Cider Press Hill

Well, I dunno...

Sunday, 7:26 pm

By Kate




clear night

I’ve been casting about for an idea to keep the heat downstairs while the wood stove is burning this winter. I’ve actually tried a couple of things in the last couple of years, but nothing that worked spectacularly well. And then one of the people on the 90% mailing list mentioned using quilts as insulation to keep cold out and heat in. Now that was an idea, I thought.

So...I asked if anyone on Freecycle had a queen size quilt with red and green being the predominant colors. Turns out someone did. A brand new one that an in-law had given for Christmas and she utterly hated it. Hadn’t even taken it out of the package yet. All mine if I wanted it.

I picked it up today and, well, it’s got red and green in it. And a lot of brown paisley and other antique-y colors. It’s okay, but not something I’d go out and buy, either. Can’t argue with free, though. The quilt turned out to be the absolute perfect size—86” x 90”.

Off I went to Home Depot to find a dowel or some such device on which to hang the quilt. I found an 8 foot closet rod pole. A designer one, even. And then I found the rings from which to hang the quilt and the little brackets for the rod. Brought it all home and cut the rod to size and drilled the holes and affixed the brackets to the wall. For some reason nothing went wrong. Imagine that.

So, anyway. I now have the quilt hung and I’ve been standing back looking at it and I’m not sure that I like it. I think the idea has a lot of merit, but I haven’t talked myself into liking the quilt yet. It does sort of fight with my arts and crafts style stained glass lamp shades. (I think the lamp on the desk has to find a new home, too, if the quilt stays.) I could turn the quilt around—it’s a plain cream color on the back. Or I might get used to the front side.

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I suppose that before I decide the quilt’s fate, I should try it out first. There is about a 6 inch gap between the top of the quilt and the ceiling. That’s more than enough to let some heat upstairs. I would like a little bit to go upstairs, but not an entire roomful all at once. This should work.

I had thought I might start a fire tonight, but I’m not cold. That’s a borderline miracle since the house is only 66° and it’s only 45° outside. Drilling holes and hanging hardware and quilts must be warm work. 


And the chimney sweep said...

Friday, 3:54 pm

By Kate





The verdict is in!

The chimney sweep announced that my chimney and liner are in great shape and, now, as slick as a whistle. He said I’m good to go for about two years. I apparently practice good wood stove hygiene.

And he managed to tear my stove pipe apart without a crumb of soot escaping. He did a great job!

I am SO relieved!

Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy.

red balloongreen balloonblue balloonred balloongreen balloonblue balloonred balloongreen balloonblue balloonred balloongreen balloonblue balloon


And it begins

Thursday, 8:38 pm

By Kate




clear night

I am freezing! My body literally began shivering a little while ago—I knew it was time to pull out the fuzzy socks and my fuzzy sweatshirt. And it’s only 55 degrees out! But the house is 68 degrees and, after several months of it being in the upper 70’s to mid 80s in here, that’s cold. And gonna get colder. I’m not turning on the furnace and I can’t fire up the stove yet and don’t want to, anyway. I should be well conditioned by the time the end of October rolls around.

This evening I spoke with two chimney sweeps. I don’t dare start a fire in the stove until that’s been completed. It was a surprise to me when they both said they could come out sometime late next week. Last year when I called in August, they were booked solid through the middle of November. One of the sweeps started making noises about the possibility of finding damage requiring a new chimney liner. Yes, I know that is always a possibility. I’ve had to replace a chimney liner before and let me tell you it isn’t cheap. So, I’d really rather not think about that right now.

On the other hand, I had an incident in March that made me wonder. There was nothing that overtly suggested a chimney fire, but there was a sudden and loud blowback into the wood stove one night. That could have been strong wind catching the chimney at just the right angle, but it’s also something that happens with a chimney fire. You’d think I’d know if there was one, but I guess that’s not always the case. It could have left a damaged chimney liner with little fanfare.

The other chimney sweep said he’d be happy to come out and do the job without elaborating on all the possibilities. Now, I know that if he found anything dangerous, he’d tell me, but he wasn’t into (gleefully) telling me all the horrible things he might (and hoped to) find. I think I’ll choose chimney sweep number two and keep my fingers crossed.


Oh my

Wednesday, 8:56 am

By Kate





Well, my woodpile arrived in the driveway this morning. It does seem rather large, doesn’t it?

My wood guy is a large man—tall, and muscular. He shaves his head and wears a gold earring. He reminds me of a latter day pirate. Or, I could easily see him on a huge Harley with his leathers on. A couple of years ago, he showed up wearing a red bandanna on his head and all he really needed was a parrot on his shoulder. He’s a good looking man, but gruff and a little prickly.

Today he brought his 10 year old daughter with him. She was in the truck’s cab with her nose deeply entrenched in a book. She’s an absolutely gorgeous child.

“Is that your daughter?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

“She’s beautiful,” I said.

His face broke out into the biggest smile. “Oh, she’s the light of my life!”

The transformation was astonishing. Every vestige of gruffness was instantly gone. His eyes shined. He looked every inch the proud papa.

That just made my day. I’m still smiling. Probably will all day.


Lad home, wood ordered

Monday, 4:47 pm

By Kate





The lad is home and sorting through his belongings. He said he’s taking about half the stuff that he took last year. Per my request, he’s sorting through now before I fire up the washing machine. I’d like to have this all taken care of before Wednesday because....

I talked with my wood guy this afternoon and, after settling on a price, we agreed to a Wednesday morning delivery. I’m getting 3 cords of wood at $265 per cord. That’s just a tinge less than last year.

When I decided on 3 cords, my recollection was that I’d purchased 2.5 cords last year, which didn’t quite last through March. Boy, was my recollection mistaken. I dug out the receipt and I’d only bought 1.5 cords. I had about a half of a cord already on hand from the previous year. So, in a couple of days, I’m going to be swimming in so much wood that I have no idea where I’m going to stack it all. But, one thing is for sure: I won’t run out of wood this winter. I should have a fair start on next winter, in fact.

Once nice thing about a wood’s never money wasted. And I would rather have more than not enough.

On Wednesday, the lad will help me stack wood. We should be able to get at least a cord stacked by the end of the day, but I hope for rather more than that. When he leaves on Thursday, I hope to see a very small pile left to stack.


My little furnace

Tuesday, 11:34 am

By Kate





Since I go on so much about my wood stove, today seemed like a good day for taking a couple of pictures showing why I love it so much. It’s a lot prettier to look at than the hot water baseboards. It keeps my house around 72° and I’m not hyperventilating about the gas bill.

Here we have a stove full of nearly white hot coals. Still throwing off a blast of heat, but it’s time to throw a couple more logs in.

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About three minutes later, we have a cheerful and crackling fire. These three hunks of wood will heat my entire house for about 4 hours. They usually last longer, but it’s only 6°F outside and the wind is still howling fiercely. Brrr!

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