Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Today is the first day of winter and tonight is the longest night of the year. It’s sunny out today with an actual temp of -11 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind chill temperature (meaning when the wind blows this is what it feels like on the skin) of -30 degrees! I’ve already been out to the barn to feed the chickens, geese, barn cats and the four mares we overnight inside (Bentley, Windy, Kisses and Elly). I guess my acclimatization has already begun because I thought “this isn’t so cold,” as I walked to the barn at 6:30 a.m.

We’re cozy in the house’s main living area, but Ian’s going to spend today getting a different propane stove hooked up in the kitchen area. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we bought a propane stove and tank from a friend thinking when we installed it in the basement connecting its stack to the chimney it would kick out enough heat to warm that frigid space and the rising heat would make the kitchen area (still under major renovation) livable. Well, not so much. I’m not sure what the problem is, but the stove never functioned above a low flame and burned through a 100-gallon tank of propane in five days at that low setting. Yikes! So, we’ve moved to plan B. Ian bought a vent-free (propane) gas space heater that he is installing on the north kitchen wall where it connects to the outside tank. I’ll be glad when that baby is fired up.

Ian is also working on rerouting bathroom water pipes that have a habit of freezing. He’s about halfway through with this job. With those pipes redone and the new heater fired up, we should be great for the rest of the winter. I just keep thinking how lovely everything will be when it’s all finished!

Our snowplow guy, Chris, just arrived. He always does such a good job moving the snow from the driveway, the house door and in front of the barn so we have access to everywhere we need to go.

The horses are happily eating one of the 1600-pound round bales of hay we roll into the pasture. They also have warmed water to drink from two 100-gallon tanks. There’s also a deep, south-facing shelter that allows them all to get out of the wind. We place the hay bales on the south side of the barn so it acts as a wind break from the bitter north wind too.

Ian gets to work from home now until the first full week of January 2009, which saves a daily three-hour commute. I work tomorrow at the post office and on Saturday the 27th I will deliver mail as a substitute carrier on route 4, which is the route we live on. When I delivered this route on the 17th, it took me 10 hours, which is twice as long as it takes the route’s regular carrier. OK, so being a rural mail carrier is not one of my strengths. LOL


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