Category Archives: Home

Give It A Whirl

My mother’s refrigerator is 17 years old, like most of our appliances. It was a floor model purchased at McKenna’s Furniture in Summerside. Nothing fancy, no ice makers or motherboards. Whirlpool Gold GT19DK. 

A few times over this little insulated box’s life, we have found water inside below the crispers and on some of the shelves.

After some internet searching, and remembering the appliance expert on CBC Maritime Noon talking about a similar situation, it seemed the likely culprit would be crumbs in the defrost drain hose from the freezer. I removed a few screws, pulled out some panels, and used a hair dryer and a scraper to remove ice that had built up and caused the flooding. I was soon rewarded with the satisfying sound of water running down the drain into the pan below the refrigerator as I flushed out the hose with a turkey baster and some hot water.

Frozen drain pan.
A turkey baster is an excellent tool for shooting hot water down the drain.

The tell-tale puddle appeared a month ago, so I went through this defrosting process again. Then it happened a couple of weeks later, and I figured I needed a better solution.

So, I watched lots of videos and read lots of articles. Seems this icing up is a problem for many other people, and Whirlpool has released a fix without saying there is something inherently wrong with the design of their products. You can buy this part for about $20 plus $10 shipping. It’s a piece of metal you clip on the the defrost heater.

Or, you can save the $30 and do as this fellow and many others suggest: wrap one end of some copper wire around the defrost heater and stick the other end down the drain hole. This will hopefully direct enough heat to keep this silly setup from freezing and glaciating (I don’t think that’s a word, but spellcheck is letting it go, so now it’s a word!).

The little piece of wire I saved when the electricians were here last year finally came in handy!
Wire on the defrost heater.
Godspeed, little wire. I hope I never see you again.

It’s been two weeks and all is as it should be in the refrigerator. Fingers crossed.

You Have Lint Where?

November 24 – 30 is National Home Fire Safety Week in Canada. It’s a good time to test and clean your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace any that are more than 10 years old. Fire extinguishers should also be inspected and recharged regularly.

Make an emergency plan and go over it a couple of times a year. One good place to start is Get Prepared from Public Safety Canada. I’m glad to see they now have a guide to help create a plan and kit for people with disabilities/special needs and for caregivers. We have had an emergency plan for a number of years, but my mother’s decreased mobility means I should likely make revisions.

One tip I learned years ago that freaked me at the time was cleaning dryer lint from inside the dryer cabinet. It’s easy to clean out the lint trap that all dryers have, but have you ever been told to vacuum inside the dryer? The first time I did, about 12 years after buying the dryer, it was a horror story!

We rarely use our dryer now, but if you even use yours a few times a year, please find out how to safely get inside your dryer after turning it off at the breaker and clean the darn thing out. Clean the dryer vent and hood, too.

And one more thing: plastic/vinyl duct is not for dryers. It gets brittle and leaks, it melts, it burns. Please replace it with a rigid aluminum metal duct.

Tips and more tips.

Made It

The floating building saga ended late yesterday afternoon. First they pulled the barge by hand:

Tote that barge…

Then they put their boats into action:

Pushmi-pullyu.

And here it is this afternoon, near the top of the creek, where it will spend the winter. Lots of lines off to either side to hold it steady until it freezes in place.

Almost

Heading to the chicken coop this morning to check on the gals, I saw a building coming down Foxley River. I can’t say for certain this is the first building to move on the river, as I think our boathouse came down from Cascumpec on the ice in 1961, but I wasn’t around for that excitement.

There is an oyster warehouse on the other side of the river from us, so I assumed this oyster shed was headed there. Instead, they started to turn up the creek (pronounced crick by me, because that’s what it is!) that runs in front of our house. I started driving a dory and outboard motor on this river when I was about seven or eight, so I know the tides and channels well, and have been stuck just about everywhere there is to be stuck! I was pretty sure where this was headed.

Almost.

The tide was fairly low when they tried to pull/push this little barge through the narrow passage that is pure black mussel mud at the bottom, and it hung up. The owner’s 200 HP Yamaha couldn’t budge it.

They’ll be back this afternoon to try again, though the highest tide today will be around midnight, so we’ll see. They had it anchored off Goff’s Bridge in Foxley Bay last winter, but it got beaten up pretty badly even with five lines on it, so they thought they would try here.

The owner (who knows all my Hardy and Phillips fishing cousins, giving me some credibility by association!) said we can use it for putting on our skates this winter when they get it anchored up the creek. There’s a BBQ and everything in there, so we might just have a few parties on the ice.

The hens want to keep it for a chicken palace!

Homemade Halloween

When we first moved into our house in 2002, and for a few years after, we were lucky to get 5 or 6 trick or treaters on Halloween, mostly neighbours and cousins. Our 1,000 foot lane is often muddy this time of year, and children in the country have to be driven from house to house, so you go where you are taken!

One Halloween in the mid-2000s, I was doing the morning milking with my friend and neighbour, Jonathan, at his uncle’s dairy farm, and we were comparing notes about how many children we were expecting that night. Jonathan lives less than a kilometre from our house and he was getting 20 and 30 kids a year! His secret wasn’t much of a secret: better treats!

So, we upped our game, and the numbers started to rise. By 2010, we had moved into the double digits, and last year we had 20! I love watching the tiny shy toddlers turning into teenagers taller than me. I beg them to keep coming back even after they can drive!

The most heart warming, and perhaps surprising thing in this world of stranger danger and store-bought everything, is that every child who has been here on this rainy, windy evening has been looking forward to one thing only: my mother’s homemade sugar cookies. She baked and decorated five dozen cookies this year, with two-packs to give out tonight, and the leftovers will go to her church Sunday School this weekend.

Her 97-year-old hands don’t work as well as they once did, and she is never really pleased with the decorating job, but she says a prayer as she works that each child who receives them will live in peace and happiness. Nothing I can buy at a store will ever compare to this, and she will be remembered by children born in this decade long into the late part of this century as that nice lady who made the cookies on Halloween.

Twofers of sugar.

So Enjoy Your Life

I made this fish biryani (every Thomasina Miers recipe seems to be golden!) for supper while listening to Enjoy Your Life by Marina more times than might seem appropriate for an old doll like me.

Stoic Week is going well (and Marina is half Greek, after all!), and maybe I’m not Stoic enough to sit back and enjoy my problems, as she suggests, but I’m working on it!

Sit back and enjoy your problems

You don’t always have to solve them

‘Cause your worst days they are over

So enjoy your life

Let The Sun Shine

Yesterday I turned 53. The universe and efficiencyPEI conspired to also make it the day that the cheerful crew from Renewable Lifestyles arrived to start installing our roof-top power plant.

For Greta, and her grandchildren.

The only time this feminist wants to hear “nice rack.”
And a one, and a two..
Kill switch, so no one gets killed.
Clemmie Churchill, naturally solar powered.

Dorian

Just found notes I made while we waited for our power to be restored after Post-Tropical Storm Dorian (PTSD, which is what I had for a bit!). September flew by in a series of post-summer board meetings, keeping me from posting, so I shall post this post-haste!

  1. Power out from Saturday, September 7, 17:10 to Friday, September 13, 20:30.
  2. Internet outages: Saturday, September 7 ,17:10 to Tuesday, September 10 19:15, and Wednesday, September 11 09:00-20:00.
  3. I missed the Internet more than electricity.
  4. Our average electricity costs to this point in 2019 is $3.84/24-hour-day or 16 cents an hour. We ran our generator for a total 30 hours for those six days and we used 40 litres of gasoline, so that works out to .75 litres/hour. At a cost of $1.14/litre, our generator cost was about 85 cents/hour or (if we had run the generator 24 hours a day) $20.40 a day. Electricity is a really great deal!
  5. Plug-in carbon monoxide detectors with replaceable 9v battery backups are cheaper to purchase, but they eat batteries like crazy, so I will replace these units with a type with a 10-year non-replaceable battery.
  6. A chainsaw with a dull chain is almost worse that not having a chainsaw at all.
  7. After 15 years of faithfully putting on chainsaw chaps, even when I’m just doing a quick job, I found out they work incredibly well (see little white cut in photo below).
  8. Rainfall amounts Saturday, September 7 = 76 mm, Sunday, September 8 = 26 mm
  9. Asparagus ferns are the only wind-proof residents of my vegetable garden, even though they look the most fragile. Dahlias and sunflowers collapsed in the first hour of the high winds, even though they look the strongest. Lesson there to be more flexible in challenging conditions.
  10. It’s still very dark outside when all the orange and bright white street lights that have been plonked in the middle of the country are doused.
  11. A landline will not always work, despite the promises. This was a big surprise after hearing the message for years that retaining a landline in addition to a mobile telephone is important in case of emergencies as it will always work.
  12. Landline outage: Sunday, September 8 from approximately 09:30-14:00; Monday, September 9 from at least 05:30-14:30; Tuesday, September 10 from at least 05:00 – 10:45.
  13. Chicken eggs laid during outage = 24 (no electricity necessary!)
  14. Canadian Tire in Summerside sold an emergency order of 70 generators that arrived on the morning of September 9 by noon that day. Centennial Honda only had three chainsaws left on September 10, and were out of many parts. To make a fortune, corner the generator and chainsaw market before storms.
  15. CBC Maritime Noon should always be 2 hours, just like it used to be.
  16. Media people, including power company spokespeople, say “check our website for more information” a lot. It’s a reflex now, and one I don’t usually notice, except when I can’t access the Internet. Internet-connected devices and service are not affordable by everyone, nor can everyone navigate a computer, so they are left behind even when the power is on.
  17. Never seen before: round bale of straw floating down the river, bleach bottle that blew into our yard from somewhere.
  18. Injuries = 0. Trees on house = 0. Trees on power line to house = 1 huge spruce, still very much alive. Trees down in our forest = a lot more than at any other time in my lifetime, possibly because much of our forest grew up after the 1960 forest fire and isn’t that diverse (a lot of white spruce, poplar, and white birch). What looks to us like a big mess is the forest canopy opening up naturally to allow the next generation to thrive.
  19. I thought very little about the current US president, nor anything else, really. The world kept turning, I just worried about feeding my family, getting water, cleaning up the mess in the yard.
The colours of fall.