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High Up Low Down

December 19th, 2008  · stk

An electrician advised Scott against moving our electric Maytag dryer controls, but we really didn't want to purchase a brand new dryer, just so we could stack it onto our washing machine (and save space in the utility room). Read about how Scott sorted the spaghetti and modified our dryer.

Utility Room Remodel
Moving Dryer Controls so the Dryer Can Stack onto the Washer

Our utility room is pretty small and not well utilized. One of our ideas for gaining space, was to stack the dryer onto the washer. Unfortunately, our older-model dryer isn't a match to our newer, front-load washer. Not only is the dryer is a different make, model and year, but the controls are at the top and back. If we stacked it - as is - you'd need a ladder to dial in a setting and turn it on!

What to do? Plunk down $400-$500 (or more) for a comparable stacking dryer? Our dryer, a higher-end model that came with the house, has an "intelli-dry" sensor that shuts off the unit when the clothes are dry. It works great! Seems wasteful and expensive to purchase a new one, just to stack it.

Instead, we thought Scott could find a way to move the control panel to a lower position. This would enable us to stack our old (working) dryer on top of our newer, front-load washer, for a lot less money.

Our neighbor, Charlie, a retired electrician, thought this would be a tough job. "Do you know how many wires you'll have to extend and move?" he asked, "There's about 30 or so wires back there."

This is one of those cases where ignorance is bliss. Undaunted by Charlie's warning, Scott pushed forward and - last weekend when Rachel was off with Alex in Vancouver and he had the house to himself - he tackled moving the dryer controls.

For a low-down on putting the dryer high up and learning how Scott managed to move the dryer controls ... carry on ...

Moving the Dryer Controls

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Updated: 20-Dec-2008
Web View Count: 44894 viewsLast Web Update: 20-Dec-2008

Record Snow

December 15th, 2008  · stk

Nanaimo - Record snow fell on Sunday, dumping 33 centimeters overnight and in the morning. Record cold temperatures accompanied this record snow dump, changing what had been a mild winter thus far, into something a tad more extreme.

Thirty Six Centimeters of Snow

Rachel and the Oop were off visiting grandparents in Vancouver, so they missed witnessing yesterday's record snowfall.

"When I went to bed on Saturday night," Scott said, "there had only been a light snowfall that afternoon and nothing after that. When the fire hall pager went off at 5:30 AM Sunday morning, I woke up and looked out the window. It was a white winter wonderland!"

Thirty three centimeters of snow had fallen, during the night. Outside, Scott flipped "the beast" into 4-wheel-drive and plowed his way to the North Cedar Fire Hall, seven kilometers away. There, personnel put chains on the front-line pumper (Engine 1), back-up pumper (Engine 7) and the water tender (Tender 6).

Another 3 centimeters fell Sunday morning, bringing the December 14th total to 36 centimeters. This beat the previous December 14th record of 19.8 centimeters, which was set in 2000.

For more Nanaimo snow records and photos ... carry on.

More on the Record Nanaimo Snow

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Updated: 31-Mar-2009
Web View Count: 39056 viewsLast Web Update: 31-Mar-2009

Digital Camera Shopping

June 5th, 2008  · stk

OLD POST: Just getting around to adding the finishing touches on this post about our purchasing experience for a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 camera. (Since broke and we're buying the newer version of the same camera ... and again in the U.S.) The price differences remain huge between Canada and the United States.

Lumix DMC-TZ5 Digital Camera:
Priced Higher in Canada than the United States - Why?

We've been looking to purchase a second digital camera. We really like our current Casio EX-850 digital camera, but it lacks certain features: 28mm wide angle, close focusing distance & a long zoom. Additionally, two cameras come in handy on family adventures, as we'll no longer miss photo opportunites because the other of us has the camera.

When Rachel spied a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 digital camera on sale at a local London Drugs store, it looked like it had the features we wanted: quality Leica lenses, 10X optical zoom, 28mm wide angle and close-focusing distances for macro shots! Yay!

Because London Drugs has a great 30-day price-matching and return policy, we felt comfortable pulling the trigger and quickly making a purchase. The sale price was $379 CAD and by the time we paid the taxes (12% - 7% PST and 5% GST) the total price came to $425.59.

Once we got the Lumix DMC-TZ5 digital camera home, I read the manual and made a bunch of test shots. We were pleased with the the camera. We also checked to make certain we were getting the lowest price.

What I discovered illustrates that Canadians often pay substantially more than Americans for consumer products. Also, the difficulty I had with ordering demonstrates some of the pitfalls with mail-order companies - especially for Canadians.

By buying in the United States, I ultimately saved $150 over the London Drugs sales price. However, I had to ship the camera to a U.S. address and as a result, didn't have it in my hot grubby hands until our next planned visit to the States.

To find out how Canadians can save by buying mail-order consumer goods in the United States .... read on.

Does NAFTA Level the Playing Field?

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Updated: 22-Oct-2012
Web View Count: 13024 viewsLast Web Update: 22-Oct-2012

Guess Whoo's Barred?

May 30th, 2008  · stk

A National Geographic photographer I am not. As providence would have it, however, I spotted a "Barred Owl" in our pasture the same week I was testing a new (powerful zoom) digital camera. I was able to get some decent photos and now I'm sold on the camera. (It was an expensive owl sighting!)

Barred Owl Spotted at the Hutton House

barred owl strix varia


I happened to be taking our guest dog for a pee break, in the pasture, when I spotted this Barred Owl (Strix Varia) in a large Douglas Fir tree. I quietly and quickly went back to the house and grabbed the new Lumix TZ5 digital camera I'm testing this week (it has 70X digital zoom).

Sometimes, lady luck smiles broadly in your direction! :D

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Updated: 30-May-2008
Web View Count: 47745 viewsLast Web Update: 30-May-2008

Timberlands U-Cut

May 25th, 2008  · stk

Yesterday, Scott spent the day cutting a cord of wood at an Island Timberlands clear-cut. It was hard work, but for $30 a cord, who could resist? Find out more

A Chainsaw, Cord-of-Fire-Wood-Cutting Day

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We heat our home with a wood stove. Last winter wasn't super cold, but it did seem to linger and we were scraping the bottom of the wood shed by the time warm spring weather finally arrived. We're already thinking about building next year's supply, but not eager to shell out approximately $170 per cord. When Travis called to say that we had an opportunity to cut our own fire wood for $30 a load, we changed our family's weekend plan, so that Scott could participate.

Alex and I woke up at 6 AM on Saturday, tended to the chickens, fixed a fresh, fried-egg breakfast and then headed over to Travis' house. Alex stayed, to play with Miki, while Travis and I headed up to a clear cut area behind Chase River, to chainsaw up a bunch of fire wood.

The land is owned by Island Timberlands and for a handful of days this year (6) it is opened up to the public, so that they can cut fire wood. The "U-Cut" program is unique and (as far as clear-cutting can be considered environmentally friendly) it is a beneficial way for the timber company to get rid of unwanted timber. (Normally, such timber is heaped into a great big pile and burned).

Neither Travis, nor myself, have been on a timber land chain sawing trip, so for us, it was a new adventure!

To read more about our chain sawing, sweat dripping day .... read on ...

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Updated: 2-Jun-2008
Web View Count: 44899 viewsLast Web Update: 2-Jun-2008