Archive for February, 2013

Solar Powered Furnace


I have been getting a lot of questions about the changes to my house last fall.  (I live very close to one of the main roads in the area, so a lot of people drive by on their way to work, school, or their vacation homes.) “Who are those guys, and what are you doing to your house? What are those THINGS on the south side of the house?” Here’s the scoop. I qualify for AEOA‘s Energy Assistance Program (formerly Fuel Assistance) and therefore also their Winterization Program.  They have an agreement with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) to install Solar Powered Furnaces (SPF) on lower-income homes. Free.

SPF Installation

How it works:  The sun heats up the panels. Air from my basement is then pumped through the panels and a simple thermostat controls the fan. I usually have my furnace thermostat set at 60F, and the SPF will not kick on unless there is warm air in the panels. The SPF thermostat is set to shut off at a certain temperature(85F), and will be turned down in the summer. The “brain box” takes up very little room in my basement, and very little additional ducting was needed.

Solar Powered Furnace, RREAL

(credit: RREAL.com)

But why?? Why do they do this?

I was pleasantly surprised to find the answers on the RREAL website. Check out their Return on Investment Page For Solar Assistance here. In short, installing the system pays for itself in ten years or so, and lasts over 30 years. It’s a wise investment that goes well with the Winterization Program. It reduces the amount of fuel oil or propane needed (up to 30%!), while also reducing carbon and other pollutants. Kind of like teaching a man to fish instead of just giving him food. For example, one day last week the high temp outside was right around zero, but the sun was shining. The fuel oil furnace didn’t kick on all day, once the sun started hitting the panels. And it was a very comfortable 70 degrees inside!

Unfortunately, according to RREAL, “[i]n 2009, 591,951 households who applied for fuel assistance and qualified were turned away in Minnesota because of lack of funding”. I was on the list for years before it was “my turn.” I would love to write a best-seller and donate back to this program someday. For now, I will write this article and hope that RREAL gets a bazillion orders as a result. They are doing a wonderful thing.

And what if someone wants to install an SPF on their own? Is it cost-effective?

Yes, RREAL installs SPF systems on homes that are not below the poverty line, and businesses too. I am not an expert, but if  I didn’t qualify, I would still recommend investing  in this technology– check out their Return on Investment Page to see if it’s worth it for you or your business. I love mine…there is nothing like having free heat from the sun blowing into the house when it’s winter…and it has dramatically helped me hate winter less.

I hope this helped answer your questions. Any others? 🙂

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What You Should Know About Great Pyrennes


WOO HOO!! My Big Bossy Sister has contributed to the blog!!! The following post was written by LOIS!~Loveyabye,  Laura

 

I have been told, under no uncertain terms, that if I don’t contribute something to this blog my sister is going to change the name to “Pajari GIRL.com”. 

 

So here it goes….

 

Laura tells me that the Great Pyrenees stories get the most attention on the blog and this, of all things, has forced me to finally put in my two cents.   (Notice I never even defended myself when it came to the “Queen of Poo” thing – see post titled POO!!.)

 

Here is the deal…and I cannot stress this enough….the Great Pyrenees, as a breed, are NOT for everyone.  I’m not entirely sure who they ARE for, but I know for a fact they aren’t for everyone.   

 

If you have seen the pictures and heard the stories on the blog and are tempted to run right out and get your self a “Ginormous White Slobbering Dog”, I will tell you right now… DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!! 

 Great Pyrenees

Okay, so I’m not saying don’t EVER think about it…I’m just saying you damn well better educate yourself so you know what you are getting into.  I didn’t and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

 

Attraction for humans… they are huge, they are unique, they are fluffy and white.  

 

What humans quickly find out about them….they are huge, they are stubborn, they wander, they do things on their terms and being that they are sooo white a fluffy you will spend more on grooming than you will spend on your next car.

 

I will not pretend to be an expert on Great Pyrs.  However, my experience with THIS Great Pyr has been the most exasperating experience I have ever had with a dog.  (I am told, and I firmly believe, that God makes the naughty ones extra cute.) 

 

Jai is a dog that someone decided they just had to have.  And then sadly they decided that he was too big.  And he was too loud.  And too expensive.  And too energetic.  And too destructive.  Andy waay too much to groom. And so, he was left tied to a tree to die.

 

I will not give up on our Ginormous White Slobbering Dog.  I will keep reading.  I will keep talking to people with breed experience.  We’ll keep working with him and someday we will find a compromise he will agree with.  

 

The Barn Has a Website!


Kind of. We can’t really decide if it’s just a place to find info on the store for non-Facebookers, another blog like Pajari Girls, or if we should at some point add e-commerce. Any and all thoughts are welcome! (Lois is not being very helpful, and I usually know just enough about any given subject to get into trouble.)

Mostly, we use Facebook to keep customers/friends up-t0-date on Life at The Barn. But not everyone likes or uses Facebook. True story.

That’s why I made this blog…to corral all our interests together.

However, a shocking number of people aren’t sure what a blog IS. (I was one of them until last August.)

That’s where www.CookDollarBarn.com comes in.

What do you think The Barn’s website should be about/contain?

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