08:59 – Colin appears to be fully recovered. We’ll continue the metronidazole for the full five days, but it’s already knocked down the infection. He should be good to go by Monday for the trip up to Sparta to close on the house. We already have the Trooper packed up with stuff we’ll haul up there to drop off at the new house. Other than that, we’ll be here until moving day on Friday the 4th, getting stuff packed up for the movers.
I needed to do some calculations for propane versus electricity costs. Our primary heat is a heat pump, so when the outside temperature gets down around freezing we’ll be using pure resistive heating, at about 3,412 BTU per KW/h. Propane yields about 91,500 BTU per gallon, so one gallon of propane is the equivalent of about 26.82 KW/h. Blue Ridge Electric Co-Op charges $2.25/gallon for propane, so I need to find out what they charge for electricity to do the comparison. We’re having a small unvented propane heater installed. It provides 25,000 BTU/hr, which means it’ll run for 366 hours on the 100 gallon tank they suggested. That’s 15.25 days running around the clock, or roughly a month running it about half of the time. That 25,000 BTU/hr heater should be sufficient to keep the pipes from freezing if the power fails, as well as keeping the downstairs at a livable temperature and the upstairs above freezing.
They’ll install a 250 gallon or larger tank if we tell them to, but the deal is that we have to use a full tank every year or we have to pay tank rental charges, which aren’t cheap. I’ll talk more with them, but I think we’ll probably end up going with the 100 gallon tank they suggested.
We’ll then use that propane heater as our secondary heat source, but I’m uncomfortable depending on just propane. Barbara didn’t want a wood stove because it’s messy, requires stored wood, and so on, but I want to have a wood stove even if we don’t normally use it. So I’m going to start checking into wood stoves and get at least a small one for the unfinished basement area. That’ll give us probably 50,000+ BTUs of backup heat that uses a renewable fuel source.
11:58 – The open-pollinated seed kits are boxed up and ready to for pickup this afternoon. They’re going via USPS Priority Mail. If you ordered a seed kit, you should receive it Monday or Tuesday.
Rather than sealing the individual seed bags in Mylar bags, we’re shipping the seed bags separately, grouped into a plastic t-shirt bag. We also include two one-gallon Mylar bags and one sheet of two half-page labels that list the contents. You can repackage the seeds yourself into the Mylar bags and seal them once you’re ready to do so. To seal them, pack them with the individual seed bags, place the open end on wood or another impervious surface, and use a clothes iron or curling iron set on hot (wool or cotton) to run across the open end of the bag and melt it closed. Just a slow pass should suffice, call it a couple seconds of contact time. We did it this way because we highly recommend pulling at least a few seeds from each bag and planting them in foam cups to get a little bit of experience with them. (It’s not even obvious, for example, which sprouting plant is produced by each type of seed.)
The herbs in particular are very slow to germinate and many have very low germination rates. That’s normal, and it’s a good idea to start some of each herb seed indoors in pots at least two or three months before the last spring frost. We didn’t include the planting guide because I haven’t had time to finish writing it. I’ll email a copy to everyone once it’s complete.