Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Walking in the rain

Linda and I returned from our nightly walk a little while ago. I wrote "nightly walk" but truthfully we very rarely walk in the rain as we did this evening. And we almost never walk when there's too much danger of icy sidewalks and streets. But tonight we broke all the usual rules.

On the way back we ran into one of our neighbors and learned that we're not quite so virtuous as we thought we were. We've been keeping the thermostat set at 66 degrees, although sometimes it creeps up to 68 or even 70. It turns out this neighbor keeps their house at 61 degrees, and she said her sister keeps her house at 55 degrees. That's impressive. On a twenty degree night like tonight our woodstove comes very close to keeping the house in the 60s all by itself when I feed it every few hours. And that's without running it seriously hot the way I used to do occasionally back in the day on truly bitter cold nights.

55 degrees! That's serious hair shirt style self denial. You can let Al Gore know from me that the polar bears will all be treading water and the rising ocean will be lapping at the twentieth floors of the buildings down in Philly before we turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees.

We're all done with the poplar from the big tree near the house, which is just as well. Poplar is okay for moderate weather; but it burns up too fast if I run the stove the way I need to for freezing nights. Way back when before we knew better Pop had me cut up and split a big willow that had fallen over behind the springhouse. Talk about a waste of effort. That willow was about as light as balsa wood once it was dry. Pop burned it up; but it almost wasn't worth the effort of putting it into the woodstove. Of course, him and Mom really used their woodstove only to make it toasty warm in the living room since the air couldn't really circulate out of that room at any great rate.

Recently we've been burning the ash from the big limb that fell down and made a six foot high bridge across the driveway a couple of years ago. After that we'll get into the walnut from the tree Alex cut down to get a big enough piece of heartwood to carve his last year's Christmas gift for Christina. And then I have a bunch of apple, maple, cherry and walnut from the smaller trees I thinned out of the woods last year over on the other side of the property.

All in all I still have about two cords of good well dried hardwood stacked out there near the house. And I have another half cord of cured small stuff over on the other side of the property that I'll be bringing over a bit at a time with the tractor on weekends when the ground is frozen.

I already have a couple of cords worth of maple and cherry rounds to split for next winter from the leaning trees that were near the driveway. And I have my eye on the oak grove back of the house. There are a couple of smaller trees in that grove that should be thinned out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stop thinning the damn oak grove in back of the house! The neighbors are already peering in like kids in the back alley of a burlesque theater! Some of those damn kids even take short cuts through the openings that you've made in the brush. You're ruining the backwoods serenity that your house is glorified for!