Archive for March, 2021


shopping, prices

Instacart delivery

Is it expensive? consider, your labor (if you were to pay yourself minimum wage of —-), your time, cost per mile of vehicle operation.

from receipt

Items Found

Adjustments (Shaw​’s) 4
Open Nature Bone-In Lamb Loin Chops (per unit)
Refunded 1.0 lb

Some of your items weren’t available, so your shopper picked items based on replacements you approved and what was available.

Brussel Sprouts (16 oz bag)
1 x $3.49
Brussels Sprouts (per unit)
1.0 lb x $3.49

Weight Adjustments
Broccoli Crown (~ 0.81 lb)
Adjustment: 0.805 lb -> 1.0 lb
1.0 lb x $2.09

S Farms Whole Chicken (per unit)
Adjustment: 2.75 lb -> 4.465 lb
4.465 lb x $1.89

Items found (Shaw​’s) 7
Iceberg Lettuce (each)
1 x $2.29

Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (16 oz)
1 x $4.59

Florida’s Natural Orange Juice, Most Pulp (52 oz)
1 x $4.09

Signature Farms Trimmed Celery Stalks (16 oz bag)
1 x $3.49

Yellow Onion Bag (3 lb bag)
1 x $4.59

Meat & Seafood
Choice Beef Top Round Roast (per unit)
2.51 lb x $5.79

Quaker Rice Cakes Buttered Popcorn (4.47 oz)
1 x $3.49

Order Totals
Items Subtotal $51.09
Tip xx.xx
Service Fee $3.58
Total $64.89
Free Delivery!
You saved $6.48

The free delivery was a promotion, yes there is usually a mark up in prices from the actual store prices. Some items that are on sale may actually be lower than store prices.

If you are an extremely picky shopper you may not like having grocery delivery. There are options to select alternatives if an item is out of stock /not available. You can modify your list till the shopper starts. Your shopper can communicate by texting to ask for an approval of a change also. You rely on an experienced shopper to make the best choices. The system is not perfect in every way as with shopping on line or even going to the market and finding out there all out of a certain item. Real time quantities would require a system that requires shoppers to scan their purchases as they pick them like in an fully automated store (Amazon) and relay that info in real time to have that item replenished if the supply chain can support it, or have a picker in the store pick and store your order before the shopper arrives. In our area, Instacart has expanded to a decent variety of stores not only groceries. Prepackaging of items also is easier to select than a by weight items.

In my opinion, one tends to organize shopping more carefully as to the frequency of going to the store multiple times for a few items , This would also tie in to meal planning. Instacart does offer subscription services that lower delivery cost but it not required. Instacart is also available through a web connected computer (desktop or other device that can access webpages) so a smartphone device is not required. I’ve used both platforms and sometimes the messaging can have a bit of latency.

Grocery delivery is not new, in past times some specialty neighborhood grocers would offer phone in ordering and a grocery delivering to preferred customers. i don’t know though how the price was negotiated back then.


corn dog bites

Usually not a New England regional recipe, corn dogs, but since we have some hot dogs, this looks like a different recipe. We enjoy corn bread once and while and this is a good finger food snack option. The original corn dog recipe requires deep frying hot dogs covered with batter. This recipe just requires baking.

Use mini muffin tins, essentially a corn mini muffin with a piece of hot dog in the middle.

Adapted from a YouTube recipe from the Food Network.

Your quantities may vary .

  • 4 hot dogs, sliced to bite size pieces
  • __________________________________
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk soured with a bit of vinegar.
  • 1 egg
  • _____________________________________
  • 1/2 cup corn meal (I used dry masa)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ______________________________-

Combine wet ingredient list and in another bowl dry ingredients list, mix both together till incorporated like a muffin mix.. (you could of course use a prepared box mix.)

Fill half way the muffin tins with the batter, greased or use those fancy pleated paper liners if so desired.

Push in the pieces of sliced hot dogs into the batter.

Bake 375 for about 10 minutes.

I ended up with more hot dog pieces than batter so the last few muffins have 2 pieces in each muffin. Our mini muffins tins may be larger than normal. If you place your sliced hotdog piece, the diameter horizontally, perfectly in the middle of the muffin batter, then slice it horizontally after baking, you have a round cornbread donut shape, with a hot dog in the middle to place on a tray. (didn’t get a picture of that).

The hot dog bites are good as is, but to enhance the serving, provide some dipping sauces , mustard and ketchup are a favorite.

get the ingredients ready


vanilla yogurt pound cake

This is a modified recipe from all Since I did not have lemon flavored yogurt I used what was in the fridge, vanilla flavored yogurt and substituted lemon extract with vanilla extract. A nice crumb, lighter texture than a usual pound cake. Sweet enough for a dessert or a side, toasted/grilled with coffee., serve with fresh fruit, ice cream as you desire,

mise en place

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) container of vanilla flavored yogurt

bring all ingredients to room temperature

oven @ 325 degrees farenheit

grease and flour your pan of choice

a typical cake mix procedure

cream the sugar and the butter till light and fluffy

beat in one egg at a time

add vanilla extract

sift the dry ingredients

to the the butter sugar blend, mix in the dry ingredients, wet ingredients, alternately ending with the dry.

mix just until incorporated.

place in pan , bake, test with toothpick or thermometer.

remove from oven and cool 1O minutes or so.

carefully turn out to a wire rack.

cool completely, enjoy


heathkit (heath company) catalog 1981

Many associate Heathkit Company with Electronics kit building from the past. Before they went out of business they attempted to also offer kit building in the form of furniture. Did your school offer “shop” classes like woodworking ?


on the bench

The continuing series cataloging repairs, tear downs and random stuff.

Now on he bench is an Retro Oreck Air cleaner. some of you folks (sounds homey right ?) might remember these from it’s TV advertising. Some are probably already familiar with the Oreck name. I did a quick search on Oreck and those unfamiliar with it’s history may find it interesting reading more than the scope of this posting.

Another item is the fact of air purification. You can easily find yourself in a whirlwind of information on air purifiers and filters, air quality and health condition, all beyond the scope of this blog. I as more often than not acquire items on their merit of design and components rather than the best rated and reviewed results, even though the device is usually discontinued or no longer available. So on with the show…

At the time when these were offered for sale, comparatively speaking they were expensive (to my demographic). It’s advantage is that the air cleaner never required filters , so to speak. The electrostatic filter is the main filter element, basically sheets of metal separated and each other layer charged with a high voltage to trap particles in the air. This was later referred to as the “truman cell” filter and I’m stumped as to the reference of this marketing terminology. I’ve had some experience with electrostatic commercial units, basically a larger implementation of the truman cell. It also harks back to the day when it was legal to consume tobacco products at your pleasure and many restaurants , bars and lounges used a “smoker eater” to keep the air cleaner.

All components of the filter are removable and washable. It can be equipped with a charcoal filter, still available. The model purchased was the AIr 8 , they may be (as more research is needed) first generation of the Oreck air purifier and came in a few colors including the wood grain variety. One striking feature is it’s layout, unlike many other home air purifiers, is that it’s designed to a rather large footprint type device that would be on a tabletop, not like a floor model. The retro wood grain looks of this model disguises it to be a table top console device that would look good in a living room setting. It probably could be placed near an ashtray, cigar humidor, or a stand holding a collection of pipes (tobacco that is) but most of that has disappeared from our lives.

The fan design is similar to a elongated squirrel cage blower, cylindrical with axial vanes that allows a low profile. Since there is no input airflow to the center of the rotating vanes, like many squirrel cage blowers, it moves the air, by the design of the case, by just the outer edge of the vanes while rotating. Air flows from the rear of the filter assembly around the edge of the vanes and exiting up through the top of the device. Adjustable vanes allow some limited direction of the exiting air flow. The design also requires that airspace is clear over the top of the unit.

As with other Oreck devices manufactured in it’s time, it’s expensive price is justified in it’s design. Ironically to me is that some reviews (some misleading) classed this as a device needing frequent service as that the time Oreck had it’s chain of retail stores and repair centers. In my opinion the device is well built as we will see. some of the shortcomings of reviewers of the time placed it as a mediocre filter system, but again it doesn’t matter to me.

More technically the 120 volt powered device has a low voltage transformer feeding the high voltage supply for the electrostatic filter, The speed control slide switch selects the motor windings for 3 different speeds, a basic but effective system other than an electronic speed control system. A specialized slide switch of both two and three pole combination and wired to switch the fan windings, while supplying the power to the low voltage transformer. A separate high voltage supply, 120 vac in and high voltage DC out is for the ionizer, another controversial system of air rejuvenation, which operates by a simple switch. The high voltage output terminates in a needle located close to the fan blades to provide the ions to the air stream. The final switch is actually a latch to access the fragrance cartridge holder which springs open allowing insertion of the fragrance cartridge I think still available. I utilized some soldering iron foam cleaning pads and use scented essences as necessary. Another small circuit board on the front panel rear is the LED indicator assembly to indicated power, filter condition and power applied to the ionizer.

All of the components are easily removable and as with other older devices a good number of fasteners are used versus plastic clips of newer devices. The entire unit can be disassembled and cleaned, even the louver assembly is made so it can be taken apart, there are no plastic “welds” in the device. The case is of heavy thick plastic. Mine was missing the rubber feet, some chipped areas on the feet projections. The unit was also engineered for wall mounting but I can not find any reference to a wall mounting bracket offered through research. This device could be mounted on the ceiling if you were so inclined to fashion a bracket or mounting plate for it.

Noise wise the unit is very quiet on medium speed and practically silent on the low speed. Occasionally there is a slight sound from the bearings barely perceptible on the low speed. Noise form these devices is very subjective to the user.

Lets take a look…

unboxing… I didn’t know this would be as popular as it has become
The “before” picture. Unit powered up but the fan blades were jammed for some reason.
first glance, top removed, motor mount cracked
The right side
left side bearing assembly plate, easily removable
a bit of dust and dirt expected when buying on the used low price market. Some buyers actually like to bring the item back to original condition rather than buy a totally refurbished item,. Plus you get the best part… to take it apart and see the design ! It’s a learning experience !
The fan motor mount may have gotten jostled around during shipping as the seller said it worked.
ground wire from the ionizer just sitting in there ?
cracked motor mount, was eventually glued back to normal.
slide switches and LED display board, the control panel also slides out from the case.
another view of the control panel pulled form the case
broken motor mount
The stud for the ionizer chipped, later epoxied
repair of the motor mount
fan motor removed (right)
the brass bushing pressed on the motor shaft provides coupling to the fan blade assembly
not a through cleaning yet reassembled for testing, fan now rotating.
case together, run testing
days later full disassembly for cleaning appears that the high voltage ionizer supply does not output the high voltage. The high voltage for the electrostatic filter is good.
As stated practically all of the components can be broken down for cleaning.
three separate windings for this motor, would be hard to find a replacement 120 vac
ball bearings
mates to the grommet on the fan blade end
detents for positive switch position
The “after” picture. ionizer power supply replacement on order. All bearings were cleaned and greased also.
order from Ali Express, a replacement, not the exact replacement for the high voltage power supply
This one terminates in a carbon brush end instead of a needle. Not sure of the voltage of the original one , this one definitely more compact. No pictures of the repair just connected to the 120 vac and ran the output to the original bracket that held the needle termination.

After almost a month of running practically full time, the fan blade assembly was starting to slip and squeak on the bushing at the motor drive. Previous I used a piece of heat shrink on the outer section of the shaft. That did not last Then tried a vacuum cap to bush up the diameter for a tighter fit. Nope still a no go.
Finally I repeated the heat shrink application , this time covering the entire shaft with the heat shrink even over the bushing then applying heat. The ridge on the bushing fits into the grommet with the grommet completely covering the bushing
seen here the grommet fully pressed onto the shaft covering the bushing
on duty today

I do like the design and operation of the Oreck. If needed it could be modified for instance, for smoke extraction when soldering Or if you needed a high voltage supply or some type of fan for moving air. It can be operated on it’s side Hasn’t collected much dust yet , the filter light has not come on. there is some fine dust on the electrostatic plates On occasion you do here the snap of the high voltage could be a large dust particle etc. Does it make a difference on the quality of the air in the room ? I can’t really say and by delving more into the subject of air quality ………………

New Toy , review to follow.

garden 2021

Sunny today, the seeds have emerged from the growing chamber to get some natural light on the window sill.



March 2021

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