Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How Google and a hot tub help me clean my house

[This was posted last week, and disappeared. I probably helped, but I'm not sure how. Luckily, I had also put it on a hot tub discussion list, and so could re-post it.]

So we have this wood-fired hottub—one of the best new toys Keith and I have had in... ever. I've begun to notice lately how much cleaner our yard is, and our house too! We got some bamboo just the year before last, and it sheds its [fronds? leaves? what's the word?], but they're great for starting fires. A couple of our trees shed sticks when the wind blows. Good! We need those sticks.

Woodlot scrap, from where Keith cuts wood for the fireplace and hot tub, when it's too small and dusty and ugly to bring into the house is PERFECT to dump into the stove of the hot tub.

And for the house, I was going through a drawer of music the other day—sheetmusic from singing groups over the years, handouts I made, copies of things that were sung once 20 years back and weren't so popular with the group we had then. Those can go into the fire. Yesterday I found some ballad-lyrics pages, and those can DEFINITELY go into the fire, because those same lyrics are easily found with google. I only need to keep the obscure things now. Many of the cheap reference books, paperback dictionaries, almanacs, etc., that I've saved over the years aren't worth keeping now. Movie guides published years ago are junk now that imdb.com exists. Magazines kept because of a bio or a science article aren't worth keeping any more, if that same info (and often the same photos and then some) are easily available on the internet.

Old newsletters from SCA groups I was never even part of, that I got in trade when I did SCA newsletters back when they involved physical paste-up with tape or spray fixative. Trash. T-shirts that once had sentimental value, not worth keeping, not worth giving away: into the fire. It seems much better than putting them into the trash, into a landfill. They become heat that we use.

Cardboard boxes I was keeping just in case can be put into the fire. There are other cardboard boxes in the world. Scraps from sewing projects; junk mail; old phone books: they can burn. The vacuum cleaner canister or bag can be dumped into there.

Old wicker baskets or easter baskets which have been holding sewing supplies or catch-all this'n'that in the house first become collectors for kindling, but after a while the baskets themselves can go into the fire. Newer ones (though still old) are at every garage sale and thrift store. Little wicker trash baskets can be used until they're grotty and then... kindling.

We've had this for a year and already there is more room inside the house, the ground is cleaner outside, and the county landfill is less affected by us.

Because we had three days in a row of no-burn nights in a week when Keith's back and shoulder were really hurting him, he talked to his doctor about approving an application for an exemption for the tub, and was given a prescription to soak his shoulder daily for the arthritis. When we get the letter from the city's air quality control people, I'll share it with the neighbors and inform the fire station (I think that was in the small print of the requirements for follow-up).


Ren Allen said...

One day, I'm going to come sit in that hottub!!
But I'm really writing because I'm tagging you for the 4 things Meme. Click on my blog to see how it works, then post your own "4 things".:)

Anonymous said...

The hot tub sounds great and the exemption even better. I'm finding all kinds of stuff I need to get rid of now that I'm sorting out what can and cannot be moved when we head off to the UK. Anders used to sing in a men's choir and has two drawers full of sheet music he hasn't even looked at for 15 years.

Schuyler said...

Hey, we are going to get a wood-fired hottub. I am so excited. It's to be the moving present.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any photos of your wood fired hot tub?

Sandra Dodd said...


That's ours, from many angles, in different seasons.

And at the manufacturer's site there are now lots of photos of people's tubs after they've installed them. Some are inside, on porches or decks, in their own little structures, and many are outside in various kinds of places. Just looking at the photos is fun!