Pete's random thoughts

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Woodstove working!

It's 18 degrees today, just shy of the forecasted high of 21. Pretty chilly down here in the shop but nice and warm upstairs.

One of the projects over the past week was to clean out a garage bay (to make room for more "stuff") and hook up an antique Ashley-style boxwood stove out there. There was already a chimney installed, complete with thimble for the previous owner's wood furnace contraption that was gone when we bought the house.

The stove was one of two Ashleys that we got from freecycle earlier this year. The bigger one went into Jeff's blacksmith shop to replace the one that was there and I knew I would find a place for the other one. Originally, it was slated to go into the first cabin we want to build out by the range, but since it hasn't been started yet, I decided to put it into the garage and hook it up, if only to burn old paper stuff in.

Caleigh and I were going down to Walpole on Saturday to pick up more chickens (also from freecycle) and stopped on the way to pick up the needed stovepipe. Total cost of this installation was $44. Chester and I installed the pipe on Sunday and immediately started burning stuff.

It's amazing how much heat a fistfull of my Mom's old daycare records (circa 1994)will throw in a two-bay garage. The little old stove is certainly earning it's keep. Just warming up the garage makes our bedroom that much warmer, since we are right above it. Every little thing we can do like this will help to lower the oil bill.

The little Ashley will also save us the cost of a paper shredder since we can now simply burn old records. We have been storing old credit card slips because we don't want to just throw them away at the dump, and we considering getting a paper shredder to safely dispose of them, but this is even better since it provides a little extra heat.

The pile of leftover wood scraps from numerous building projects will help too. There's lots of deadwood (we called it "Squaw wood" back in the Boy Scouts) all over the place here too.

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle not only helps the environment, it saves money too!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Businesses that don't support our hobby

So today's project is to sort through more crap in the garage.

I already found homes for some extra tools thanks to "freecycle", and have created a pile of stuff to bring to the "swap shop" at the dump on my next trip.

Before I felt compelled to drop what I was doing and come write this, I was sorting through a box of old paper stuff. It is from roughly 1994. Lots of old catalogs to throw right in the trash, newspaper clippings of reenactments, old stock car racing magazines, some pictures of me before my hair went grey etc.

Towards the bottom of the box was a stash of stuff relating to the semi-annual black powder shoots we used to run. Score records, a few targets, expense reports etc. There were also two envelopes from Gander Mountain and Cabela's. I had written to them (and others) to ask about prize donations because we were starting to get a good turnout at the shoots and better prizes were in order than frozen turkeys and boxes of vegetables. Some vendors provided nice prizes: Smoke & Fire News gave a subscription, Jas. Townsend gave a really nice knife, Arrowhead Forge gave some stuff, Blue Northern gave a gift certificate, Hunter's Rendezvous provided targets, I'm sure there are more but it was 11 years ago and memory fades.

The letters from Cabela's and Gander Mountain came as kind of a shock to me at the time, and even more so now. They were both willing to donate a $25 gift certificate to our shoot in exchange for a complete membership roster and mailing address for every member of our gun club. What jerks.

Donate a gift or don't donate a gift. Send a rejection letter if you feel compelled to do so. (unfortunately, I know I have lost a few prize requests on my desk, don't take it personally, I always try to donate prizes) What these two companies wanted to do was pretty insulting. They basically wanted to buy our personal info from the Sportsman's Club for a $25 gift certificate. At the time, our gun club membership was in the 750 range. I wanted to host a good shoot, but I was not willing to prostitute our member's privacy to do it.

I don't remember the last time I saw a Gander Mountain catalog, but I get Cabela's catalogs all the time. I had forgotten about this incident, and looking back on it, I am glad that I don't think I actually ever bought anything from Cabela's.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Let's Bring 'em Home

Let's Bring 'em home!

No, it's not an antiwar chant, it's a charity organization set up by a former USAF enlistedman to raise money to pay for airfare so enlistedmen with leave can come home for Christmas.

Sure the military provides free rides to and from overseas locations on a "space available' basis, but what about once the serviceman gets home? These folks who are out there putting their lives on the line for America aren't exactly getting rich doing it, so Ernie and the "Let's Bring 'em Home" gang collect money to buy them tickets. Sometimes, the ticket will be used to fly family members over to Germany to visit their wounded enlistedmen who are in the hospital there and can't come home.

If you are reading this, you have time to spare from your life. I'll bet you have a few bucks to spare as well, so skip your drive-through junk food tomorrow morning and instead send the money to these guys who will give our service families the ultimate Christmas present.

As of this afternoon, the LBEH fund is $5600 behind in donations. Every little bit helps! Stop by and donate today!