Quotes I like:

“Not all those who wander are lost.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Burn Baby Burn

Several years ago there were a number of programs on PBS which involved modern day families living life as they did in the "olden days".  As I recall there was one about living in Victorian times and one about living during the pioneer days.  The families had to live exactly as they did in the time period they were recreating which meant no modern conveniences.  The families had to actually cook their own food (including grow/raise it for the prairie families) and boil water to wash their clothes. There was no cheating allowed. Life was tough for these guys with no internet, tv, cell phones, ipods, etc. and made tougher having to cook everything from scratch, wash clothes outside, bathe in bath water shared by several and wear a corset while doing so. If I put on some spanks, I am there.

I think I am living in the 1930's house.  One of the family members here has gone off to war, there are farm animals in the barn which need tended, we scrimp as much as possible as we are in the midst of a severe recession and we heat with a wood stove.  I am in charge of the heat.  This is no small task.  It started out with the realization that in early fall there was no stockpile of firewood.  Of course my first thought was to call the firewood man and have him deliver loads of wood to the house, but that is not the case here in the country.  Besides in the midst of a d(r)ecession that would have cost too much. (oh, I forgot we are in the 1930's house-no cheating!)  We had to cut, split and stack the wood in the basement.  Luckily farm families are close and we had help of relatives to do this work.  It took three or four days and several cases of beer to haul wood to the splitter then from the woods to the house, dump it on the ground, toss it through the basement window and then stack it in the basement.  This was really hard work.  The good news it that I have lost 10 lbs since coming to work on the farm. Of course my hands look like a farmers--where is that bag balm??

Once the cold weather arrived (shortly after we had the wood stacked) it was time to build a fire and keep it going.  Now I know what they meant when they said "keep the homefires burning" as I do it every day. I feel just like Freddie Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street as I trudge into the basement several times a day, open the door to the burning inferno and throw in more wood.  No one likes to go into the basement so that makes it a little more creepy. 

Regulating the temperature is tricky as best.  Most days I am sweating and peeling off clothes and that's just the menopause! The excessive heat from the wood burner doesn't help.  The thermostat works like this:  too hot?  open some windows-- too cold? throw more wood on the fire.   It took me awhile to learn how to make the fire last all night.  I draw the line at getting up in the middle of the night to put on more wood.  I will literally lie shivering under the covers and praying for morning before I get up and go down to put on more firewood. Just one of my quirks but I am highly adverse to getting out bed into the cold. I did finally find that piling as much wood as possible into the stove and closing the damper part way will just about get us through a night.  I am able to come down in the morning to some fairly substantial embers and add more wood without having to go through the whole fire starting thing again.

Well gotta go let the bread raise. I'm ready for PBS as soon as they show up with the cameras!

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