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Money info I wish I'd had

Monday, November 05, 2012

I put $800 into the checking account the other day, planning to use it for little details like keeping the lights on and making a mortgage payment. Looked in the account today, and $450 has vanished! WTF?? Turns out that Directv stole it.

It seems that any time you give your debit card number to someone, it's a tacit agreement that if you owe them money, they can just reach into your account and take it - it's considered "a purchase." There is no way you can block this from happening or prevent it from happening again, other than getting a new debit/credit card with a new number (with my bank, that's a $35 charge...and besides, I've already memorized my card number.)

So if you make a payment online or over the phone to an ongoing account, such as a satellite subscription, using a debit card, then they've got your number, literally and figuratively. You prefer to pay by writing your own check? Too bad - they've already grabbed whatever they want without telling you, and there's not a darned thing you can do about it except rearrange your banking tools and habits. I'll be doing that rearranging very soon.

It works differently for things like buying shoes - that's a one-time purchase, and if they charge you twice, it's a "mistake" and the bank can rectify it, so debit cards are still good for that. But companies that you have a monthly charge from? Forget it. The company has total control.

Don't believe me? I wouldn't have either. Ask your bank - they don't like to point this out, because it discourages debit card use for recurring payments, but it's all true.

EDIT NOTE: I never authorized auto-pay or direct payment. What happened was, a little more than a year ago, I came home from visiting the kids for a while and discovered that the tv had been shut off. I called Directv, and they said it'd been shut off for non-payment, and would I like to make the one-time payment via debit/credit card? I said sure, and it went through and I thought we were done. Turns out they kept my debit card number on file, " case I wanted to use it again."

I do pay online - I love online banking - but I never authorize auto-payment, because my income is agriculturally rather than fiscally based. I get lump sums at irregular times, rather than the weekly or monthly incomes most people have,and I don't always align perfectly with big companies and their predetermined billing cycles.

And, yes, I am going to get a new card.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Lots of places are doing this in my area without authorization. The banks are all for it too. I hate it.

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 11/7/2012 11:21AM

    Go to and place a complaint. The paperwork alone Direct Tv will need to handle might make you feel better. Then again you might get some money back. Look under consumer protection tab and then file a complaint.

Comment edited on: 11/7/2012 11:24:34 AM

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NAYPOOIE 11/6/2012 12:20PM

    If you don't authorize recurring payments, they shouldn't be able to take it. Maybe if you offer to sue them for unauthorized collections (i.e. theft) they'll refund.

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SLIMMERKIWI 11/6/2012 2:39AM

    Pity you can't let that account run on zilch and get another card. If you didn't owe it then as far as I can see they have stolen and there should be provision for that to make a complaint to your bank and have it reversed and the company prosecuted.


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DJ4HEALTH 11/5/2012 11:01PM

    The bank is not the only ones that do that type of thing.;. I was in a store about 7 or more years ago and wrote a check and they wanted a credit card number as well but I did not give it to them.; When asked why they wanted a credit card they gave me some excuse about making sure that they would get their money and that ticked me off and I did not buy the stuff and wanted my check back. They did not even see if I was on one of those list for bad checks (was not) but that did not matter to them.;

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NORASPAT 11/5/2012 10:34PM

    We have just had a bank change and they have sent us Debit cards we do not want ,now I see why . I am having a long talk with DH about using our local bank. He is not happy having to chang all if the auto pays but I am thinking it MIGHT be safer that way. It is bad enough thieves rob us but when corporations do where do we turn. Thanks for the Info Pat in Mainer.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 10:35:47 PM

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JLPEASE 11/5/2012 8:40PM

    I had no idea this could happen! Thanks for getting the word out and I'll make sure I keep careful tabs on that from now on.

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_UMAMI_ 11/5/2012 8:25PM


You know, it gets even scarier as the small print gets smaller by the mailing!

I had a similar wake-up call (and yes, you may judge me by this, for I am very poor now). I was getting the whole shebang at my "cheap" hairdresser about five years ago: shampoo, cut and color. It was our anniversary, or thereabouts, and I was splurging before Christmas. The total with tip was $120.

She put in $1200. It went through.
That was our Christmas money.
emoticon emoticon
Luckily, the bank was able to rectify it within days, but I've been wary of using my bank card since.

I hate handing over anything. I even make sure to check my snail mail. I got a surprise this week that someone FROM MY ADDRESS (but not me or my husband) signed up with MyUPS for notice of delivery of packages. Hmmmm.....I found them online and they don't seem creepy, but why are they signing up for packages delivered to *MY* address (not a common address, btw).

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 11/5/2012 8:08PM

    I am so sorry! You are correct, of course. I have encountered such problems before and it really is heartbreaking. I hope that you somehow manage to get it resolved but you are up against the "machine", so it's a tragedy.

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/5/2012 8:03PM

    Geez! How frustrating!!

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AUTUMNBRZ 11/5/2012 6:29PM

    I would have been so pissed and slightly panicked. I am sorry this happened to you and it is good to know. I pay by phone all the time. ugh

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RUSSELLORAMA 11/5/2012 6:20PM

    Ah, that's bullshiz!!!

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GOPINTOS 11/5/2012 6:15PM

    OH geesh!

Thanks for sharing!


Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team

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KRISKECK 11/5/2012 3:07PM

    Grrr how incredibly frustrating - seems like that should be illegal! I really don't like to use debit cards for anything, since they lack the protections of credit cards. The only things I auto-pay are the things that are the same every month, like mortgage, insurance, power bill. Verizon keeps after me to set up auto pay....ha! Never! I actually pay them online with my credit card so they dont have my bank account info.

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 3:08:04 PM

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/5/2012 1:47PM

    I never ever ever ever give any company monthly payments out of my account. Even the phone company. I prefer to pay online
myself rather than give them permission
to stick their grubby hands into my account.
Very sorry this has happened to you.
It's discouraging. Keeping my fingers
crossed for your good news tomorrow
when your friend calls to let you know.

p.s. I personally feel that $35 is a great investment in a new card to remove this possibility in the future. Plus, you can memorize again.

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 1:50:02 PM

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WYO_CASEY 11/5/2012 1:37PM

    You should be able to block that provider. Ask your bank to block all ACH transactions from Direct TV. This authorizes the bank to block everything from Direct TV so make sure you inform Direct TV that you will be writing checks from now on. Usually that charge is $25 or so, but well worth it if you really are worried about them doing things like this.

I used to be a teller for 2.5 years and then a bank auditor for 2.5 more. :)

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BRENDA_G50 11/5/2012 1:31PM

    emoticon It might be true, but it still sucks!!! emoticon

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MNNICE 11/5/2012 1:28PM

    I'm definitely going to check on that. I rarely use my debit card, but this may be reason to use it even less! Thank you for the heads-up!

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NWLIFESRC 11/5/2012 1:22PM


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SUZYMOBILE 11/5/2012 1:19PM


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Possible good news

Friday, November 02, 2012

I don't like to throw things out into public view until they're certain, but this is a decent bet, and I need you guys all crossing your fingers for me.

An old friend with a crafty-sort of business just received an award and is expanding into a bricks-and-mortar retail presence. I called said friend for a month or so, and he just got back in touch with me today (just got back in the area yesterday.) At first he wasn't all that sure, but I gave him my mini-sales pitch (art-y, *lots* of retail experience, web-building experience, etc), and he's going to go over things with his financial person and get in touch with me Tuesday - start off part time and segue into full time, probably opening the retail store.

So it *is* possible to make money working at something you enjoy with people that you like!

(Of course, this could all fall apart at my feet, but I don't think so. I'm confident...but just in case, please keep me in your prayers.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    It sounds perfect for you! I hope it works out.

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    Sounds like a great opportunity. Great you knew a way to get in on the ground floor.

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GRAMMACATHY 11/5/2012 1:07AM

    Keep up the positive thoughts and bring your desires to you.
Waving my magic wand for you. emoticon

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MNNICE 11/4/2012 1:08PM

    Way to not be afraid to put yourself out there and sell yourself. Hoping it works out even better than you expect!

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SUZYMOBILE 11/4/2012 12:09PM

    I'm praying like mad!

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HIPPICHICK1 11/4/2012 9:33AM

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JLPEASE 11/3/2012 8:21PM

    My fingers are definitely crossed for you. I hope everything turns out just the way you want it to!!!

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BUNNYCATS 11/3/2012 10:28AM

    Sending heaps of bright and sparkling, sparks, bubbling with enthusiasm for your new endeavor. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 11/3/2012 9:55AM

    Prayers are here. This sounds like a great opportunity for you!

Comment edited on: 11/3/2012 9:55:52 AM

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HOLLYM48 11/3/2012 9:23AM

    Good luck, I hope it all turns out great!

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DOKEYOKEY 11/3/2012 9:07AM

    Oh, wow! I'm hoping this fall right into place beautifully! I'm sending positive energy your way!

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VALERIEMAHA 11/2/2012 11:43PM

    OH YES! Got the mantras churning. Sounds so "you!"

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AUTUMNBRZ 11/2/2012 9:02PM

    Crossing my fingers and toesies for you!

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JANEDOE12345 11/2/2012 7:07PM

    It is wonderful to sense your uplifted spirit. I am sending good vibes your way.You may as well plan for this to happen, with so many of us messaging the Universe on your behalf.

emoticon Things are looking up!

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/2/2012 6:42PM

    Keeping my fingers crossed (and my toes!). This would be a great opportunity for you!

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SLIMLILA 11/2/2012 6:12PM

    HOpe this comes to fruition... we could all use a job doing something we like... emoticon emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 11/2/2012 6:10PM

    I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you. It sounds like it would be fantastic! Best wishes!

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SOULFISH80 11/2/2012 5:31PM

    Wonderful! So excited for you......and prayers and blessings from me to you!

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NORASPAT 11/2/2012 5:17PM

    Sounds Fabulous and right in your line. Way to go I am rooting for you. HUGS Pat in Maine.

That would be so perfect for you !!!! (((((((HUGS)))))
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KRISKECK 11/2/2012 3:51PM

    That sounds very cool! Keeping fingers crossed for you!

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/2/2012 3:50PM

    Will do. I have a good feeling about this not only working out, but also becoming quite a
nice situation. I am really seeking the
same type of thing. I don't want to settle

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November and October wrap-up.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

So, let's see how I did with my October goal list:

- showing up on SP every day.
Well, maybe I didn't make it every day, but I was definitely around more often than not. No check, or maybe a check minus.

- impose some sort of order on my work schedule.
Okay, check...sort of. I finished all the independent work and the CSA is finished for the season. Now I am completely unemployed and dead broke - but my schedule is wide open! :)

- become firmly established below 200 pounds
Believe it or not, check! 197 and holding (more or less, depending upon Our Friend Sodium)

- blog (here) 2-3 times per week
Nine blogs in four weeks - that's pretty good. I"ll give that a check.

- remember to wear the FitBit and get in my 10,000 steps per day, plus a couple days (like 2-3) of semi-serious lifting
No check here - not even close. Although I did figure out at least part of the problem. I keep the FitBit clipped to my bra in the center and a lot of times when I'm just around the house, I don't wear one. Lousy excuse, I know, but a true one. Maybe if I'd get dressed all the way every day, I'd do better with that. The other part is that I just plain forget. The lifting I demand a check for, though - all that firewood has got to count for something.

- make the "daily" household chores become, in fact, daily, rather than waiting until they reach calamitous proportions
No check here, either, although there has been some minor improvement.

- set aside time for daily meditation
Nope. It goes in streaks, then I forget for days on end, pick it up again, then lay it back down.

SO for November, I'm going to try the same set of goals as last month and see if I can get the missed ones shoved into line.

I was going to do NaNoWriMo again, but I'm not sure...anybody else doing it this year?

EDIT: Oops. Sorry. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel writing Month (I think...) and challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Some people do it every year, some people do it several times a year, some people (like me) have yet to get beyond a certain point. (For me, that point is roughly 31,000.) Here:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon job on the list.
Personally I don't expect that much from myself.

I am sure you do we'll at whatever you put your energies toward.

Keep up the good work.

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RAINBOWFALLS 11/5/2012 11:38AM

    emoticon No novel writing for me - I love the goals you have set for yourself. I need to get on a roll and do some serious goal writing!

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SUZYMOBILE 11/4/2012 12:09PM

    You're doing great, and that log lifting should count for a TON!

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DONNACFIT 11/1/2012 11:53PM

    Great blog!!

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_UMAMI_ 11/1/2012 11:41PM

    Try as I might, I can't come up with a name for blogging on SP every day in the month of November.

NOSPABLOMO kind of makes me think of Nostradomo.'ve had a GOOD month, by my calculations. I think, in fact, you had so many checks, you could probably stand and cry BINGO!

Yeah, I need to go to bed.

One thing more, though...I love that the things that you do, and the way that you live your life is seasonal. I think the meditation and quiet "fixes" will come with the slowing of the outer world. Right now, you still *need* to be busy, right?

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 11/1/2012 10:11PM

    You've done a fantastic job!

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    You got a bunch of em checked off which is better than many of us. Good luck this month! Let's have a good one.

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/1/2012 6:12PM

    I say you're doing pretty good!! Lots of checks or partial checks. And, I'll give you credit for good excuses (no bra!). Hang in there; you know what you want to do!

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NORASPAT 11/1/2012 4:18PM

    I too enjoyed seeing you more often this month.
I think you did quite well on your goals, many went well and the others you are aware of' will get better.
I was happy to read you are in the "onesies" now, I am wondering how tall you are, I have a mental image of a tall women. HUGS Pat in Maine, I will be looking for you. I keep my members blogs all checked in but sometimes the subscription expires and that means this old brain has no reminders till I see the lovely OWL once again. HUGS Pat xoxoxox
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/1/2012 4:21:38 PM

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/1/2012 4:01PM

    I doubt I'm doing it since I haven't a clue what it is! (smiling) I've enjoyed seeing you more frequently. Your blogs really help me.

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JUSTDREAMN 11/1/2012 3:59PM

    I can so relate! If we just keep trying and add to what we have already accomplished eventually we will check off more than we leave unchecked! emoticon

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Unexpected bad thing...

Friday, October 26, 2012

This is the time of year when all the leaves fall from the trees ... and you discover just how close you were to that wasp nest - all summer long - without ever knowing.

(This isn't my photo - mine still has a few active wasps.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UNIQDRGNFLY 10/29/2012 9:40AM

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!...gotta love nature! emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 10/27/2012 11:48AM

    I love finding things like that! So cool to see the inner workings of a hive.

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AWESOMECAROL55 10/27/2012 8:08AM

    Yikes...I've been stung before...I don't like that at all!!


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CHERYLL1949 10/26/2012 9:36PM

    Thats huge! emoticon

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JLPEASE 10/26/2012 9:35PM

    Wow -- that's a huge one. Pretty scary!

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SLIMMERJESSE 10/26/2012 7:23PM

    Yikes! And we are having a San Diego-wide infestation of black and brown widows. Yikes again!

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BETHGILLIGAN 10/26/2012 7:07PM

    Holy Moly!!!

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VALERIEMAHA 10/26/2012 6:31PM

    Oh my.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/26/2012 5:55PM

    My hubby collects hornets nests. He loves them and finds them at this time of year. You have to harvest them right when the hornets die and before the nest deteriorates.

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SLIMMERKIWI 10/26/2012 5:48PM

    A few years ago I discovered how close to a wasp nest I was when I went to shift my goat. I reached down to undo the chain and got whacked on the neck and head. I had been on top of un underground nest! Only problem was, I am ALLERGIC to them! I ended up on a strong dose of antihistamine all week-end, setting my alarm to wake me for the next dose :-(

I bet when you discovered it your heart was racing enough that you could have gone in the Indy 500 without the car!


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PUDLECRAZY 10/26/2012 5:25PM

    Oh yes! We just found one at school. Yikers!!!!

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NORASPAT 10/26/2012 5:25PM

    Gave me the shudders just looking up at it. We have only encountered one in our ATTIC. I went up there using a flashlight and could hear buzzing. I thought something was wrong up there. There sure was. It was a huge wasp nest. I had noticed them flying in to the attic vents and just never thought about them, That was a long time ago but I still dislike going up in to the attic even though we now have a light up there and screens on the inside of the vents.
I hope by now you have been able to get it down, I hope it was an abandoned one. Did you ever get stung? emoticon . HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 10/26/2012 5:22PM

    Eek! But at least this tree isn't so leafed out that the Frankenstorm will uproot it.

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Wood part 2 (with photos)

Friday, October 26, 2012

This is for whomever it was that requested photos.

This is the beginnings of the pile next to the wood-eating furnace:

This is the big pile of logs - the ones with the tags or paint are sold to a lumber company - the ones with the Xs will be chunked up and split to burn:

Here you can see where the already cut bits are. See them in amongst the logs? I pull my Saturn Vue around to the logs, load the cut pieces into it and drive them around to the wood furnace. I've discovered this is much easier and more efficient than using a barrow.

Any chunks that weigh more than about forty pounds will be split. I can easily lift more weight than that if it's a suitcase or something, but logs are ... different. First, there's always the possibility of dropping the accursed thing on your foot, but mainly, since I usually wind up filling the furnace the moment I get up (and frequently in the middle of the night) I don't want to have to deadlift and toss a sixty pound log. It's not the lifting so much as the tossing.

I admit that it is a good workout (I lost another two pounds, thanks to wood) and you build all the muscles, including the little connecting ones when you do work as opposed to stationary exercise. I also begrudgingly admit that it feels good to be independent of other sources of fuel (although it does require electricity to push the hot air around in the house.) Just some days...particularly when it's especially cold and therefore the furnace has to be filled more often (physics - please don't ask me to explain)...when I'm outside at 2:00 a.m., watching for zombies ... I long for the time when I could just turn a little wheel on the wall and warm air would magically come pouring out.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOXYINMO 10/27/2012 8:39PM

    Nice! I hear you on the dropping wood on the foot bit! OUCH!

My wood stove is the old-fashioned, air-tight, in-the-livingroom type.

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AUTUMNBRZ 10/27/2012 6:48PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DANLENO1949 10/27/2012 9:42AM

    Wow, you must have muscles like Popeye !!! LOL emoticon

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NORASPAT 10/26/2012 10:37PM

    Heavens to Mergatroyd, you will have strength training daily. no wonder you lost 2 pounds. Hard labor for sure.

That is a monumental chore. I am happy to read you try to keep it as less labour intensive as you possibly can by learning more efficient ways to move them. Even then it has to be a drop in the bucket since that bucket has to be a rain Barrel.

Take care please. No point asking you not to overdo it, since it has to get done. HUGS, you have my admiration for sure. Thanks SCOOTER for the photos, Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 10/26/2012 3:50PM

    Very impressive! There is so much beauty in your pictures, yet I know that I have the luxury of not having to deal with wood so I can see it as an art form and not a chore.

Best wishes!

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 10/26/2012 2:10PM

    Energy independence can be worth it. How many logs (split) does it takes to fill the furnace?

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/26/2012 1:21PM

    Does it smell like woodsmoke in the house when you use it? My hubby and the neighbors love that smell but I don't. I guess it is a nice idea if you have a lot of access to free wood like we do.

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VALERIEMAHA 10/26/2012 1:03PM

    As they say here in the south, you are too much for JEEEEEEEEEEEEE-sus, girl!!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 10/26/2012 12:58PM

    Lots of work, for sure. But totally great to be independent. How about solar panels as well?

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