Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Back in the house

Happy December! We relocated the trailer just after the Fourth of July weekend so that major renovation work could be done in the house. We moved back into the house Sunday. Almost six months! Mind you, the trailer has many creature comforts, and we function well in close quarters, but it is really nice to be back in our house. The corn stove is blazing away chasing the chill from the house. It’s 60 degrees and slowly climbing. The house is far from airtight, in fact depending on where you stand, it has its drafts, but we’re addressing these. Some things won’t get better until they’re replaced, like the windows and doors.

For the moment, the corn stove, which burns dried corn kernels called “pellets”, is our only source of heat. It costs is $6/day to heat the house and we buy our pellets from a local farmer. If we used propane, it would cost between $18 and $20/day. Later in the winter, we will supplement with propane, but the idea is to use corn for 90% of our winter heat needs. The Minnesota heating season runs from October through May, with December to March being the coldest of those months.

The new living room/dining room sub-floor is installed (including the in-floor heating system – although it’s not operational yet) and it’s very sturdy and level. In coming weeks, we’ll install a new staircase to upstairs, put cement board over the new sub-floor and then lay ceramic tile. Knowing that work still needs to be done, we’re only occupying the dining-room half of the house. Finishing the kitchen – tiling, installing appliances and drawers – is also on the To Do list. Ian does all this work himself!

The next time we expect to spend significant time in the trailer is when we go to Scottsdale, Arizona in February for the big Arabian horse show.

On Saturday afternoon, the first snow of the season fell, about five inches. For some reason, the snowplow guy we had for the last two seasons did not come and plow us out this year. Frustrating, because we didn’t have any prior warning. Thankfully, we have 4-wheel drive trucks and can get in and out of our driveway with relative ease. We do have a snow blade attachment for our brush mover and Ian plans to move the accumulated snow with that sometime soon. Three to five inches of snow is predicted for later today. We’ll find another plow person, as it’s important to keep our driveway and area outside the barn clear.

Now, the only stored boxes that are priority to get from the garage are the Christmas tree and its ornaments. We also bought a lighted horse yard ornament that will need to be set out soon too.

The animals are all well. It was fun to turn the weanlings out to the fresh snow – their first! They snorted suspiciously, stepped gingerly, then pranced, kicked, bucked and ran the length of their pasture – really pretty! The chicken stick to the barn area, the hens are still laying and the two roosters cock-a-doodle-do and square off once in a while, with the larger, more majestic brother winning most bouts. Tiger is the sole house cat now, with Tonic and Zeus living in the barn again. These two “auditioned” all summer to be house cats, crawling into the house through the open floorboards. Lady is happy – but what Lab-mix dog isn’t happy more often than not?


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