I Really Dislike Ice!

Do you need to ask “why”?  After spending a great deal of time shoveling ice from the sidewalk and walkways,  Ben and I spent over an hour applying 200 pounds of rock salt to the driveway yesterday.  It really isn’t that great of a task, but the ice was shimmering like a lake in the summer sun!

At one point, Ben lost his footing.  He had just placed a 50 pound bag of salt into a 5 gallon bucket.  He didn’t fall, but just slid down the driveway, as though in slow motion.  I stood and watched, and since he was semi-smiling, I burst into laughter.  Just then, the 5 gallon bucket of rock salt slowly followed down after him…

This morning, I was awakened to howling winds….it was gusting like crazy outside.  I took the Scotties down and outside, and was happy to see that there was about 2 inches of freshly fallen snow covering all the ice!  The rock salt we had applied yesterday caused the ice to break up some and now it is safe to actually walk and drive on the driveway.   With the wind, however, the temperatures have dropped down a bit and it feels so cold out there!

I came in after taking the “boys” out and was sitting on the couch.  Suddenly, I heard a strange sound.  It sounded like someone was upstairs in the bedroom, moving around.  Since I was the only one awake at the time, and the Scotties were both sitting by my feet, it really did seem startling.

As I was puzzled by the noise, I looked up and saw a fat little rodent run past the window on the porch…. 

Aha! A squirrel was investigating the electric outlet on the porch! What on earth was it thinking?  Perhaps it thought it might have hidden some grub in there, as the box has a cover on it!  Very strange, indeed!

We have been getting squalls of snow on and off throughout the day, mostly this morning.  At one point, the snow was actually falling horizontally! I tried to photograph it, and if you click twice on this photo, you can see it actually snowing from left to right!!!

Well, ice, snow, whatever….

THIS is my friend who keeps us toasty no matter *what* the weather serves up!

I was thinking about some of the questions people have asked me about burning firewood.  One of the most common is, isn’t it a lot of work to get firewood?  Well, living on a 20 acre “woodlot” with trees falling up in the woods rather frequently, the answer is “no!”.  The fact that we can haul the wood after cutting in a wagon attached to the ATV makes for very easy gathering.  Oh sure, it takes maybe 30 wagonloads or so, but that is nothing!

People also comment that they have heard burning wood is “dirty”, as in getting wood chips all over the house.  Well, yes, bringing wood in the house does mean some wood chips will likely scatter here and there, but they can be vacuumed up so easily. 

Our particular stove can operate for about three days in heavy use before the ash pan needs to be emptied.  I generally let the stove die down and don’t reload again after about 8 or 9 pm.  When I get up in the morning, if the ash pan needs to be tended to, I take it out and dump the ashes in our stream.  If we had a compost pile, I suppose they might be good on that?  Not sure.  Emptying the ash pan isn’t dirty at all. Unless one dropped it! (never have!)

As far as burning firewood, all stoves manufactured after the 90’s had some strict guidelines for manufacturers, and the amount of emissions has to be according to specs.  This means that today’s stoves burn pretty clean. 

Stove safety is always an area of concern as well. We had our stove a few years when a neighbor brought us a couple of cords of firewood that had been sitting around for a few years. Oops! We had NO idea that burning “overly” seasoned wood could be dangerous!  I had only put a few pieces (I typically burn 3 pieces at a time) of the wood in the stove when it began glowing orange on the back!  We found out from calling the manufacturer that we had overfired the stove!  They graciously sent us a new back, although there was nothing functionally wrong with the old piece!

I guess my best piece of advice would be that you get what you pay for regarding woodstoves, so I would never be inclined to buy a cheap stove.  Better to consider it an investement. We love out Jotul cast iron stove. It has a catalytic converter, which helps the stove burn hotter and cleaner.  The converter does need to be replaced after a few seasons, but we just consider it part of maintenance.

The amount of heat given off by just a few pieces of wood is amazing.  Even if one needed to buy firewood, which is available from many loggers,  the warmth and atmosphere is incredible! The fact that one would never need to leave home from lack of heat makes a woodstove a worthy investment! We can also cook on our model, if we needed to.

So, there you have it! The ice and cold weather has surely made me count my blessings, and the woodstove s a BIG one!