Monthly Archives: August 2019

Oven Timer

We bought new appliances when we built our house in 2002. They were plain white and as simple as I could find.

The simple part has (knock on wood) been a blessing as all are still working, with only one minor repair to our washer and a couple to our refrigerator (I replaced the freezer defrost thermostat myself last year!)

Our Maytag MGS 5770 propane range, though, has been another story. Pilot lights have replaced electric ignitors in modern stoves, which saves fuel and lessens the explosion risk, but they seem to wear out every 3-4 years.

The first couple of times the ignitors gave out I called a company from Charlottetown, which meant waiting until they were in our area. After watching them quickly install the $50 part and charging me nearly double that for the service call, I decided I could order the part and do it myself. As we have two ranges (my mother has an apartment attached to our house), this has been a big saving.

When the controller on our range stopped working in August 2016, I called a new appliance repair technician who had just moved to our area. Before he arrived, I did an internet search about either buying a new controller or getting the faulty one fixed. The price for a new controller wasn’t quite the price of a new range, but putting nearly $1,000 into a then 14-year-old appliance seemed a bit crazy.

Then I found ApplianceTimers.com, who repair mechanical and digital controls for ranges, washers, dryers and dishwashers. In addition to having an informative website, their testimonial section is helpfully organized by US state and Canadian province. There was only one testimonial from PEI at that time, and it was, of course, from someone I knew (I had taught her Sunday School a looooong time ago before I became a heathen), so I could easily confirm that ApplianceTimers.com weren’t going to take my money and run.

I contacted the company to see if they might have a rebuilt controller. They didn’t have one in stock, but said they had good success repairing the type from my range, so I waited to see what the technician would say.

The technician spent three minutes looking at the range and said I would need a new controller (thank you), but added it would be crazy to put that kind of money into an old appliance (hey, didn’t I just say that?!). I asked about getting the controller repaired and he said I would be wasting my money as it only worked 50% of the time.

50% seemed pretty good odds to me, so I carefully removed the controller, labelling the wires REALLY well as I went along, and shipped it off to their Quebec repair centre. They replaced a resistor, and in less than a week I had it back, wires reconnected, and the oven back in service. 

The repair plus shipping and taxes totalled $262.31, an investment I hoped would get me a couple of more years from the range.

I’m happy to report that the range is still working three years later. I have since had the spark module that controls the burners replaced (a repair I watched closely and feel I could now do myself) and I replaced the oven ignitor and the door gasket last year. The display might be a bit dimmer than when the range was new, but that’s ok. I’m pleased to have kept an appliance out of the waste stream and saved some money, too.

New Library, New Museum?

Great news today that Charlottetown will follow Summerside’s lead and get a new library. The scuttlebutt was that capital city folks were annoyed that Summerside had gotten ahead of them with the Inspire Learning Centre, so good for them for making it happen in Charlottetown.

I hope the next announcement from the provincial government will be to finally establish a central provincial museum in the Confederation Centre library space. Ian Scott has documented the past few half-hearted stabs at a provincial museum on his blog, and talk of such a facility goes back well over 100 years. The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation has a couple of storage facilities filled to the brim with artefacts that should be seen. I know some collectors who would like to donate items to the PEIMHF, but don’t want the objects to end up hidden away forever.

I believe the Confed Centre library space was originally intended to be a museum, so it would make sense to finally make it so. Sense and government don’t always go together, so I won’t hold my breath, but maybe if the folks in Summerside would announce they are building a provincial museum…

97

My mother and I delivered eight dozen sugar cookies that she baked and decorated herself to the vacation bible school group in Tyne Valley today, her 97th birthday. She said it’s not a big deal, but I think it’s kind of a big deal at her age, or any age, really! She wishes she could do as much as she once did, but she still does what she can, and that’s a great lesson for us all.

Everyone needs to feel needed, no matter what age or ability. When my caring responsibilities start to feel heavy, I remember times when I was alone and had no one who needed me, and I know that was much worse. Love and be loved, and make cookies.

Show Your Stripes

The header image on my homepage comes from showyourstripes.info and represents the annual average temperatures for Canada from 1901-2018 using data from Berkeley Earth. Similar images can be generated for other regions or the whole planet. From their FAQ page:

These ‘warming stripe’ graphics are visual representations of the change in temperature as measured in each country over the past 100+ years. Each stripe represents the temperature in that country averaged over a year. For most countries, the stripes start in the year 1901 and finish in 2018. For the UK, USA, Switzerland & Germany, the data starts in the late 19th century.

Canadawarming
Canada warming stripes 1901-2018 from showyourstripes.info

The one for the entire globe using data from 1850-2018 is even more striking. Will I be around long enough to see the cooler shades return?

Globe 1850-2018
Annual average temperatures for GLOBE from 1850-2018 using data from UK Met Office.

Clean Screen

What happens when you drop your iPod Touch in a bucket of water for two seconds while you are washing your floors?

Clean Screen
Still podding!

Nothing! Didn’t skip a beat.

Yes, I still have an iPod Touch (6th generation) and am deluded enough to think my letter to Tim Cook asking him to retain and update the Touch led to Apple releasing the 7th generation earlier this year. Touch+wi-fi+Samsung flip phone = smartish phone!

Three For Four

All four of our hens are laying eggs now. The two new red pullets, Clemmie and Prue, took a while to get going, and their eggs are still small, but things are usually running like clockwork.

One day last week, Clemmie took off when Steven opened the run in the morning and ran to the house. I later only found three eggs in the two nesting boxes in the coop. I had seen Clemmie and Prue checking out the spirea next to our deck the day before, so I had a look there and found a beautiful little brown egg in a sweet little hole Clemmie had made in the soil.

This dash-and-drop went on for a few mornings, so yesterday I threw together a rustic/junky/steampunky outdoor nesting box. The wood came from our old shop floor, which the builders said I should burn but which I have recycled into many garden and chicken projects so far. The roof is the drain pan that used to sit under our ancient water pump for our cottage. The drain pipe had rusted out and left a little hole, so I dug into our bag of recycling and found the snazzy lid from a can of ADL/Dairy Isle evaporated milk (what my 96-year-old mother uses to make fudge, which she did for the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival canteen last week!). Nails and roofing screws were picked up by me from when our house was being built in 2002 and reroofed in 2015. Caulking leftover from repairing our shop siding.

Total cost = $0. And this morning, there was no 5:30 buck-buck-bucking from Clemmie, and she instead left her brown egg in her new box. The chicken books all say “One nesting box is enough for every four hens,” but Clemmie hasn’t gotten to that chapter in her handbook. Or she read the version with the footnote “*except when it isn’t.”

Blue food for blue birds

One of the most beautiful things about the rewilding experiment I am conducting on our property is the abundance of wild blueberries growing just steps from our house, which feed so many animals: wild birds, raccoons, chickens, us!

I’m sitting here on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon watching bird families coming through for a snack. First the blue jays, with their noisy, begging teenagers that demand to be fed every ten seconds. The parents drop down, pick a few berries, feed the young ones, move along. Now there are four flickers yelling at one of our cats who is strolling by.

We used to cut the grass under the trees, rake all the leaves spring and fall, keep everything nice and neat. Now it is much less work, incredibly lush, and full of natural shrubs and flowers. It’s a bit wooly looking, but we live in a forest by a tidal river and this is the way it should look.

Imagine what the world would look like if every human made decisions based on understanding that we are just one of many species and not the top of the heap.