Friday, December 7, 2012


After a couple days of rain, it was great to see blue sky yesterday morning.  Starting chores for the day included throwing down birdseed and letting the chickens out of their coop.  As I turned to latch the gate, I noticed a new member of the flock.  A young turkey hen was saying, "Buck, buck, buck," hoping to remain incognito and have a little chicken scratch for breakfast.  Notoriously skittish, I'm always amazed at how tame wild turkeys become when food is involved.

My joy at seeing sunshine was short lived.  Before I finished milking, fog crept in and blotted out the blue sky.  Anticipating a warm day, I had not lit a fire in the wood stove before leaving the house.  Big mistake.  Had I put a log in the hot coals from the night's fire first thing, I would have come back to the comfort of a warm room.  The problem is this:  the wood I am using now is the heavy, dense oak from the old tree down in the goat pen.  I do not have any kindling.  It takes forever and many false starts to get the logs to catch fire when the stove is cold.  My particular stove has two doors and three vents.  Wood is loaded from the side; the glass door is to watch the fire.  Once I start the process, I cannot leave the room.  It's a complicated procedure of opening two vents, maybe three, lighting the fire-starter blocks, waiting to see if it catches, then if all goes well, shutting all but the small lowest vent.  This is because when/if it gets going good, the blaze will go up the chimney flue and the heat will start the draw to keep the fire going.  If I'm not there to watch, the draw can become so great that it pulls the fire up and could start a chimney fire, something to fear.

I fought with that fire most of the day, watching it catch, then go out, catch, go out.  In the meantime the fog got thicker outside and a damp chill crept in.  I added a jacket to my attire.  By bedtime, the house was finally warm.  I had to shut down the stove for the night.  Arrgh.

The sun is just coming up and the sky looks blue.  I've got to go light a fire.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Argghh is right! You pioneer women are tough! I wish you cozy warmth from this day forward...all winter long and into spring as long as you need it, with no more cold ashes!