Early Spring Sunrise Snow on the Silo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Involuntary Hiatus and other January Excitement

So...........where to start. I was MIA for two weeks because my poor old computer finally succumbed to the abuse that Boogie has (literally) dumped on it for the past few years. The power switch had broken and the motherboard was fried. I had just replaced the monitor he dropped with a used unit I found on a local Craigslist style board and was able to get a refurbished computer from the same guy. He also transferred over all my data, which was very helpful and very reasonably priced. Once I can finally get high speed internet I will consider a bigger, better, faster computer, but for now it wouldn't make any difference with my dial up connection.

I am helping a friend with a dairy get through her kidding season and somehow managed to bring home two misfit kids. One brown doe was stepped on and has some issues getting around. She is doing just fine now and has a great appetite.

The white doe was chilled and is having issues with regulating her temperature and taking a bottle. Keeping them in a box in my warm bedroom has helped immensely. I've been tube feeding her and didn't have much hope but today she took a few tentative sips from the bottle and still continues to stand and be alert and happy. Only time will tell if she will make it, but I am cautiously optimistic at this time.
I am lucky to have a great little helper!

Yesterday, the chimney from the wood stove, the heat exchanger actually, got clogged from a build up of creosote and ash.

If I tried to open the door to add wood, smoke just billowed into the house, another draw back of having a wood stove in the house. I had to let the fire burn out, take apart the chimney and clean up all the build up that was restricting the flow of smoke to the main chimney.

After putting the chimney back in place, I cleaned out the fire box. The fire wasn't actually out, there were a lot of banked coals, but I did dig out the ash built up towards the back of the stove which gives me a lot more space for wood now. Having a nice bed of coals left helped to get a new fire burning right away.

It was down to 55 degrees in the living room this morning, but I was able to keep the bedroom nice and toasty for Boogie and I by running the propane heater intermittently in there through the night.

The Boogie-monster did have commentary when he came downstairs just after I finished loading the fire box - BRRRRRRRR Mommie! It wasn't long before the temperature was well into the 60's and all is well. I have to say that I am strangely lucky, despite the fact that this is all a lot of work and a pain the the butt. It just happens that this is the warmest stretch of weather we have had in about a month, it could have been much worse during the sub zero temperatures we had just last week.

We will be spending another afternoon at the dairy, and I imagine I'll end up with one or two more little goats before it is all over.
I need to get out and get some chores done, but I am really enjoying the heat from the wood stove right now!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Handy, Dandy, Quick, Cheap and Easy Fire Starters!

There is nothing better then wood heat and the dogs certainly love sleeping by the wood stove. No matter if wood is your primary source of heat, supplemental or just a cozy fire now and again, getting the darn thing started can be a challenge.
Try these home made fire starters, they are quick and easy to make and they work really well.

All you need is a cardboard egg carton, wood shavings and some paraffin. Here I am using pine bedding, but any bedding or sawdust will work. I'm also sure you noticed my wax is red. It is cheese wax that I found on Freecycle, but canning paraffin, beeswax or even old candles will work.

While you are melting your paraffin, discard the top of the egg carton and fill the cups with wood chips.
Pour the heated paraffin over the shavings to fill the cells, tapping gently.

Allow the wax to cool then break into individual cups.
When you are ready to use, just light the paper cup and place with your kindling.
They will continue to burn long enough to get your fire going.
For a pretty starter, wrap a pine cone with candle wick and dip that in paraffin.

Boogie has been helping with my knitting, here he models a Moebius Cowl that I made for myself. Visit my Hyena Cart if you want me to knit one for you!
Cowls, scarves and hats can be hand knit to order.
We are expecting the temperature to drop again this weekend, so enjoy your wood fire and get some knitting done (or at least wear something hand knit ;-).

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Boog and I spent a very uneventful New Years Eve. We had sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls for dinner with popcorn for a snack later. He managed to stay up until the ball drop in New York but then asked to go to bed. He climbed in with me about 6am and then slept until nearly 10am.

Boogie and his last mess of 2011!
He and I spent part of the day today taking down the last tree and trying to cut down the drafts from this wicked WSW wind. The weather went from the 40s yesterday to the 'teens with bitter wind today. What a way to start out the year.He can be quite the character!

Made venison and rice stew, bread and brownies on the wood stove since we had it cranked all day today.
I'm not really one for resolutions, I wake up with new ones every day, but I do wish all my friends and family a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011