No Post Today – I have to give a speech at UIS

I am addressing SAGE today and want to keep focused on that.  I promise I will make up for it tomorrow. But I will leave you with a song.


Much more tomorrow.


Being Frugal Can Be Funny – Or so it seems from this blog

This Blog on frugality is pretty funny and maybe not for the Joe Sixpack crowd. Things like Retiring In Panama may miss them. But the post about living on food stamps was pretty informative and funny.

Festival of Frugality: Superheroes Are Frugal Too Edition

Hello and welcome to the 325th edition of the Festival of Frugality. The Festival of Frugality highlights personal finance posts that deal with how to pinch those pennies or save that dollar.

I am a sucker for a theme for my festivals or carnivals and while I was tempted to do a leap year facts edition it just wasn’t exciting enough for my blood. So superheroes it is. Because what’s more exciting than superheroes? It also occurred to me that superheroes are quite frugal and who hasn’t sometimes thought that superpowers are needed to stay on the path of frugality.

Editor’s Super Picks

Smart Family Finance has pretty convincing financial reasons to get rid of your junk. There are so may reasons to get rid of your “junk”. It’s nice to have one that will put cash in your wallet too.

Annabelle from Shopping Detox gives her city a frugal audit. This really has me thinking about my own town.

A. Blinkin from Funancials entertains us as usual with how do you judge value?



Go there and read about Wolverine and Batman at least. More next week.


Off The Grid Store – I am posting a hunk of his blog

This blog for this store has one chunk dated January 25th of 2012 and the first post listed as January 13. There is nothing more. So I do not know much about the store or the guy claiming to be Darin. It hasn’t been open long. According to a phto shoot caption they opened in early December 2011. I never endorse anything I have not actually tried and I have never ordered anything from this site. So buyer bewarier. As a man with a new business I am sure that he is too busy to blog and I disagree with his probable ideology as well. However new small businesses are very hard to keep alive so here he is, the Off The Grid Kid.

Me – Off The Grid as a kid

The first post is always the hardest post to write on a blog.  It’s like introducing yourself to a bunch of people and you can’t look them in the eye. I’m an eye contact person as I believe one on one communication is something this world could use a lot more of.  If people talked, they might be able to understand each other better instead of making blanket judgements based on assumptions.

I’ll give it my best shot.  My name is Darin and I’m the Owner of  I’m a 40 year old guy with 3 little ones, grew up in the woods of Northern Arizona.  Caught my first fish before I could tie my shoes and tell my boy hunting stories instead of bedtime stories.  I’m  a Patriot and believe that the United States is the greatest nation on earth but I don’t think we’re perfect.  I know we have a great foundation for this country (the constitution) but I’m afraid of what country my children will inherit if we continue down the road we are currently on.  I hope our country gets back on track and focuses on the principles of what makes us great.

I’m a former radio talk show host from Phoenix, Arizona.  In my previous career, I spent most waking hours following the news, watching what was happening and then talking about it to a large audience.  As I researched topics I was going cover on my show, I noticed that many times the mainstream media left out crucial details and portrayed the story in a way that wasn’t entirely accurate by my standards.  Eventually I became aware that in order to get the real story, it was important to look at all angles and formulate my own opinion versus just taking what I was seeing/hearing/reading as fact.

My “awakening” has led me to this adventure.  I hope the preparations I am taking will never be used in an emergency situation.  I hope the food, tools and other equipment I have accumulated will only need to be used when I am enjoying the great outdoors on my own terms.  But, my first priority is my family and I feel it is my responsibility to make sure my wife and kids are in the best possible position should a disaster strike.  They are relying on me and I will not let them down.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Halloween Spoof – Thanks to Compare Electricity Rates

This is a guest post from a group that has done it before. Thanks for the holiday gift.

Scrooge-like is the usual manner in which which I handle the power in my little palace, but sometimes that approach doesn’t quite work. There are certain special situations in which even a penurious Scotsman  might open up the wallet as well as the heart. This cavalier attitude toward a fast-spinning electric meter wouldn’t be an everyday occurrence, but it could happen. Some of the situations, like just being cold, would have to be pretty extreme, and the missus might have to threaten physical violence, but other potential instances, like the arrival Of Mick Jagger & Co., would be no-brainers. Here are a few of the possible candidates to render the electric bill meaningless.

Brrr! – When the thermometer is broken, or at least it seems that way, and the temperature reading is a constant 10 degrees below zero (inside), it is time to break the piggy bank and crank up an Amish heater in every room in the house.

I’m Melting – The same thermometer, turned upside down, could convince me that 110 degrees is uncomfortable enough to turn on the AC, and I might even be swayed to set the thermostat below 85.

Work, Work, Work – If my boss doesn’t care how much power I use to get a job done, then that’s the time I don’t get to care, either.


This is so funny. I love the Rolling Stones one. Go there and read the rest. More tomorrow.


This Piece On Weartherproofing Is Pretty Good – But I am skipping all of the types of caulk

Look  just buy good caulk. That is it. Nothing lasts for 25 years so do not believe that. Usually caulk lasts for six or seven years. That’s it. So do not pay 6 $$$ per tube. But, if you pay 3 or 4 $$$ you are in the right range. If you can get that exact same type of caulk on sale all the better.

The average house–even when well-insulated–contains cracks and gaps between building materials that add up to a hole about 14 “square (Fig. 1). In the winter, those gaps may make the house drafty and chilly. All year long, a leaky house not only wastes energy, but can lead to water damage and provide a path for insects. Inside this document you will find information about: 
  • Weatherproofing Basics
  • Types of Caulking
  • Using Caulking
  • Types of Weatherstripping
  • Installing Weatherstripping


  • In all the discussion of insulation and R-values, don’t forget that poor weatherproofing is often a more important source of discomfort, as well as high heating and cooling bills. 

  • Some air leakage can be prevented during construction by using housewrap or getting a tight fit between framing members, for example. Once the house is built, however, the remaining gaps must be sealed. Gaps around doors and window sashes should be weatherstripped, and gaps between permanent building materials sealed with caulking.

FIG. 1 – Where caulking should be applied, from the Sunset book, Insulation and Weatherstripping, © Sunset Publishing Corp.


  • The greatest source of air leakage in most homes occurs around doors, windows, and access hatches, such as the ceiling opening from the living area into an unheated attic (Fig. 4). Weatherstripping can be a delicate job because those openings need to be fitted loosely enough that the door or window operates freely, yet tightly enough that air leakage is stopped. 

  • The type of weatherstripping you’ll use depends on the location and the type of opening. Three types of weatherstripping are common: 

  • Compression–Compression weatherstripping (Fig. 5) is used to seal swinging doors and window sashes. It consists of a molded strip (it may be wood, aluminum or rigid vinyl) with a flexible vinyl bulb along one side. As a rule, compression weatherstripping is the most durable type available. 

  • V-Type Strips–V-shaped weatherstripping (Figs. 6 & 7) is fitted against the side of the door or window jamb so it presses against the edge of the door or sash and forms a seal. V-stripping may be vinyl or bronze. 

  • Foam–Foam weatherstripping (Fig. 8) is used to seal either swinging or sliding doors or windows. It comes in various sizes with an adhesive backing on one side. It is fastened to the edge of a door or window stop, or to the bottom of a sliding window sash. 

  • Thresholds and Door Bottoms–A threshold fills the gap between the floor and the bottom of a door. It may have a built-in vinyl bulb. If not, it must be used in combination with a door bottom (Fig. 9), mounted on the lower edge of the door.



So if you want to read about all that caulk or look at the pretty pictures about how to install weather stripping. Please go to the sight and look. More tomorrow.


Anne Logue Posted This On Facebook Today – Nuclear Power no thanks

I know I have been doing residential energy conservation stuff the last few weeks but a buddy on Facebook posted the Nuclear Power No Thanks button today. I had not thought of that for 20 years or more. I went to my first anti-nuke protest when I was 14. So by the time the button started circulating in 1977, I was an “old man” in the protest business. But seeing it reminded me that there is a lighter side to the world of social change. Plus Ann is cute as a button herself.



You all have a great weekend. More on Monday.


OutDoor Living Writer Melissa Anne – She writes a mean piece on Solar Fountains

She asked and I said yes.


Top Solar Fountains for 2011

Everybody’s trying to go green these days – we’re cutting back on driving, using energy efficient light bulbs, buying Energy Star appliances, and buying products that are made using only environmentally friendly practices. One area people don’t usually think of when going green is their outdoor accessories. Yes, solar powered items around for some time, but their popularity has really taken off in recent years with all the great products coming out. One of those products is the solar fountain. Today, we’re going to look at a few of the top solar fountains for 2011.


First is the Alpine 2 Tier Water Fountain: Solar Panel Powered. When you first look at this, you’d swear it was carved out of a tree. But it’s actually made of fiberglass, so it’s pretty light and very durable. This model features a solar panel outside of the unit, attached by an 8 foot cord. This gives you more versatility in where you want to place it. For example, you could have your fountain sitting in the shade up on the patio but keep the panel out in the yard where it gets plenty of sun, so you can enjoy your fountain in cool comfort. Its unique look has made it a top seller this year and it’s sure to remain that way.


Next is the Smart Solar Portsmouth Solar Birdbath. This fountain offers a modern take on the classic stone birdbath. It features Smart Solar’s patented solar panel design, with the panel sitting in the middle of the basin so it’s perfectly positioned to get all the sunlight it can. Even when it’s not running, it still makes a great decorative accent thanks to the designs around the bowl, column, and base. And with its resin construction, it can hold up outside almost all year without showing any wear. At its value price, this fountain really can’t be beat for anywhere around the home, from a spot on the patio to a flower bed in the front yard.


Finally, we have another Smart Solar product, the Blenheim Two-Tier Solar-on-Demand Fountain. This model offers a little something extra, with a two tier design that gives you the beautiful sound of running water flowing from the top bowl to the bottom. Made of resin, it features a black iron finish, which is something you don’t find in a lot of fountains and looks great in a modern outdoor space. But what really separates it is the Solar-on-Demand technology. It has a backup battery that stores the sun’s energy so it can run for up to 6 hours in the evening or when the sun’s not out. This feature has made it one of the most popular solar fountains on the market today.


If you’re thinking of more ways to do your part to be green while beautifying your home, try a solar fountain. No wires and no electricity costs – just a fun way to enhance your home and help the environment!


About The Author – Melissa Anne is a writer with and a lifelong outdoor living enthusiast. For more on solar fountains, visit, where you can find everything from a solar pump to a solar bird bath.


More tomorrow.