Saturday, January 19, 2008

when the cold winds blow

When it's 15°F, -2°F wind chill (-10°C, -19°C wind chill) like today, we keep the wood stove blazing. We also have a furnace that burns propane, but our goal is to keep the heat turned down in the rest of the house when we're in the family room where the wood stove is.

We were excited to receive a bill for renting the propane tank, because that means we used less than 700 gallons for one year (you have to pay rental for the tank only if you burn less than 700 gallons annually).

The building on the right here is the corncrib, where we store firewood, not corn.

This morning I couldn't get the logs to light in the wood stove. They glowed, but they wouldn't blaze. Don was sleeping, and I was determined to do this myself. Did I have the logs too close together? Too far apart?

See this copper cauldron with logs in it? It's from our days in İstanbul, when Don sold copper to the U.S.

Bishop joined me outside, after she ran out of the garage where she spent the night on her heated bed (she is a barn cat; believe me, she loves her outdoor life. Have I told you she is a marvelous huntress?) She looks fat, but that is all winter coat. Every night when I'm in the hot tub, she comes to my corner and nuzzles and cuddles with me, even though my hand is wet and it gets her fur icy after a few minutes in the frigid air. We love each other.

We went to the woodshed and piled up the old blue plastic sled with our load. I use "we" loosely. I loaded while Bishop squirmed around in the snow.
We load up the sled every two or three days, depending on how much we're home.

When Don was laid up after shoulder surgery, I was the sole firewood gatherer.
Now he's using his arm very well, gathering wood and doing other things that don't require heavy lifting. So we are back to sharing this task.

The fire finally blazed. We're hibernating in our warm house this weekend.


Mrs. M. said...

Bishop looks quite satisfied with life!

Some day the coziness of northern life will return--how I envy your stove, snow, and hibernation!!

All my girls are experiencing a taste of your weather as they're together for a sister weekend in Holland! What a time to go!! :)

Have fun cuddling--;)

Mrs. M. said...

btw, the skewers given to me from Istanbul come to good use even in FL--we do smores often this time of year with friends of ours and the girls'!

...and I think of you and Don with each use!

Ruth said...

I don't know how you live in the heat in FL, Mrs. M., and I know you want to move back up north eventually. In fact the time is passing so quickly as the girls grow up.

Great fun for the girls to be together this weekend! Quite a c-c-c-c-cold one they picked!

I love to hear that you use the skewers! And what a great idea to skewer marshmallows. :)

Kerri said...

Lovely series of shots Ruth! Bishop looks like a sweetie!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Kerri. Bishop is the best cat ever. She is the perfect balance of elegance and sweetness.

Astrid said...

This is some nice story about 'just keeping the cold out' love it, we hardly get this kind of weather in Holland, if we would....I think 'we' are in trouble. The pictures are really nice again so is the layout, I can tell you have fun doing this, for me it is a joy for the eye, have a nice 'warm' day Ruth.

SwedeHart said...


Ginnie said...

Firefox does not like your layout, Ruth, and that upsets me every time because I know you spend time on it. I will see if I can open it better in IE. In the meantime, I have seen enough to know that you are the artist Astrid sees (she is one, too!). I often am envious that YOU picked your blue background first because it does so well for your photos. I love these stories of your everyday life. And I'm so glad Don is starting to get back to some semblance of normal!

Ruth said...

Thanks for the kind words about the layout, Astrid. I do enjoy working it out. (Too bad Ginnie can't view it in Firefox.) You always have quite amazing collages, so I appreciate it. :)

I love winter, and I would miss the four seasons if I had to live in a warm climate. But if you're not prepared for the cold, it would be miserable.

Ruth said...

Swedehart, yes, but inside mmmmm.

Ruth said...

Boots, I'm sorry about Firefox. I hope you're able to view it properly in IE. Yes, I'm happy with the blue background too, thanks.

alice said...

A warm house, with a fireplace, a stock of logs, a cat and two arms working well again...close to perfection in winter, don't you think so?

Rauf said...

Lovely picture of Bishop.

Winter looks lovely in the pictures Ruth. Thank goodness i am only looking at the pictures.

Like birds i would migrate.
i will not fight the winter. i can't afford to fight.

i have problems with Firefox.
Firefox has problems with me.

Ruth said...

Thanks, rauf, I'm glad you like looking at winter, at least.

I found when we lived in a warm climate (Pasadena, CA) for 5 years, where the kids were born, that I missed the four seasons of the Midwest too much. We had the mountains with snow, but that wasn't the same. There is something about this deep cold and dormancy that is built into my psyche, and it craves it if I don't have it.

'JoAnn's-Digital-Eyes' said...

Wow Ruth,
What a very nice post almost if we/I am walking beside you or just looking over your shoulder... welldone and so sweet is you catty-pooops.:)I love him/her Miaauww!

Perhaps you like to see my video and also skideshow of FROSTNature in combination with music... well I had plenty of time (having the flu) so better doing sommething creative eh?

Have a nice week :)

Ruth said...

Thanks for your visit, JoAnn. Yes, Bishop is a sweet kitty. And thanks for the invite!

gaz said...

i absolutely love the light through those slats - it's an awesome photo.
i didn't even realise this blog existed till i picked up the link on flying.

Ruth said...

Hi, Gaz, welcome to this one. :)

I really love that corncrib for the reason you said. You probably know it, but they space the boards that way so the corn can dry.

Glad you came over here.

DrowseyMonkey said...

oh my gosh...bishop is adorable!

Love the photos...but I'm glad we don't have snow here!

Kalyan said...

WoW...some very beautifully captured shots here...we too are having an onslaught of the late winters here with light drizzle outside & we are also just hibernating!

Ruth said...

Drowsey, I think you would love Bishop, you can't help it. She is an elegant soul.

Ruth said...

That's good, Kalyan, I hope you get all the rain you need during the winter season. It's a great time to stay in and read, write and blog.

mystic rose said...

that wood stove looks wonderful

Ruth said...

I love this little stove, Mystic. And I love feeding it.

Peter said...

I love this post! Winter on the farm.