Yup, the Mini project hasn’t progressed in the last year, parts availability is still iffy and when I checked the other day shipping costs from Great Britain are still more than the part’s price. So looked at the “20% off” sale prices from the now merged purveyors of Mini parts in Northern California and their “sale” prices were higher than the GB purveyor’s even after shipping, The Yamaha MX250 is 98% complete and turns over, and the 10 foot kayak hasn’t seen water since I got a 16 foot canoe two years ago and is overdue for a rest in the “grove” out back.

It’ll have to wait for the second trip to the grove in the loader bucket, after this Motorvation Spyder sidecar with rusted out reinforcements in it’s fiberglass tub and a busted axle makes the trip to the “rural warehouse”. And that disembodied Ranger pickup on the far left- Shoulda left it back there! The black Golf TDI runs, probably because I haven’t made a “project” of fixing it’s rust and the busted off glow plug stuck in the head…

If you’ve been following the weather at all you’ve noticed that we’ve been having a blizzard a week up here on the tundra, which should allow plenty of time for projects while hunkered down between weekly ‘tween blizzard supply runs. Let the projects commence! (or at least continue).

This perfectly good corn/pellet stove has warmed my little abode for a dozen years now, it’s a great piece of “folk engineering” from AES (American Energy Systems), one of the midwest inventors that birthed and raised these biomass stoves in the late years of the last century. But 12 years is old for a biomass stove, and the parts list for a rebuild came to around a thousand $$$$.

At the feet of the “cherry picker” engine (and everything else heavy) hoist is my newest heating acquisition- A high(er) tech wood pellet stove that can reputedly turn itself up and down and even start and stop itself to maintain a heat setting. Price about the same thousand $$$$ as rebuilding and the 26% tax credit will pay for new vent pipe for it. Ordered around thanksgiving, and when it arrived a couple weeks later I installed it in the garage and tested it for a couple hours, worked as advertised. Unhooked the vent pipe, stove was still on it’s shipping pallet on a cart so I wheeled it out of the way while I decide where to permanently install it.

Now this is my 5th stove- 1st was a great Canadian made wood (log) stove that warmed my Minneapolis garage before it got trashed by a squatter then rebuilt and relocated to my garage out here (in Florence, MN) a couple years ago . 2nd was a USC corn/pellet stove that was a poor copy (parts even interchange) of the 3rd that’s served me so well, still works but I don’t trust it so it’s stored as a spare and parts source. 4th was an American made wood stove installed in 2021 after I noticed the rebuilt 1st was rusting and it’s more efficient, burns cleaner, and got me another tax credit too, and now a 5th…? Fortunately(?) these stoves don’t do ductwork and my most humble abode has three sections- living/dining/kitchen and a 1/2 bath in the center, 2 bedrooms/storeroom/library/bath on one end, and a big double garage and storeroom on the other. The trusty AES corn/pellet stove has resided in the center section for it’s entire 12 years, the wood stoves in succession have warmed the garage and with the door open provide power failure heat for the whole place, and the bedrooms are cold. Not a big deal as I found during the pandemic that I could zone off that section, sleep on the couch, and the AES stove would heat this “efficiency” living space on low setting for $100 a month of pellet fuel.

So I’ve got homes for 3 stoves and a 5th shows up, at my behest. In the spirit of “home improvement” I decide it’s time to retake possession of those bedrooms, heating costs be damned. So I roll the new pellet stove down the hallway on it’s pallet, can’t make the turn into the chosen farthest bedroom. Back up the hall, turn it around, still can’t make the turn. Slide the stove a bit on the Cart and and after slewing the offending end around on a floor jack it makes the turn… And it’s a quarter inch too wide to make it through the door. Knock off for the day…

Next day I fold up the “cherry picker” so it’ll make it into the living room, unfurl it, and lift the stove off the pallet so it’s a couple inches narrower, and success as it enters the bedroom! Then fold it up again, unfold it in the bedroom, and lift it from the cart to a lower dolly as I scope out the best final positioning. Now this bedroom has had a mold problem in abatement thanks to winter’s cold and bleach, but thought I should check the sheetrock’s backside first before I put the stove in. Found a scrape that’ll have to be repaired anyway, cut a thumb size sample out, and damn… black on the backside so need to replace that sheetrock before I put a stove in the way!

Knocked off for the day, so in 2 days I’ve managed to move the stove 50 feet and it’s gotta move again. Per usual, project expands like too much expanding spray foam insulation… Now I’ve got a wall of sheetrock replacement problem too. Sleep on it… Could just leave the new stove on the cart where it’s vents height would now match the height of the old AES stove in the living room? Or maybe in the garage for a low effort alternative to the wood stove, easy to poke a hole for the vent where there’s no sheetrock! Or maybe in that empty alcove in the bathroom and vent it through the fan vent?

Really should just haul half these cars, stoves, etc., and parts thereof out to the “grove” and forget them… But snows too deep!