Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not _Quite_ Like Ft. Knox: Weatherstripping cont.

Well, I think our weatherizing efforts helped. But our problems are not, alas, entirely solved. For example, here I sit, blogging away on the new sofa, which is under a window. And although this window was weatherstripped and caulked, I can feel a steady, slow stream of cool air blowing over me coming from the window. Our indoor thermometer, sitting on the sofa with me, says it's 61 degrees here. This is especially disheartening because that vinyl gasket weatherstrip was such a fiddly, aggravating thing to install.

<...performing further research...>

Good news! I ran my hands all over the window. The gasket is working. However, the top sash needs more caulk, and I need to nail a strip of gasket to the top of the bottom sash, at the seam where it meets the top sash. In addition, the D-profile weatherstrip on the underside of the bottom sash doesn't appear to be accomplishing all that might be desired. I'll have to nail another strip of the vinyl gasket to the sill, flush with the bottom sash, to compensate for the D-profile's underperformance.

I am reminded as I ponder all of this that the wood of this particular window was more than normally tough, and most of the little finishing nails that I was using buckled instead of going straight into the wood. (Which is one of the reasons I won't be taking pictures of the window--it's best to keep my handiwork decently out of sight behind the blinds.) What fun to get to spend more quality time with this window! Once again: if I had just had the sense to buy an air compressor back when we began the bamboo project, I'd no doubt have a power nailer by now and this whole problem would be non-existent. Moral of the story: always buy the air compressor.

On a happier note, I also ran my hands over the windows in the study, and they are doing a much better job keeping out the cold. So success is possible, if I just apply myself.

Perfection has also eluded us in the area of the doors. Somehow, I failed to get the vinyl bulb stripping perfectly flush with one side of the study door, so it will have to be reinstalled; the spontaneously new kitchen door needs some refinement in terms of its fit; and the front door has to be slammed in order for the knob to catch, so we'll have to adjust the tongue holes (or whatever the proper word is). Also, the kitchen and study door sills still have leaks at the bottom corners.

This project consumed an entire weekend, and it looks like it's going to chew its way into another. But I guess if it will prevent the tip of my nose from turning into an ice cube, it's worthwhile.

Update on the Recession Garden

I've got several sprouting artichokes, one tiny, hesitant guajillo pepper, as well as the basil, radishes, and Lolla Rossa lettuce I mentioned before. I also sowed some eggplants 2 weekends ago, along with another batch of D'Avignon radishes and some Harmony butterhead lettuce.

In a similar spirit of frugality, I have discovered (and begun to use) the cutting swap feature of a rose site called (weirdly) helpmefind.com. They set up a system to allow users to post the roses they're looking for in order to swap for cuttings of roses they're growing. Brilliant! I've arranged for a 10-rose swap with a lady from Georgia (I think). Since her Fortune's Double Yellow won't be big enough till spring, I'm going ahead and rooting the roses my correspondent wants from my garden. By spring, they should have a nice root system and be ready to mail.

Do you know what would make a really kick-ass accesory for a Recession Garden? One of these. A residential wind turbine. There are a number of issues (it's only recommended for properties larger than 1/2 acre--ours is .48 acres--and it needs to be hoisted on top of a 50-foot tower), but it's way, way cheaper than solar panels (PBS says that even after California's generous incentives, Bill Nye the Science Guy still paid something like $32,000 for his solar panels. Which he apparently has to mop regularly.) In general, one small turbine won't let you live a comfortable, first-world lifestyle "off the grid," but it will--apparently--reduce your power bill to the double or even single digits. Sweet! Still pondering whether to add this to my I-really-want-this-for-real list, or tack it on to my well-it'd-be-nice-if-I-could list, where it can keep the solar panels company.

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