Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cold Gray end to a long March

It’s a cold, gray, windy Sunday. Not much work will get done today. We’ve various obligations and everyone is pretty well done in from the past week. We have been fighting spring colds, had lots of work, school , church, 4H, and scout activities this past week, so it will be a quiet day with only feeding, milking, and other necessary chores getting done.
So, I’m going to take a moment to catch -up on some lose-ends.

Home heating.

We are at the end of our firewood pile. What’s left is a motley assortment of pieces that are just slightly too big, or punky, or wet. Nothing burns well which makes keeping warm a frustrating enterprise. We should have put in one more cord. No one is cutting wood right now so it is pretty hard to find. Next year we will plan better. Overall I have to say that the wood heating experiment was a success. The fire place and wood stove were well worth the investment (about $1200 and a bit of labor on my part. A bit of trim work left around the fireplace still) We have spent $350 on wood this year and kept the house more comfortable than we did with oil heat last year. If we used the same amount of oil as we did last year it would have cost us around $2850. So, we saved money, used local energy sources, and didn’t change the carbon equation. I’d call that a success. Next year will be better. It did require extra effort on our part. There were times when I felt I was married to the wood stove. We also are comfortable with the house at a lower temp than is standard in our country. We keep it around 62 for the most part. If you want to be warmer, move closer to the stove, put on a jersey, or get a rug. We create warm zones in the house, and accept much cooler temps in other parts. At night we pile on the quilts and expect that if it is below freezing and windy out that most of the house will be a bit below 50 when we get up in the morning. We have flirted with 40 on a couple of single digit nights, but haven’t been colder than that.


I saw Harry rolling around in his ball (he is a hamster) this morning and was reminded that he is quite the incredible rodent. We have had him for almost a year and a half. That, by it’s self, is pretty good. For the past few months he has lived in his little cage in the porch/playroom. It stays above freezing there, but it is not heated. In February we had some really cold nights. One morning Julia went out to feed him and found him cold and stiff. She called me to come check him out, which I did, finding him lifeless. We put him back in his cage (it was 11 degrees outside so we weren’t digging a hole to bury him for a while) and, after a few tears, went on with our day. That night, around 1:30 am, I got up to check on the fire and kicked something soft and fuzzy on the floor. I switched on the light and spied Harry running toward the kitchen. I’m sure he was dead, but apparently he got better. Do hamsters hibernate?

Still going strong this afternoon.

Tomorrow we should all be recovered and back at it.
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