Easy to Fix Snow Blower Part 2

Here is the second half of the snow blower auger assembly repair.  In this YouTube video, I demonstrate how to replace the auger shaft, worm gear, augers, and v-belt.  At the time I purchased this snow blower, I had no idea how they were set up and put together.  I wanted a well rated snow blower for a good price, and I purchased this one on sale and with a 15% off, credit card, application, incentive program at the time.  Sometimes you get lucky, and with this snow blower, I did.  It is so easy to repair.  Whoever engineered it, they did an excellent job.  It seems like I have been running into the exact opposite lately, so I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to find something that was created with care, logic, and the repairs in mind.

Today, it seems we live a world of ill designed products or parts meant to break easily to accommodate our artificially created throw away society.  Engineers are making illogical designs even when looking at my PT Cruiser, I have to take off the air cleaner to gain access to the battery.  It seems the engineers are encouraged to make an artificial need  of specialty tools and mechanics trained to fix the illogical.  Thirty years ago things were designed with care purpose and intent that anyone with a little self confidence could fix it.

I just wanted to praise Craftsman for creating a machine that I could easily repair myself during a time I needed it the most.  I was not bound by someone’s time table.  I was able to press through and meet the impending storm’s deadline. That next week, we received so much snow, I had to turn the snow blower over to my wife and climb the roof of our dilapidated cabin and hand shovel the snow off of it.

No paid endorsements here.  I just want to praise a company for taking the time to do it right with the care of the owners who purchase their products in mind.  Here is a shout out to the designers of the 28″ Craftsman Snow Thrower model #247.883950.

If you have found a product that has been great for you and that you purchased in confidence, please give it a shout out here and why you liked it.  Company’s need to hear when they are doing well.

Pajama Rant: This is War YouTube

It’s time to start walking and quit squawking… Our solution is quite simple and we have already demonetized our videos.

After learning about YouTube’s algorithm from other creators on YouTube, we realized capitalizing on an income from ad placements would most likely be impossible.  Watching our video, you will see that we do have a plan to fix the clickbait problem with YouTube promoting no content videos.  However, since we have such a small channel presence on YouTube, our video to solve the problem will most likely be lost in obscurity.

For those of you considering starting a YouTube Channel in hopes of making money from monetizing your account, you need to watch this video.  My wife and I have decided that sometimes to win the game is to not play the game, so we have decided to continue creating videos, but we will no longer be placing ads on our video content.  Our channel on YouTube is now an ad free channel, and we don’t plan to monetize, place ads on our videos, until YouTube changes its algorithm and we feel safe that we won’t be manipulated or lose who we are to maintain viewership.

Some of the issues we have come to learn is YouTube encourages all creators to monetize their accounts, place ads all over them.  Some creators have very successful channels and get paid very well, however, new start-ups since they don’t have the viewership as the big channels find their videos are no longer appearing in searches or are so low on the search list that no one will find them.  However, clickbait titles rule the searches and provide little of what a viewer is hoping to find.  Now, the viewer is frustrated as well as the creator who is now resorting to create a fake title to lure people to click their video instead of relying on the video’s content. It is becoming a numbers game.  With all the ads now being encouraged and YouTube not regulating the clickbait, viewers are now swamped with shallow videos with little content, yet drowning in ads to see what they don’t want to see.  Don’t worry YouTube has a solution to the quagmire they created. For just one cent shy of $10.00 a month, a viewer can pay YouTube for ad free content, known as YouTube Red.  YouTube causes the problem, then offers their solution, which just happens to make them more money by developing monthly fees on top of the ad revenue they are raking in from regular YouTube.

The frustrating part of all this besides the algorithm rewarding clickbait is that YouTube’s own “Spam, deceptive practices, and scams“policy is against clickbait and manipulating the YouTube community to gain views.  Under Misleading Metadata YouTube clearly states…

Metadata refers to any and all additional information provided on a video. This includes the title, description, tags, annotations, and thumbnail. The reason we have metadata is so that you can add additional contextual information to your videos. Please do not use these features to game or trick our search algorithms. All metadata should be representative of the content contained in your video. Among other things, metadata added in an attempt to game search algorithms will lead to the removal of your video and a strike against your account.

“I love it when a plan comes together”… Here is our plan. We hope you can join us in sharing this video and get the word out or creating a video of your own.

Our solution, since we aren’t making anything from YouTube and see no future of breaking into it using the algorithm which is working against us is to demonetize our videos.  We are going to demonetize every video.  Anyone who visits our channel will be able to watch ad free content.  YouTube won’t make a dime on our content anymore. We plan to continue making weekly videos and blogging here as well, but all our content will be ad free for the viewer.  If you feel that you would like to contribute to our cause in providing free content, please visit our Like What You See page.

The Plan

  1. Small Channels demonetize your videos
  2. Big Channels join us and demonetize your videos during the month of July, starting the 4th till the end of the month
  3. Demand YouTube provides content based searches again instead of searches based on views
  4. Creators stop using clickbait titles
  5. Subscribers continue to support your favorite channels and help support their personal label items

Other than that, this is war.  Living Sustainable Dream may fall into obscurity, but we already are.  We will continue to blog and vlog our experiences if you desire to learn about how we live off grid without losing modern conveniences.  We are hoping to begin a barn/shop build soon.  We are still growing our savings and we may be able to pull it off this summer.  We will blog about that for sure once we start.

Thanks for following our blog and vlog on YouTube.  God bless you all, and we hope to continue serving you as members of our Living a Sustainable Dream family for a long time to come.  Now back to our regular scheduled programming.

Easy to fix snow blower, all is not lost.

My snow thrower was the easiest fix I have had since being on the property.  It was so easy that I was shocked by it,  especially after working on the generator.  After attempting to fix our Ridgid generator, I was beginning to lose confidence in after market parts.  Until, I had to fix the snow thrower (blower).  This Craftsman 28″ Snow Thrower I purchased during the winter of 2012 has served us well these past 4 years.  I admit I ignored the maintenance schedule completely.  The only thing I have been determined to follow is to always use non ethanol gasoline.

About a month ago during a slush melt off, I used the snow thrower on our quarter of a mile easement.  I believe the auger shaft broke after the snow thrower picked up a very large rock in the slush.  Unfortunately, the sheer pin did not break as it was designed instead the entire shaft broke.  I decided to order a new auger shaft and waited for it to arrive.  The auger shaft arrived two days before the beginning of a series of winter snow storms that would cancel schools and leave us almost stranded.

I took a Saturday and disassembled the entire front auger assembly.  I had no instructions, just a few YouTube videos of similar snow throwers, but not  my exact model.  I began to look my snow machine over and made a mental note of all the bolts I would have to remove in order for the auger shaft to be replaced.  During the tear down, I discovered the belt that ran the auger system was severely cracked, and it too would have to be replaced.  This repair demonstrates how to replace any part of the auger assembly as well as the auger drive belt.  I found the video becoming quite long, so I began editing it down quite a bit.  I also broke the video into two parts disassembly of the auger assembly and reassembly of the auger assembly.  If you have a snow thrower, I hope this video will help you fix it, if ever, the time comes.

Off Grid Clothing -I love my Jacket!

When you come across a piece of clothing that is made well, performs for the intended tasks, and is priced right, you cannot help but talk about it.

I was given the Carhartt Women’s, Full Swing, Quick Duck, Norwich Jacket as a birthday present from my husband.  He knew that I was in need of a good jacket for our property and took it upon himself to find a jacket without my knowledge.  As I have used this jacket for a couple months now, I have come to love this jacket!  It performs great, is lightweight and easy to move in, has awesome pockets (great for egg gathering), accommodates wearing gloves in a super comfortable fashion, has an attached hood, does not bunch when you bend over, is water repellent, is made with the typical Carhartt durable material and looks good on.  What more can you ask for in a jacket?

How cool is that? Best property jacket find.

How cool is that?.. Best property jacket find.

Carhartt, boasts on their tag that came on this jacket, “The Best Workwear We’ve Ever Made” and “Try on This Jacket.  Feel the Difference.  It doesn’t fight you, it moves with you.”  I am going to have to say that they are living up to their self-promotion.

If you would like more information about this jacket you can visit our Associates Store with Amazon.  Check out the price!

I also have added in our store another Carhartt jacket that I have.  This jacket is nice to wear for casual wear.  I wear this jacket to my Farmer’s Market, where I sell my candles during the Spring/Summer season.  If you would like to check out our off grid home business you can go to www.pauperscandles.com

Mark, you hunted, investigated, and thought this one out and what a superb job you did.  Thank you Babe for such an awesome jacket for our property.  There is nothing like having good outdoor wear when you live on an off grid homestead!

Why roof pitch is important when building in snow country

Shovel it... Sometimes there is only one thing left to do and that is to shovel it.

Shovel it… Sometimes there is only one thing left to do and that is to shovel it.

Two weeks ago we had a winter storm that caught everyone off guard.  Looking at the addition feet of snow to the roof of the old cabin, I knew I could not ignore it for long. I climbed the roof each night after work and began shoveling trying to beat the possible collapse.  Putting the dangers of falling through out of my mind, I continued to shovel the snow easing the creaking roof’s snow load.  Later that week, the race was on as 6 inches of new snow was added to the roof with over a quarter of an inch of freezing rain. School was cancelled, so I had the day to remove the rest, and it took the day.  On Friday, I had collapsed from exhaustion.  On the morning of Saturday, I was sick and would remain so until Wednesday of the next week.

Warm and cozy... The fire is blazing all thw hile keepign a pot of hot coffee available when I can put the shovel up and warm up after a job well done.

Warm and cozy… The fire is blazing, all the while keeping a pot of hot coffee available when I can put the shovel up and warm up after a job well done.

While I was in fevered sleep, I began to have lucid dreams of destroying the old cabin and replacing it with a well built pole barn shop.  I desired to never have to climb the roof of the old cabin again.  Sometimes it takes great adversity to motivate me to take risks to bring about the change that my wife and I desire and need.  Out of this snow storm an idea was conceived to create a shop that would replace the old cabin.  I have already begun the research to build a pole barn .

In the video above, I explain the importance of roof pitch when it comes to snow.  I also share a little about why we did not build an earthship as we had planned because of the climate here.  In the video I also explain why the chimney and vent pipes should be located close to the roof’s ridge.  If you like the video, please subscribe to our channel on YouTube and give us a thumbs up; it encourages us to keep making them.

I cannot “generate” the words to express my frustration…

Positive thinking... I wanted to believe the new part would work. I had no reason to doubt a new part would work.

Positive thinking… I wanted to believe the new part would work. I had no reason to doubt a new part would work.

A month ago I posted “Generating Repairs,” and after it was all said and done the generator worked great until, not even, a week later.  My wife and I were procrastinating on starting the generator hoping for the next sunny day, but to no avail we were socked in with clouds.  While sitting on the couch watching a movie,  the house powered down, leaving us in the dark.  Yes, even people off grid sometimes have power outages.  I moved through the house in the dark for a flashlight I place by the front door.  I turned it on and proceeded to the warp reactor, I mean battery room.  There on the invertor a red warning light was on with the LED display reading Low Battery.

A low battery cut out is when the invertor shuts down everything drawing power from the battery bank even the DC appliances to prevent the batteries from being completely discharged.  This was not a problem; I would head to the pump house and fire up our newly fixed backup generator.  However, in my haste I forgot to turn the fuel line back on the generator and pulled about five time questioning why it didn’t immediately start.  I checked everything turn the fuel line on and pulled again, but this time the pull rope broke and with the rope severed, I found myself in a real pickle.

I retrieved the broken end of the pull rope in the starter assembly and retied it to the old handle.  On the first pull, the rope would no longer retract; the starter assembly spring was done, and now we had no way of starting the generator.  Now with frustration beginning to mount, I returned to the house to retrieve tools to remove the starter recoil assembly.  I then grabbed a special wrench I had and attempted to hand crank it like a model T Ford.  I failed and I am glad I did too, knowing the danger I was facing if the unit did start with that wrench securely in my hands.

So, what to do.  I went back to the invertor and changed the low battery cut out setting to a lower setting allowing us to power up the house again, but also realizing we were on a clock that was quickly winding down.  I hurriedly began looking for a new starter assembly online that would get us back up and running again.  In the next few days, I would borrow a neighbor’s generator, which also failed.  I proceeded to purchase a secondary backup generator from the store, but my generator had inflated in price, so I would have to settle for a smaller generator, a 5000 watt.  This too failed.  Our home’s electrical requirement was barely manageable for it.  The new 5000 watt generator couldn’t even run our AC well pump with the rest of the house powered down.  We returned that generator.

Walk the dog, around the world? My yo-yo tricks work better at recoil than this designed to recoil part.

Walk the dog, around the world?.. My yo-yo tricks work better at recoil than this designed to recoil part.

We finally received the part and it did not take me long to change it.  Very easy to replace. However, as you can see in the video, the complete failure of a brand new part, never used before.  I was completely devastated after all the effort I put into getting my back up system running again.  Currently, we have enough sun to keep us going, but I have sincere doubts the second replacement part will work either.  The 1st spring was weak when I pulled it slightly to test the recoil right out of the package.  I just wanted to believe my problems would be solved by purchasing a new part and that part was made with quality in mind.

This is incredible; I can’t believe the failure I am seeing with inferior replacement parts for my generator.  I just don’t understand how any company would sell inferior quality products when the original last thousands of pulls over the last 6 years and this new part didn’t even survive one pull. Something has gone wrong in our society.  This is something that could be expected in communist Russia 30 years ago and would never even be considered in the United States.  The company selling such garbage would be out of business and fail because another competitor would fill the need and put them out of business. After looking online, I saw the same part made by the same manufacture sold all over the Internet at various websites some changing as low as $30.00 and others for the same part and manufacturer charging $70.00.  I don’t know who to trust.  Was it a fluke or is the manufacturer just putting out trash and calling it adequate?  Not even one pull, folks.

The next replacement part is coming soon.  I also contacted the company brand who sells the generator, RIGID,  who has passed me on to the Yamaha engine manufacturer.  Perhaps, if this next part is a failure, I can purchase one direct from Yamaha who does not seem to advertise or sell the part, but one thing is for certain their part is better made than what I received.

Even though I am greatly disappointed, I am trying to not be angry at the whole event.  I think there is something much worse happening here than one mishap at a factory.  It seems our culture is beginning to accept low quality, disgraceful goods as the norm all the while standards are slipping into a void of meaningless profit.

I mentioned preppers in the video, warning them that when things break where will they go to purchase new parts to keep their off grid survival status going if the economy collapses.  The answer is really no one can be prepared for that, unless they are prepping to live without any modern conveniences.  Interestingly enough, if new products begin to fail right after removing them from the box, we may already be in a failed society.

Off Grid: Having a Washing Machine

vlcsnap-2017-02-10-20h36m35s989When Mark and I were talking about living off grid, we decided early on that we wanted to have as many modern conveniences as possible.  We both did not want to have to hand wash our clothes. So, having a washing machine was on the list of appliances that we wanted to have.  When Mark was figuring our power usage for our home he took the list of items we would have in our house that would take power and calculated how much power we would need and then designed our solar system to fit our power usage.

With being off grid for about five years now, I have to say that Mark did an outstanding job with our solar system.   We are able to use whatever power we need, like using our washing machine, pretty much any time we need and this is with minimal generator usage throughout the year.

Last summer our old Kenmore washing machine died and we had to purchase a new one.  There were three things we looked for when looking for a new washing machine.

  1. No phantom loads
  2. Least amount of water
  3. Least amount of power

These three things can be helpful for those of you who are off grid and on the grid.  Anything that can be done to cut the amount of power use will be of assistance to anyone.

Here is a little video talking about having a washing machine whether on the grid or off the grid and what to look for.  Enjoy!