Friday, March 1, 2013

Interesting day at the Home Show

The city had a huge home show at the fairgrounds.  I got there right when the gates opened.  Having a list of things I wanted information about and also just to be a looki-loo with things I could never afford, I was hoping that the day would be successful.  It was mostly a dud. 

There were some good products that I'd be interested in having in my home.  The first was a solar attic fan.  You remove a couple of tiles from the roof and put this thing in.  It runs on a thermostat so whenever the attic gets over 100+ degrees the solar powered fan opens up and pulls the hot air out of the attic.  Each fan would cover about 1200 square feet.  The cost at the show?  $650 installed.  I wonder how much it would cost at the store and I install it myself?  I will check into it since it's a good product. 

I want a sunroom in the front of the house.  I tried to make my own this winter using heavy plastic.  It worked but looked absolutely horrible.  We had a heavy wind and it torn all the plastic down. But, it convinced me that I do want something permanent.  I stopped by half a dozen booths that sold patio covers and sun rooms.  We will see how many call me to set up a consultation.

They had some really nice looking yard art.  I like metal decorations that rust out in the yard.  Some of the prices were fantastic.  When I looked behind their displays they all had boxes and boxes of this stuff and it all came from China.  No.  I may buy a necessity from China if I can't get the same product made somewhere else but I will not buy chachka (useless crap) from China.  I don't need it at all, even if the prices were cheap.  I would rather buy something like that from the guy down the road who makes it all in his garage, even if the price is more.

They had dozens of solar companies with displays.  Only one wasn't interested in talking to me due to my low monthly electric bill.  The rest said that they could install either grid tied or off grid.  I wonder if they could do both?  Run the house on the batteries and when the batteries drain down and the solar can't keep up to go onto the grid until the batteries charge back up.  It would be a lot of manual switching back and forth but it would be well worth it.  I'll be asking lots of questions if any of the companies get back to me.

They had several different nurseries there.  H&E is having a citrus tasting next weekend.  That way you can taste the different types of fruit and pick the tree that you like.  There are many different oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, kumquat, etc.  Have you ever done a side by side comparison?  I haven't.  It sounds like a great way to promote your trees.  Unfortunately for me I will be out of town next weekend.  I was told that my lime trees keep dying because they are being planted in too wet of soil.  The clay soil around here gets saturated during winter and just doesn't dry out.  I need to add some extra sand to the soil when I plant the lime and also plant it in a high spot rather than where I was planting it, which was in an area that got some runoff from the cement patio.  Good tip and I'll try to get in to purchase another lime tree. 

They had the usual set of pots and pans, only 5 times the price if you bought it at the store.  Same with the vacuums.  Want a knife?  Never dulls!  Watch as the sellers cuts tomato after tomato.  How about samples of balsamic vinegar and flavored oils?  The vinegar came straight from Italy and was over 25 years old!  It cost more than a decent bottle of wine at about $20 for 16 oz.  The oil was a mix of grape, olive, and sunflower with garlic, lemon, lime, and coconut as some of the flavors.  Or was it coconut vinegar?  I can't remember.  There were interesting flavors of oil but would I want to buy 4 bottles for only $100?  It came with a nice cardboard holder.

My favorites were the outdoor kitchens.  For only $25,000 you can have a better looking kitchen outside than inside.  I just want something that I can use for canning during the summer so I don't heat up the house.  If I had a spare $25,000 I'd be thinking about this.  I will never have a spare $25,000, but it was fun to look.

I'm looking for some decent screen security doors.  I've found some on line with Home Depot for about $175 each.  The expensive ones are around $800.  The Home Show had the $800 kind; none of the cheaper ones, so I guess I'll be buying them from Home Depot.

I was surprised that Fresno Rack and Shelving wasn't there.  They sell a great product, where you can custom order your heavy duty shelving to the width, length, and height that you need.  Didn't matter though since I don't need any more shelving. 

There was one hydroponics vendor.  Their design had the water on the bottom and then what looked like 12" PVC pipe about 4 feet high.  There were little pockets in the pipe where you stick your plants.  The water would cycle on every 15 minutes and water the roots.  It seems like a nice idea for someone that's older and can't bend over to garden.  I asked if they had a solar version (although this wouldn't work at night) and they said no.  I just wonder how much it costs in electricity to keep the thing running all the time?

Someone was selling his version of a trellis.  He had a metal pipe laying on its side and hanging from hooks up at the top of a fascia board with holes drilled every six inches or so.  He had another metal pipe with holes drilled in that was propped up about 6 inches about a raised planter.  The wires were gridded rather than just straight.  It was a good idea.  (Picture in your mind a metal clothesline with the wires crisscrossed rather than straight across, and then hung up on your house)  It was really heavy duty with the metal.  It would hold up some nice heavy plants (I was thinking espalier fruit trees) but whatever it was hanging from would have to be able to hold up all that weight.

There were lots of food vendors. Most of it didn't even smell good. I guess I'm getting too old to think that greasy corn dogs and fries smell good. I didn't buy anything. In fact, other than the $5.00 I spent on parking I didn't spend any money.  Someone was giving away extra tickets so I didn't even have to buy a ticket. 


  1. My neighbor bought a solar attic fan for around $100 +/- and installed it himself. You're right to avoid the special homeshow 'deal.'

    Our 'outdoor kitchen' consists of having the BBQ grill on a covered (but not enclosed) porch, near the kitchen window. We pass stuff through the window. It is great in the summer for making jam. I use the side burner on the grill so I don't heat up the whole house. We freeze the jam until I can can it without heating up the whole house. I usually only have a few pints per batch. This obviously won't work for large-volume jammers.

  2. Nice report. You came to the same conclusions we did at the last one; lots of stuff we don't need that are over priced.

    We are looking to espalier some apple trees. What you saw sounds like it can be adapted.