Don’t-it-yourself

Sometimes, even I, home repair juryrigger extraordinaire, call a professional.

Our front room has a built-in woodstove. It’s a long skinny room (20’x10′) with one of those 70s flagstone fireplace walls on the short end. That’d be kinda horrible (fireplaces are really inefficient ways to heat anything), but it’s got a stove insert in it! When we bought the house we decided it was some obscure heatolator, and due to air quality stuff it was sold as-is, so we didn’t really know much about it.

I suffered through a truly horrible winter with $4/gallon propane (like $15/day in winter) and the tiny woodstove in the den, then last fall I got the front stove cleaned and inspected. My chimney dude said it appeared to be in good shape, but it was totally homemade. But the fan came on when you plugged it in and flipped the switch, so that’s what I ran this winter. And dude, it might be homemade and woefully inefficient compared to modern stoves, but it seriously put out some heat!

Back in January or February the thermostat quit working. A male person who resides here part time fiddled with it, and after he’d fiddled with it, it didn’t work anymore. We googled but couldn’t figure out what model it was, much less what we could comparably replace it with, so I just turned the blower on manually when I lit a fire and turned it off in the morning. No big deal.

Then I went to Rides of March and came home victorious and sat on the couch all day Sunday. I built a roaring fire that night and slept toasty warm on Sunday night, except that I had this really weird (even for me) dream about a zombie washing machine detaching itself from the wall and coming to kill me. I woke up a little and thought, in that half-asleep way, that it wasn’t a zombie washing machine, it was the dryer, with rocks in it. Then I woke up more and realized (a) there were no rocks in the dryer and (b) the dryer wasn’t running at 3 am. I staggered up and investigated the very real very loud noise and determined that one of the ball bearings had gone out in the stove fan and it was killing itself. The fire was almost out, so I flipped the switch and went back to sleep.

When I got up I sort of wondered if I’d dreamed the whole thing, but when I turned the fan on it made a very sad sound and turned half a rotation and died completely. Well, hell.

I unscrewed the grill, just to see if I could get the fan out of the firebox somehow, and the fan fell down inside the box and I threw up my hands in despair. I’d just gotten a new tank of propane, and it wasn’t very cold, so I kind of ignored the problem. For a whole week. But eventually I started feeling really guilty when I turned the thermostat up to 70, and really cold when I left it at 65, so I broke down and called for help.

I’ve used Morin since we moved to Reno, and he’s just a great guy. He’s a full-time firefighter / part-time chimney sweep. He laughed at my stoves the first time he came out, but he did it in a “laugh with me, we’ll get through this” way, not a “you idiot!” way. He told me how to get the most out of what I’ve got, and promised that if it can be fixed, he can fix it. So when I called and said “I don’t know if you remember me, but I live in Lemmon Valley and I’ve got that homemade ancient Heatolator…” he knew right who I was.

He’s fixed me up better than new. (Which, admittedly, isn’t a high standard…) He pulled out the old fan:

and mounted a modern new blower fan on the outside:

(See the switch? that’s the switch to turn the fan off and on. Totally homemade, dude.)

There was a fan on the other side of the box, too, but it didn’t work when we bought the place. We didn’t know why, and we didn’t really investigate. While Morin was out here, he did investigate, and this is what he found. Looks kinda like a fan…

A sad fan. With totally melted blades.

Looks like long ago it seized up, and after it quit working the heat of the fires melted the plastic bits. Classy.

He mounted the new blower on the first opening and bolted some metal over the second opening to close it off. The new blower is slightly quieter than the old fan and pushes even more warm air out, so I’m just thrilled.

I asked about the thermostat – it’s a 40 year old dealie from an oil furnace. We’re just not touching it. Flip the fan on when you build a fire, flip it off when it goes out. Good enough.

IN OTHER NEWS

I have gone red again

and I got a new shirt

That’s all I got!

Comments (subscribe by email, direct replies)

This is actually not something clever I discovered, I just lucked into it in Google’s last round of changes.

Remember how you used to be able to click “subscribe to replies by email” on any blog? Well, they took that button out when they went to the two-word verification, but they left the link in for “embedded comments.”

And embedded comments have the nifty little “reply” button under each comment – so you know that I’m replying TO YOU, and you can reply to one of my comments if you want.

Here’s some screenshots of how to turn on embedded comments. If you have the new Blogger interface, it’s under Settings -> Posts and Comments.

If you’re still using the old interface, go to the Settings tab, Comments, click the Embedded below post button.

I gotta admit, I didn’t always click to subscribe to comments. If I was just saying “yay for you / looks great!” I didn’t need to see everybody else say the same thing. But if my comment had substance, you know, like “try clipping your horse you tard,” I’d subscribe to see if the poster replied to me. I figure most people are the same way, and I don’t assume yall subscribe to my comments. But I like the embedded comments because at least you can, if you wanted to see if I replied.

Comments (subscribe by email, direct replies)

This is actually not something clever I discovered, I just lucked into it in Google’s last round of changes.

Remember how you used to be able to click “subscribe to replies by email” on any blog? Well, they took that button out when they went to the two-word verification, but they left the link in for “embedded comments.”

And embedded comments have the nifty little “reply” button under each comment – so you know that I’m replying TO YOU, and you can reply to one of my comments if you want.

Here’s some screenshots of how to turn on embedded comments. If you have the new Blogger interface, it’s under Settings -> Posts and Comments.

If you’re still using the old interface, go to the Settings tab, Comments, click the Embedded below post button.

I gotta admit, I didn’t always click to subscribe to comments. If I was just saying “yay for you / looks great!” I didn’t need to see everybody else say the same thing. But if my comment had substance, you know, like “try clipping your horse you tard,” I’d subscribe to see if the poster replied to me. I figure most people are the same way, and I don’t assume yall subscribe to my comments. But I like the embedded comments because at least you can, if you wanted to see if I replied.

Dag, y’all, we look so good! plus hills

Yall have got to click over and look at these pictures of us. I’m not gonna imageleech them, you have to click to the photographer’s site. I am definitely buying several of these. And framing them. I might get a digital copy of one and use it for my profile pic on every website known to man, too.

Picture 1 – I can ride!

Picture 2 – S’s favorite of us.

Picture 3 – Look at that backdrop. I love this one.

Picture 4 – Or how about lake + mountain?

Picture 5 – She doesn’t melt!

Picture 6 – I think this is my favorite of the group ones. Looks like so much possibility, like we’re all going to ride off together and never come back to real life.

Meanwhile, in real life!

I communed with the couch all morning, then finally dragged myself up and took Dixie up the hill for our short hill workout. She wailed on that hill, too. It was overcast, windy, and about 50 (so perfect weather for a hairy beast).

I took Cersei, and my knees have been feeling creaky, so I didn’t want to run. (I was experimenting with not taking glucosamine – I started taking it seriously about a year ago, and my knees/joints felt better, but then I’ve never stopped taking it so was I just imagining things? After a week off glucosamine, I can tell you that it definitely makes my joints feel better.)

Dixie went ballin’ up that hill. Steady 7 mph trot/foxtrot, and she only slowed to a walk twice. On the less-steep bits headed out, she reluctantly trotted very steadily at 8 mph, and on the downhills coming home she zipped along at 9-10.

I know a lot of my current readers are not and will never be endurance riders, but there are a couple of yall who are considering it, and I suppose more wannabe e-riders will stumble upon my good idea in the years to come, so I try to give the mph info for those people. We started out two years ago barely able to trot 6 mph for 100 feet before Dixie would slam on the brakes, leap sideways, or spin and try to bolt. You can start from very unpromising beginnings and eventually get a steady 6.5 mph trip up and down a hill – it just takes a lot of miles.

Cersei has not yet puked water in the house. I am somewhat hopeful that she’s going to keep it all inside her. Fingers crossed!

Unmentionables, Washoe Lake, hooves

So the other day I went and bought quite expensive undies. (Well, expensive for me – I usually just buy six packs of garishly colored Hanes.) I hit REI and found a pair of seamless Patagonias (HT to Liz Stout for recommending them), and a pair of REI brand seamless panties inexplicably marked down to $4.87. All the rest of the purple REI panties were $16.50, but these were $4.87 – and they actually rang up at that price! A 20% off coupon and my dividend made it a very reasonable purchase. I ordered two more pairs of seamless panties from amazon, but those haven’t even shown up yet. I wore the Patagonias on today’s ride, and they’re quite nice. They won’t get my official Seal Of Approval until I do at least an LD in them, but so far I really like them.

My friends are putting on a new ride this summer, the Tahoe Rim Ride. They’ve got a new photographer – not new to photography, but new to endurance photographs. A small group of us met up at Washoe Lake this morning to help her get some practice. We walked, trotted, cantered, and gaited past her in various combinations along a couple of scenic spots in the park.

The taller one with the ski slopes is Slide Mountain. Lake Tahoe is lurking up there just behind that line of mountains.

In preparation, I washed my horse on Thursday! From stinky yellow beast:

To shiny and white:

Ok, to be totally honest, I only washed her mane and tail. It was in the mid-50s, and my well water is also in the mid-50s, and I just couldn’t scrub her torso, poor thing. She glared at me and went to sleep while she was drying and getting Cowboy Magic’d, then took off bucking and cantering around when I turned her loose. And she rolled. She rolled FOUR TIMES. Poor put-upon mare.

But it was all for naught! She was still fluffy and white this morning.

She’d just shaken her head – I love the floppy ears.

The pro pics should be up by tomorrow, but I’ll spoiler you now: I wore the black tights. I KNOW! But the smileys are very much summerweight, and it was just too cold for that nonsense. I promise, the smileys are going to be worn at the very next warm ride.

My GPS says we went 10.8 miles in 1:45 (moving time – it subtracts out the standing around talking parts). 7 miles of that was dinking around with the photographer. Good practice at being a broke horse – lots of letting others go first, going first, waiting for others, etc. We went in the lake up to her fetlocks and gaited and cantered up and down the shoreline.

Then S and I took off for a little speed work before lunch. S lives down that a way and trains her fabulous racer at the park, so she took me up a seriously winding singletrack through the sagebrush at Mach 10. Well, ok, more like 10 MPH, but it was a blast. It reminded me of exactly why I got a horse to begin with, and how much fun it is to open up on a twisty trail. Dixie racked a bit, but she just couldn’t gait quite that fast, so we cantered most of the 4 miles. She wasn’t too winded at the turnaround, and she wasn’t worn out when we got back to the trailer. This is not the world’s most amazing accomplishment, but I’m proud anyway :)

A little sweaty, but not dripping:

We had a very pleasant lunch together – I brought beer and mooched off of everybody else’s food. (Sorry I ate all your celery and most of your hummus, M! It was really tasty.) When the wind came up, we all decided it was definitely time to go.

I touched up Dixie’s trim yesterday and snapped some pics today, after the barefoot ride cleaned her feet up very nicely. Here’s a post from 6 weeks ago to compare photos.

Front left. I guess I could roll the toe back a smidge further. I think (wishfully?) that her heels are a bit wider, and I can’t decide if her frogs look better or worse.
Front left

Front right.
Front right

Rear left.
Rear left

I will continue on with the purple thrush stuff. Most of her hooves look/smell/feel good, but that one pocket on the outside of the front left is still there. I am pretty tempted to go at her frog with the knife, just to cut back that flap of frog that flops over and covers up the thrush pocket. I knooooow, it’s bad and wrong to trim frogs, but maybe this is the equivalent of a hangnail. Hmmm.