Dec 18, 2009

Ponderings, WIPS, and a tale of stupidity

Note to Mary: shoot me if I ever go over to the "dark side!" (The lime is in the back shed.)
The sun is finally out today (WHEE-E-O!!) so I took a picture of my WIP. It's stitched on 25 count antique white Lugana with DMC. Well, the boot vamp is actually an AVAS brown. I'm stitching each different boot vamp with a different brown fiber. I stitched January with GAST and February with Silk 'n' Colors. (The green blob is a cactus.)
Recently, the lid on my Crock-Pot fell apart, so I had to chuck the whole thing as buying a new lid was cost prohibitive (a sad state of affairs). After doing a little looking online (because my local Wal-Mart was out of four-quart models which was what I wanted), I came across a 3-in-1 model on Amazon made by Hamilton Beach. This slow cooker is highly rated and I love the idea of having three different crock sizes (2-, 4-, and 6-quart).
After seeing what shipping was going to be (and shuddering), I looked online and googled in vain for a local store that carried it. Every local store that did was out of stock with no due date. Even the manufacturer (with free shipping but a lot higher price) was out of stock! So I went back to Amazon and bought it. A gal can't be without a slow cooker for too long!
When reading the instructions (yes, I'm anal and I do that, even when I'm sure I know the product well), I came across this "because you can no longer think and reason logically" statement. Now note that this model has three different crocks of three very discernible sizes. The instructions state that the sizes are stamped on the bottom of the crocks so you can tell the difference in size. Fer cryin' out loud.
And now, for the epic tale of the Oklahoma chimney fire. When we bought the house, at the closing the previous owner mentioned that he had cleaned the chimney so the wood stove was ready for use, and that the "chain was hanging in the garage." As it was June, DH and I filed this away in our minds.
We'd never had a house with a wood stove before and assumed that this was the way you cleaned them when connected to a chimney. We'd grown up with fireplaces, but our parents always employed the occasional chimney sweep to clean them. We were idiots for assuming anything. I should have researched this online immediately. Doh.
We had nice fires and the house was heated comfortably for most of the winter. Then one morning, while I was in the shower, I heard a sound like a 747 jet was flying low overhead. It got louder. And louder. It seemed as if the entire house was rumbling. Then I heard clanging, banging, and DH flying about the house while exclaiming.
The creosote in the chimney had caught fire. DH was able to put it out by closing the damper so it smothered. He went up on the roof to look down the chimney to check that it was out, and then opened the ash door and sprayed water on the ashes to kill it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
As spring was near, we used our HVAC for the remainder of the winter and spent the summer assessing our problem. We called out a chimney sweep to inspect/clean it. He came down off the roof shaking his head. Apparently, if you use a wood stove, it is really best to vent it through stove pipe because it is much easier to clean. If you vent it through a brick chimney, you must be meticulous to clean it at least four or five times a season PROPERLY - as in with a chimney brush and lots of elbow grease.
The previous owner had used a long heavy chain that he whacked around down inside the chimney to knock off some of the creosote deposits. His whacking had also cracked and chipped the bricks inside the chimney. If DH had not gotten the fire out so quickly, the fire could have gotten out through the cracks and into our attic - not good. The previous owner was lucky that it hadn't happened to him. The previous owner, while nice, was a dingle-brain.
The chimney sweep said that until we relined the chimney with Class Two chimney pipe, we shouldn't use the stove. He said that he'd be happy to do it for us for *an exorbitant price* or that if we were handy, we could do it ourselves for much less by buying the supplies we needed at Lowe's. We are handy so we did.
We also bought a stove pipe brush and really long handle to clean the pipe regularly. Thereafter, DH went up on the roof and cleaned the pipe monthly during the time we used the wood stove. No more chimney fires for us! (Now, why do I have visions of Dick Van Dyke dancing on a rooftop and singing?)

1 comment:

Gloria said...

Hey I really like that slow cooker.

Thank you for the story about the chimney fire. I was a little concerned about safety/maintenance issues regarding the wood stove. My mind is at ease now. You have more experience than I realized.