Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bad News Happens In Threes

They say bad things always come in threes.  Let's hope that's true and this is day three of the week from hell.  I wrote on Tuesday about our 3 1/2 year old refrigerator conking out.  On Wednesday we were fighting yellow jackets that had come into the house.  We still have a few wasps taking turns playing in the dining room, but eventually they wear themselves out buzzing the windows.  I keep busy sweeping them up.   I'm the one who got stung today so there are a few of them left.  I tried soapy water on the nest last night.  That works better than any other spray I tried.   I sure hope we don't have to wait for winter before they all leave.  We thought we were in the clear for bad luck but the phone rang before 8:00 this morning.  It was a call from a furnace man we called to look over the furnace in the house we rent out.  I have written about this house before.  It was my great grandma's house, and it was not a good decision to buy it fifteen years ago.  The furnace man said that the furnace was not safe, and that we had to replace it before the heating season starts.  With that news, we will be in the red again this year for that property.  It is truly a money pit.

I try not to whine and post a lot of negative things on this blog, so I am going to focus on the bright side.  As of noon on August 16, 2014 things are looking good.

The temperature in the refrigerator is 38 degrees F.

And then there are the wasps.  They work so hard trying to get into the house and then die trying to get back out.  I imagine this little pile is a very small percentage of what is actually in the nest, but it makes me feel better to know these won't be flying around inside.

A wasp graveyard.

Last but not least is the family house that we were fools to buy.  I don't know why we were so sentimental over this house.  No one is alive that ever lived in it.  Maybe with a new furnace, a new roof and some minor repairs, we can finally get the courage to sell it.  My Dad remembers it well, but he has even lost interest in it and isn't as attached to it as he once was.  

New roof on Great Grandma's house.

Dad and his Grandma Anna Dux.  She was about 76 years old here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wasps In The House

Living the simple life isn't always so simple as I have mentioned a few times.  Yesterday's refrigerator problem turned out to be a malfunctioning circuit board.  It was causing the refrigerator to never shut off.  By doing this the self defrosting feature didn't work because it was trying to defrost and cool at the same time.  The repair person said it was like running your heater and your air conditioner at the same time.  It is a common problem for Amana/Whirlpool/Maytag appliances.  It is the same unit, but it is sold under a different name.  Although it's a common problem, the part has to be ordered and so we will be without a refrigerator for a couple days (if we are lucky).  It is planned obsolescence at its worse.  An appliance that is only 3 1/2 years old shouldn't need a major repair like this.

Today we have an even bigger problem.  My husband and my dad were sitting in the dining room a couple nights ago.  All of a sudden my husband got stung on the neck.  It was a small bee, which he killed by slapping his neck while being stung.  We didn't think a lot about it because he isn't particularly allergic to bees.  Then later my dad was sitting watching TV and he got stung on his right temple.  It hurt for a very long time.  I gave him a Benadryl and put some numbing cream on it.  It took at least two hours for the sting to go away.  He still has a red mark, and he probably will for a while.  Then yesterday I noticed we had several bees on the window.  I used the fly swatter on them and started a mission to find the source.  I identified them as Yellow Jackets. At first I thought they were Carpenter Bees.  I knew Carpenter Bees liked log homes, but the stain we use has an insecticide in it and we have never had a problem before.  We see the little critters dart in and out of small holes in the logs.  They drill right into the wood.  They are a more solitary bee and don't make a big nest.

This is a Carpenter Bee hole in the log.

I discovered these Yellow Jackets had set up a colony in an out of the way area which is hard to see.  It is back in a dark corner of the deck.  The chinking had broken away and the bees took advantage.  They had moved into the house.

Chinking is a rubberized material that seals between the logs. It keeps cold air and insects from getting in.

The next thing I had to figure out was how they were getting into the house.  I stood and watched.  This is what I found.  We also have chinking on the inside of the logs.  Because houses shift by expanding and contracting, the chinking can get small holes in it.  I think if an air bubble in it pops, a small hole can appear.  We have to go through the house every year or so to check for these small holes.

In the chinking is a small hole, and there is a bee close by.

I thought the bees were coming out of the little hole, but I wasn't sure until I found another hole nearby.  I caught one of those little bees red handed.

I don't know if this guy is coming or going, but I caught him.

At this point, I grabbed some chewing gum.  I chewed a piece and stuck it over the holes to keep any more bees from coming into the room. 

I have found the entrance and exit points, but now I have to figure out how to chase them away (or kill them but don't tell anyone).  I read that petroleum products will stop them from laying eggs and hatching new bees.  They said carburetor cleaner would chase them out.  We don't have any but we have some WD40.  We are trying that now.  Hopefully by morning they will have found a new home. If they choose to stay, they will have to pay the consequences.  The good part of this story is that they leave in the winter and don't come back to the same nest.  If we plug the entrance and exit points, we should be fine.  At least they weren't honey bees.  We could have had a wall full of honey.

Now wasn't the Simple.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

S'more's In The Microwave

Oh boy, what a day I have had.  It is recipe Tuesday and the best I can do is a s'more made in the microwave.

It all started yesterday.  In August before school starts, our daughter Sarah comes out to our house with the kids.  They try to camp out in a tent, but usually are all in the house before it gets too dark. We have a camp fire and make s'mores.  This year they wanted to sleep in the camper we now have.  This is how it went.

1.  Sarah and her two boys plus our other daughter Heather's oldest son arrived in the afternoon.
2.  They got set up in the camper.
3.  Dylan got all stuffy in the camper and came in the house.
4.  Sarah took Sam to football practice and Dylan went home because he didn't feel well.
5.  We noticed the refrigerator was a little warm with some condensation, but I thought one of the kids had left the door open.
6.  While Sarah was gone, we went out for supper because with all the activity I hadn't made anything.  Jack had stayed back with us, so he came along.
7.   Jack was very concerned that my dad didn't use a cane.  He said old people need to use canes.  When we got home, he told great grandpa that since he didn't have a cane, he would help him into the house. When we got into the house, Jack asked me if great grandpa needed help to his room.  I told him he would be fine now.

8.  Sarah and the boys returned.  Dylan felt better so he came back.  It was pouring down rain by this time, so we couldn't have a camp fire or s'mores.
9.   Sarah and the three boys went to bed in the camper.
10.  Within fifteen minutes, Sam had to come in to use the bathroom.
11.  Around 10:00 Dylan came in.  He couldn't sleep and we made a bed on our couch.
12.  At 10:15 Dylan wanted me to stop the tick tock of the clock. He likes it dark and quiet.   I told him great grandpa needed that clock so he would know the time if he woke up in the night.
13.  By midnight, everyone was finally settled and sleeping.
14.  Morning came and I made bacon and pancakes.
15.  We realized that something was wrong with the refrigerator.  It was getting warmer and warmer.
16.  Sarah had declared this week free of electronics.  The kids had a little withdrawal, but got a little fix by watching papa this morning.  He didn't give up his electronics, so the boys all watched.

17.  After breakfast Sarah went for a five mile run and the boys played outside.
18.  We pulled the refrigerator out and vacuumed behind it.  Then we pulled the grate off the front and vacuumed off the coils.  Then we waited and waited.  It still wasn't cooling.
19.  The kids wanted to go to a park and do some geocaching. Before they left, they still hadn't gotten to make s'mores.  So they took a graham cracker, put a piece of chocolate on it, put a marshmallow on top and microwaved it for 20 seconds, then put another cracker on top.  So that's my recipe for today. 
20.  My husband ended up going to the park with Sarah and the kids and I stayed home.  I unloaded everything from the refrigerator and took it downstairs to our old refrigerator.  Thank goodness we kept our old refrigerator. 
21.  We called repairman and left a message.  This refrigerator is only 3 1/2 years old.  It better not be a big expensive problem.
22.  Tomorrow is another day.  You know what they say.  Stuff happens.

If you want a real recipe, here is one I posted before, but it's really good.  I was reminded of it because I just found some Junket pudding for 75 cents at our local country store.