Rain, thunderstorms and solar panels?

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Spring time in Idaho is going strong with lots of storms rolling through daily or every other day this week.  Makes finishing up the garden beds tough but the yard is filled with the smells of drying firewood, lilacs, roses and the clean earthy smell of dirt ready to be planted!

While the weather has been a bit iffy this week I did get out to Mom’s place and got her bathroom towel rack, toilet roll and hand towel ring installed.  The job went great as I had my little level and took my time to make everything stayed level and properly placed each step of the way rather than trying to get the job done as quickly as possible.  Honestly by taking my time and doing it “right” was probably faster, easier and I got a much better looking end product.

I have been watching a lot of videos about restoring old boats and people building homes and measuring, testing/dry fitting, making simple models and starting over to get stuff correct is apart of the process for most DIYers that get things built correctly.  Goodness knows I have dealt with stuff in my home that so badly half-assed, even I knew the job was badly done.  I know many people have issues with vinyl/metal siding but if the job is done well the end product will not only look good but it will be good for the long term.  Perhaps people are being polite, but everyone that sees the new windows and siding asks how much it cost and who did the work, as they want to do something similar in the future.  Overall it really does not matter what other people think.  I think my home looks great and the yard and garden are getting to “looking great”.  If my house isn’t quite as pretty on the inside as others, in time I’ll install the new kitchen butcher block counter tops and appliances to fit the kitchen.  Once I can afford to get all the plumbing fixed and up to date.

Mom bought a bathroom cabinet that was supposed to go over the toilet but it was a $45.00 piece of junk! The back board was literally cardboard and it used only a thin sheet of painted particle board to attach the cabinet to the wall.  Storing anything in this cabinet could cause it to fail and crack a toilet or bonk you in the head at any time.  Mom and I will go yard sales and the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and look for a solid bathroom cabinet to install.

Mom did get her front yard looking very good with her new tools. She trimmed up all the rose and shaped the bushes, planted some lavender and got most of her containers filled with plants.  Gosh just mowing clearing out the weeds and getting some water on the grass really made the front yard come to life in just a couple of weeks.  I may have a great score as a neighbor is installing a cedar fence and is taking down most of the old chain link fence, hardware and gates. The neighbor will let me have all of old chain link fence for free and this should help repair both my fence and Mom’s fence.  Perhaps it will give us a start on getting some new ones installed around Mom’s property.  This is a WIN/WIN for all of us. My neighbors save the cost/effort of getting rid of the old fence and Mom and I get to repair our fences.

I had a couple of guys stop by to give a quote on a solar panel install.  I told them I had just did a major home improvement so I would not be looking at an install this year.  I don’t want to waste anyone’s time but they wanted to come and talk about it so hey why not get an idea of what is needed if I get panels?  They were very nice people and even they seemed to think that any system they could install would have marginal savings at best based on payback.  A $5,000.00 tax break is not a lot of help when you are already not paying income taxes because of low yearly income.  I was correct that a 3-5 KW solar panel array would take care of most if not all of my electrical needs.  I also learned that adding the windows and new siding along with not powering Mom’s chicken house has dropped my electrical costs by at least 20-30% per month.  I think I’m going to see quite a bit of savings this summer cooling season compared to last year.

Two big cost coming up as the Kia needs a brake job. I always have a chatter with using the brakes at high speed and was assured the brakes were good,  but now it is very bad.  The Kia needs some maintenance done via Les Schwab. Just basic stuff that goes with owning a car.  For a 15 year old car I’m doing great as I don’t put a lot of mileage on a vehicle.  The other cost I need to take down the big tree in my front yard.  That will cost at least $500-1000 to remove.  It is an elm but I may get a little firewood to mitigate the cost.  The joys of home ownership!