loving to shop! I walked down the aisles looking at things not on my list. I think it all started with Wickles. A blog reader asked recently if I had ever had Wickles. I had not but as I was walking down the aisle at United . . there they were. Hey . . I wonder what else is in here that I need to try.

Wickles

Wickles

We’ve used Head Country BBQ sauce forever. There was a whole section of BBQ sauce so I thought  . . I’ll just try something different! The Meyer’s Sauce comes from Elgin, Texas. Gotta love buying Texas products!

BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce

Then I saw this spice. It’s made in Scotland, TX.   I either go through there or close to there when going to and from MO. I see the sign and I always think . . ah . . Scotland .. and I haven’t even left Texas. That reminds me . . I need to go season up a brisket that’s in the fridge so I can smoke it tomorrow. Chad loves to smoke meat so I got each of us one of these.

Seasoning

Seasoning

And then there was the cornmeal.  I needed plain cornmeal for every day but I grabbed the Bob’s for the whole grain for the salt rising bread, then I saw the Lamb’s was “proudly” made in Texas so I figured I needed that one too.

Cornmeal

Cornmeal

It’s been a long time since I blamed CJ for anything but this is so totally her fault. A good while back, she kept talking about Black Truffle Salt. My first thought was . . salt is salt. I wasn’t interested. Then I looked at a link she had posted where she ordered hers and the stuff was outrageously expensive, but I know truffles aren’t cheap. Then I thought . . there’s never been anything CJ recommended that I didn’t love so I ordered my very first Black Truffle Salt and oh, my . . I find myself thinking of what we can eat just so I can use that salt. It is so earthy and so delicious. My favorite ways are on avocados and baked potatoes . . I think because they’re so mild and the black truffle flavor really shines but I love it on everything . . even popcorn.

I’ve always ordered it but when I saw it at United, I grabbed it . . even though it’s way more expensive there than online.

Black Truffle Salt

Black Truffle Salt

That little 6 oz. bottle in the grocery store was $20.

Black Truffle Salt

Black Truffle Salt

This one pound bag was $29.99 at Amazon so it’s a much better price but I wanted to see if there might be more black truffle taste in the other brand. Even when looking at Amazon, there’s a huge variance in the prices – different brands, different quality? I have no idea.

Then I saw this Lime Cilantro Salt. That might be good on avocado, tuna salad . . I so love cilantro. I figured I’d try it.

Lime Cilantro Salt

Lime Cilantro Salt

For the sake of my grocery budget, I think I’d better stick with shopping with a list and not looking at everything on every aisle! It was kinda fun though.