Prepping, homesteading and living the simple, green, independent life.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quiet But Still Busy

I haven't posted in a while here since it's been a pretty hectic few months for me and my family.  My wife went back to work after her maternity leave, I injured at work, left one position and started another, birthdays, Christmas etc..

Despite all that I've still been doing a few prepping things but nothing that really deserved a post of it's own in my mind.

Most importantly I installed a new entrance door in my basement.  We have a little stairway that leads to the basement and the door looked like it was an old barn door.  It was made out of planks and had an old latch for a door knob.  This latch was literally a hole in the door that lifted a metal bar on the other side.  Needless to say it was pretty drafty so I usually just covered it over with a vapour barrier and sealed it off in the winter.

I had been wanting to replace it for a while but since new exterior doors can be expensive I put it off and did other things that were less expensive or could be purchased a little bit at a time like insulation.

My wife and I reorganized our finances a few months back which gave us a bit more flexibility so I decided that with winter on it's way it was time to replace Old Windy.

I decided to go see a local manufacturer of windows and doors, Leo Groulx who's now in his 80s and recently had his 60th anniversary in business.  He's semi-retired now and his shop mostly consists of he and his son.  He said he sometimes calls in his old employees to help out but they were all retired!

I decided to get a door with a sliding window despite the lower insulation quality.  My basement is old and the windows are small so it gets pretty dark.  This way we get a little bit more light down there and I can open it in the summer to let in some fresh air.

It took Leo and his son about a month to build my door and he charged me $385. When I picked it up it was so "fresh off the line" that the caulking was still soft! Christmas was coming and I appreciated the personal service so I handed him $400 and asked him to keep the change.

I had helped instal doors before but this was my first time doing it alone.  It was a lot easier than I expected but it was difficult getting the frame square on such an old uneven basement.  I did the best I could but the door still sticks a bit. Oh well, it's much better than the old door and one of my motto's is "Perfect is the enemy of Good".  One trick I read about that really helped is to nail a short piece of 2x4 on one end into the frame above where you're installing the door.  When the board hangs down it will keep the door from falling out of the frame while you level and square it off.

Hopefully this will help us save a bit on our natural gas bill which is running about $160 a month now (way too much in my opinion).

As for all the other stuff I've done...after writing a few paragraphs about a door,I just realized that maybe I can write a post for each of the other things I've done recently so that's what I'll do!