March 2008


It had to happen sooner or later. Our hot water heater started leaking. I suppose it could have been worse, exploding all at once instead of developing a relatively minor leak, but is there ever a good time to deal with a breaking down water heater?
I raced off to the three chain stores to compare prices. It does seem like most water heaters are gas, not electric. Ours was electric, and we didn’t want to incur even more costs by switching to gas. We ended up buying a Whirlpool 50-gallon heater, with a 9-year warranty. It’s not the best one they make, but the best one they make that was in stock. It has some fancy-schmancy “Energy Smart” feature which supposedly should save some electric operating costs. However, I’d be more convinced by having a thicker layer of insulation around the heater.

Anyway, the store arranged for a local installer to put it in the following day. Since our old one was just leaking, that was fine. We didn’t have to go without hot water (not more than usual anyway). It was installed without a hitch, but the guy had to return with help to remove the old heater since it was so extremely heavy. Turns out, the old heater had a considerable quantity of silt inside, probably from the decades of running off the well I assume.
I didn’t have to lift a finger, except for draining the old heater just to save the installer time.

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I’ve got big plans for the garden.

Vegetables: there’s enough space for a relatively huge vegetable garden on the south side. I hope to plant two kinds of tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), onions, garlic, chives, pumpkins, lettuce, and some herbs. Mostly it’ll save a little money at the grocery store, and hopefully allow us to make salsa whenever we feel like it. As long as the vegetables show up.

In another area, I want to plant asparagus. And in another, raspberries (they are pricey at the store, but the plants are cheap).

The front of the house has to be redone — there’s almost nothing growing in front of it. I was thinking azaleas or rhododendrons, and maybe a magnolia tree somewhere.

The big backyard is fairly empty, but planning is complicated by the presence of several very large trees that create quite a bit of shade. In one corner I thought about the raspberries, and in the other, a prairie-type planted area to attract butterflies and moths. We’ve always wanted to see a Luna Moth in person, so maybe our prairie area would attract some if they still exist in our area. We already have a persimmon tree nearby, so that’s a start.

I’ll be starting most of the plants from seed in order to save some money. Never had much luck with seedlings, but maybe this time will be different.