The fireplace is finally installed in the living room. I'm not sure why the "simple" projects always take so long. We had our first fire last night. It was great to sit with our feet propped up on the hearth listening to the logs pop and watching the snow fall outside. (I do have some tile and trim work to finish today, but it is nice to have everything functioning.)
The house originally had three fireplaces. The people who owned it before us didn't do the kind of maintenance old fireplaces and brick chimneys need, instead they removed the fireplaces, dumped some tar on the holes left in the slate roof, and installed a really cheap, inefficient oil furnace. Our goal is to create a place where we can produce all of our own energy. The new fireplace is a big step toward that goal. Next year we hope to install an outdoor wood furnace which we can use for hot-water heat for the main part of the house, the milk-room, and the greenhouse. We have some other alternative energy projects planned as well. More on that as they happen.