Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day

With temperatures at about zero overnight and daytime highs approaching 20F, keeping a house warm isn't easy. This is the time of year when firewood is consumed at an alarming rate, and you hope that you've got enough to last the winter. There's a saying out there and I don't know exactly how it goes, but the gist of it is that you should have gone through half your firewood by Groundhog Day. By that formula I will burn about a cord and a half to heat our house this winter. It's hard to believe that we have to have a conversation about whether or not to light a fire in the stove on a night with a temperature near zero. But after a string of cold sunny days of pumping solar heat into the slab, it's really not worth it to start a fire when the sun goes down. A little fire first thing in the morning will quickly warm the house when the kids are getting ready to go off to school, and then the sun will take over. Yesterday, I spent an enjoyable few hours cutting and splitting red oak for future winter's use, enough to heat our house into January. So not only am I saving trees from going up the chimney, I'm saving time. Less time operating a chain saw, more time on the couch with a book.

Hazel and I took a trip into Ellsworth today to buy everything we need to start seeds inside with lights. Our garden is going to hit the ground running this year. The chickens are laying more consistently now. Average of about 6 a day. One project on my list this summer is to build a greenhouse off the south side of the barn. It would give the chickens a warm place to run around in the coldest months of winter, and chicken manure fortified soil for spring, summer and fall growing. I could even grow a cover crop in there as winter forage.

1 comment:

Gramma Jean said...

Hi Michael, I've enjoyed the pictures of the floor. Would you ask Michelle to put up a picture of the girl's floor also? Jean