Saturday, September 23, 2017

Collision and Comprehensive or Not...and...BRAND NEW USED TRUCK!!!

So, how does one (especially when that "one" is "me") decide whether to carry comprehensive and/or collision insurance.

Up until 4 days ago, I was a 1 vehicle family.  Now, I am a 2 vehicle family, though I haven't gotten the 2nd vehicle home yet.  Remember that old math question about how 1 farmer with 1 boat gets a chicken, fox, and chicken feed across a creek?  Well...that's easy compared to how does 1 woman with 1 car living 25 miles out of town get 1 more vehicle to her property without leaving the original vehicle stranded on the road. 
Here are the options that occurred to me:
1) Hitchhike...but I saw that movie "The Hitcher" with Rutger Hauer and he is one creepy mofo so I don't hitchhike.

2) Drive my current vehicle 25 miles to the dealer.  Drive the new car 1 mile.  Take 20 minutes to walk back to my car, at the dealer where I had to leave it to get the new vehicle, drive my original car 2 miles, walk back 1 mile to get the new vehicle, drive that 2 miles, walk back 1 mile...lather rinse and repeat until I get home having walked 25 miles at 20 minutes a mile (500 minutes, or 8hours 20 min).  That seems a bit more trouble than it is worth.  And, I need to spend another 45 minutes at the DMV explaining yet again that yes, my mailing address is in one county/highway district and my home where the vehicles live with me, is in a different county/highway district.  Lather, rinse, repeat.
So, that makes 8hr 20min of driving/walking home, 30min driving to dealer, 45min at DMV (realistically, 1 hour...).  Total: 9hr 50min.  If I have to pee and eat, 11 hours.  That seems excessive

3) Mooch a ride. My main moochable ride friends who live closest are selfishly visiting their grandkid.  Where are there priorities?  I had a ride Weds but my original car was in the shop getting tires 25 miles the other way.  Thursday I was waiting for heating log delivery and didn't get done with that until my ride had had to make other plans.  Friday, I was 2.5 hours the other way.  Same for Saturday.  Sunday the dealer is closed.  MONDAY I can mooch a ride into town in time to get plates, apply for a title, and pick up the pick up. 

4) If the Monday ride falls through I will call the local taxi (which is a small step up from hitchhiking because the driver looks more like Boss Hogg than Rutger Hauer) and pay to get to the dealer.  Cripes.

ANYWAY:  The brand new used truck...1999 pick up so obviously its name is Prince Rogers Nelson...changes the risk factors for insurance coverage and/or lack there of.

While I was a 1 car family, carrying more insurance to make sure I had a rental car and could comfortably replace the car, was more important (see above: live 25 miles out of town).  If I crashed the car or a moose stomped on it while I slept, I was stuck.  There are rides I can easily mooch to work, but not back and forth to the repair shop or car rental place.  Those are all different directions.

NOW I only have to mooch a ride home.  There should be a working rig waiting for me there.

So, is it worth it to keep paying coverage for a rental car?
If I am more than 50 miles from home then it might be.  But probably not.  I'd be pretty screwed anyway.
If the car or pick up were completely unrepairable, like a roll over or a tree completely crushing the car, or a moose hitting the front end at 60mph, would I replace the rig? Probably not.  I'd take the payout and drive the remaining vehicle until it wouldn't go anymore. What price is that repair?  I DON'T KNOW.  That's part of the decision problem.  The other is calculating my risk.  Then there is calculating my risk tolerance. 

I will wait 30 days to try to figure this out again, maintaining current coverage until then.  That's about when I owe for the next 6 months of coverage. 

Winter is especially risky drivingwise, so I may carry more coverage through winter and drop it in spring.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Haze...But It's Not Purple

If only it were this cool:

Alas it is hot hot:

But not in a chipper way.   In an oppressive, smoky hazy way.

Here is a screen shot of the smoke map:

I'm under the blob of yellow and red over Idaho.  We're excited when it's only in the green (which isn't "good", just slightly less bad).  We've been breathing smoke for weeks now.  Smoke from forest fires.  

And it's been in the 90s during the day. 

For the past week or more the sun has mostly just been a red blob in the haze.  We can't see mountains, just haze.  More haze.  Always the haze.

People in the area are getting cranky.  I'm getting cranky.  I need clean air.  Cripes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Boise, Idaho...Less Boring Than I Thought It Would Be

I was in Boise last weekend.  It was the first time I had stayed downtown with any free time at all.

There was plenty to do and some of it was thrifty.
The parks are great.  I happened by a community garden on or near State Street, checked out the architecture of a couple of historic districts, and got a reasonably priced donut at DK Donuts (Guru Donuts looked good but I wasn't in the mood for hipster donuts.  I wanted traditional donuts and plain coffee).  The donuts were VERY good.

I splurged a bit with a movie at The Flicks.  Independent much fun.  I got to eat a cookie and see "The Little Hours."  I had been leery of the film based on a trailer I watched, but it was that feeling that I could either love it or hate it.  I LOVED it.  So funny.  Apparently it is based on a medieval story so now I need to read the original story...but in modern English so I can actually get through the stories.

I stayed at the Safari Inn downtown.  I loved it!  I didn't make it into the lobby for the free cookies from 2-9pm.  Oh well.  Next time.  The breakfast isn't bad.  Boiled eggs.  Some sort of pre-fab omelette thing, and peanut butter for proteins.  Oatmeal packets, bread selections, a few small pastries, fruit cups, yogurts, coffee, tea and juice were available.  I can start a day with a couple of boiled eggs and some fruit.  The fruit cups were recently made, not canned or in prefab shelf-stable tublets.  They were in the fridge!  As if they could actually go bad.  As much as I'd rather have an apple, I realize that we'd all just take an apple for later and that ups the cost.  If the fruit is already diced up, you need to eat it sooner. 

The room was big, a king bed with dining table and chairs in a semi-separate area, good functional bathroom.  There was one hair on the pillow, but it was probably just a maid with long hair.  It happens.  The sheets were clearly clean as was the bathroom.

One feature I really liked was the clothesline in the shower/tub!  It is a retractable deal with a connector on the far end of the tub.  You could wash the delicates and hang them to dry over the tub. There was a guest laundry for only 1$ per load for the washer and the same for the dryer.  That's not bad.  The workout room was pretty good as well and had a sauna, but I didn't try those out.

The location is close to all of downtown and over a few bars and things but with the window shut and the AC on, very quiet. I didn't hear the people above or beside me in rooms.  That impressed me.
Overall, not a bad value.

I did have some spendy coffee because I love that.  It was a treat.  I ate meals with family and friends so didn't spend on those (the brats wouldn't let me).

Friday, July 7, 2017

Best Fundraiser EVER. Also, Breakfast of Champions

Here is what I had for breakfast

 I don't know what the "Las Vegas Classic" is.  I don't care.  It could be a stripper competition.  I don't care.  Fry bread, sausage, egg, and that plasticine cheap "cheese" product.  5$.  EVEN though I had to scrape off the cheese because the sammiches were already assembled, I didn't care.  I usually have a tantrum about incipient dairy.  This time, I didn't care.  The actual sandwich was quite a bit larger than pictured. 5$.  And seriously delicious.  I supported a local group, locally made food (the fry bread was fresh), and talked to several community members as we stood in line.

The limited run of 150 sammiches gave the sale quite a bit of cache.  No dawdling over decisions because they were going to run out.  It also means the folks making and serving didn't have to hang out for very long.  There are over 1000 people in this town.  They will run out fast.

At least 300 of us got paid this morning.  Good timing.  I got there a bit before 8 and the sandwiches were already going fast.  So much for "Indian time"..."fry bread time" means "show up early or miss out."


Friday, June 30, 2017

New skill! Cedar Baskets

My baskets are wonky, but sturdy. 

One piece of cedar bark folded, laced with cedar.  

There was a workshop going on where I work and I was allowed to jump in and learn.  Very fun.
And a great skill for the self-reliance quest.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Last weekend my bees swarmed!! I saw them go.  I had stared at the hives at about 8am.  No bees were out.  I thought maybe they were dead or had all left.  But really, 5 hives.  What are the odds they would ALL bugger off the same time?

At 10am or so I walked by again.  There were bees everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  I heard a hum.  A LOUD hum.  Bees were pouring out of the hive of carniolans.  The hive I had split a few weeks ago.  Both that hive the the nuc I made from had looked plenty strong. Apparently they were.

Then I noticed at a buttload of bees were all apparently trying to eat about 5 flowers on the ninebark bush 10 feet from the hive.  I thought "That looks like a swarm."  Then it hit me.  IT WAS a swarm.  DUH.  It was my first time.  I was a swarm virgin.

Nice of them to wait until I was home and walking around.  Had it been a weekday, I wouldn't have been there and would have lost them all.

I went to the ninebark and sure enough, a beard of bees hanging off a branch.

I literally dropped what I was doing (had to go hunting for various tools after the swarm was dealt with) and ran get my bee stuff and figure out a new home.
I had an extra hive body, a top and inner cover and a couple of crap bottoms that I was going to make better one of these days...oops. 

Anyway, I put it all together and put in frames (note to self: next time put the frames in AFTER the bees). It's up on a pallet.  Didn't have bricks or blocks but perhaps one of these days.

I grabbed a rubber tub with a lid and headed to the swarm.  I shook the bee-jezuz out of the branch and many many bees fell into the box.  I laid the lid on gently and took them to the new hive, quite a ways from the old hive and facing away from the beeyard.  I want them to feel like they really moved.

I went back to the tree and there was a smaller beard on the
branch.  Must not have gotten the queen.  The 3rd trip back to check there was a tiny bee beard so I broke the branch off into the tub and took it all to the new hive.  I did one more trip just to be sure.

I fed them but didn't have a feeder I liked so I put sugar and warm water in a quart jar, put a few holes in the lid, then up ended it on an over turned muffin tin.  Worked just fine.

I didn't have any drawn comb to give them so put in empty frames of foundation.

Then I went to relax, hydrate (it was hot as blazes and I had to wear the bee hat. Didn't bother with gloves), and look up what to do about a swarm in my bee reference book.  I pretty much nailed it.  I have had some classes so I wasn't flying totally blind.  The book said that a swarm is all prepped to draw comb so it is the best time to set up bees in a box of empty foundation if one must do that.  Good to know.

They weren't all that interested in the sugar syrup so that is probably a sign they have plenty of real food out there.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Self-Reliance: Solar System

I went with solar to run the well.

There IS a power line crossing part of my property, and yet it would mean paying to set poles and run line to the homesite or well head or somewhere to get hooked in to that.  It was going to be  extremely expensive.  And then I'd be paying a monthly bill.

So, I skipped it.  As I plan the real cabin to live in properly, I'm planning to stick with stand-alone solar.  Not grid tie.  Grid tie here means paying to set those poles and hook up, and then having a more expensive solar system to avoid feed back and meter it and etc.  So, skip it.  I might get more panels.

Right now the system is 2 panels (I forget the size, but biggish, not crappy little ones), 8 batteries, a 24volt system into the inverter which runs the well and has an outlet on it.  There is also a charge controller, The panels are on a pole that can turn and tilt them.

I have learned that I should have gotten a 220/240V well pump, or a DC well pump, or a special one that can run on any power (220, 110, DC, whatever).  I got a 110.  Oh well.  We can't get it all right the first time.   It draws much amperage especially at start up so one scraped wire dropping volts meant it didn't work right for about a year until I found the right solar guys to figure out the issue.  That wire will be replaced when the real cabin goes in and the solar is moved and that portion will need to be re-wired. 

IF I wanted a fridge and washing machine and freezer and to live like someone on the grid, the solar would be too expensive or too high maintenance for me.  I will have lights, a bathroom fan, a few outlets, the well.  That's about it.  I may get a couple more panels to keep the charge up and I'm exploring microhydro and microwind for the not-so-sunny times, but that will probably end with exploration.

I'm not "self-sufficient" with the solar since someone built the panels and other components and I don't do my own wiring etc. I am self-reliant in that with this system in place, I am currently fulffilling most of my electrical needs.  I did bring the electric weed whacker and battery to work today to charge, but that was because I didn't want to leave the charger unattended, and yet I want to weed whack tonight while it's cool out.  I COULD have charged it at home.

Having the solar run the well pump, even the poorly chosen pump, is pretty darn self reliant.  The whole well/water system is pretty cool but I guess that's another post so I will save it.

Here is a picture of the solar panels and the well pump controller (power thingy) stuck on a post by the spigot.