Wednesday, February 2, 2011

miracle of wood heat

I don't know that I've ever been in cold like this.

Thermometer on the porch is reading -19°F. It only goes down to -30, which we might hit after nightfall. The windchill was supposed to be -40. I have about two days' worth of wood stacked on the porch. Inside the cabin, the woodstove is keeping the livingroom at about a cheery 60°. Not too bad, considering that the gas is out in our whole town. Our tiny furnace is hardly more than an oversized space heater. Never enough to heat the house by itself, it could still take the chill off and bring us up about five more degrees. I still have fuel for the kerosene heater, which I haven't lit yet, as well. Maybe I'll make some bread in the electric oven to get a little more heat that way, too.

The dogs are so much like little children, the older one copying me and the puppy copying T. The older dog will come inside when she's cold; she's made it a point to be outside doing her business for as few seconds as possible. The younger one, just like T, doesn't seem to notice how cold she is. She just wants to be where I am. She'll come out and frolic in the snow with me, steal sticks from my kindling pile, and generally ignore the temperature until all of a sudden she's really cold. Have to keep an eye on her. I wonder about getting them dog sweaters. Stupid as a fashion statement, they'd be practical if ever I wanted -- or needed -- to bring them on a hike with me in weather like this.

We have a new cat, the first cat I've owned since childhood. He's quite antisocial. Spending most of his days hiding under the couch, he comes out occasionally to bother the dogs and eat pieces of plastic. If he keeps attacking the puppy unprovoked, he's going to find himself locked outside with the cold and the foxes to fend for himself.

Work is canceled due to weather, as are most of my volunteer hobbies. The fire department is on standby, expecting to shelter residents affected by the extreme cold and lack of utilities. But so far, we haven't had any takers. Everyone up here on the mountain seems pretty self-sufficient. I wonder at what sort of panic might ensue if the folks down in Colorado Springs lost the utility umbilical cord to their furnaces in weather like this. Meanwhile, tendrils of woodsmoke curl up from my neighbors' stovepipes. An excuse to stay home, tend the fire, make cocoa, and catch up on reading isn't really so bad.


  1. Good luck with you cat. I think every house hold needs at least one cat, perferably two. Just as every household needs two dogs. :)


  2. We had a winter like you are having a couple of years ago. We had 124 inches of snow. Spokane closed down. Of course, I promptly slipped on ice, broke my arm and had to wait 4 days before it could be surgically put back together again. Not so bad this year. We are hoping to get a wood stove in the near future. We also are trying to be as self sufficient as possible.

  3. I like the visual image of smoke curling out of your neighbors'stovepipes. We're single digits tonight and really can't afford to get the temp. over 65 degrees. Chili for dinner. The plow just went through so I'll probably have to go to work tomorrow. Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your library thing, by the way. Nice to see someone's reading more than just paranormal fantasy. Though I understand the attraction. I probably should follow someone who also has chickens...

  4. Thanks for the comments, all! I'm trying to make an effort to be more visual, but I think it must use a different part of my brain, because it's so difficult -- especially when I've been thinking in how-to-manual mode for so long.

    Glad you liked my LibraryThing also. Do you have one?

  5. Sorry to post this non sequitur-type comment here, but I wanted to respond to the comment you left on my blog re: this post:

    First, thanks for your interest in my drawing.

    You asked if you could get permission to use it on shirts for your chapter of Iraq Veterans Against War. I have no problem with that. Just make sure I get the proper credit, i.e. copyright line, and a couple of shirts (size large) once you've printed them. Also, it should be understood that this is not an exclusive grant of rights for use, and it is not in perpetuity. In other words, in the unlikely event that someone else wanted to use the art for something, I could grant them that right... and at some point if I wanted you to stop using it, I would have that right (exercised by telling you to stop using it).

    And I think that's all. If you want to communicate about this further via email, you can contact me at -- PL

  6. Sounds like you're gonna have a little relaxing vacation. Watch the snow, curl up by the fire with a book, lovable pets to keep you company... Nice.

  7. Brrrr.... Though in a strange way I envy you! We are having unseasonably dry weather here on the Oregon coast. Makes me nervous! I can just see your puppy romping in the snow... Ours goes through the mud holes like a 4-wheel drive rig, spreading it every where!