A Cold House and Wet Weather

Tarp on a woodpile
A tarp is useful to keep water, ice and snow off firewood.

When we got home after our unexpected road trip, the house was chilly.  I lit a fire in the wood stove and the temperature crept up from 60 to 68°F before I went to bed.  But that’s the air temperature. The walls are still cold, and so were the sheets.  The floor is also cold, especially in the basement.  It will take a couple of days for the stove to drive the cold out of the rock, cement, and wood that make up our log home.

We’re experiencing some much-needed rain, so I brought more firewood inside to keep it dry.  My wife thought I carried in too much, but I told there is no such thing. Besides, it finished off one of our firewood piles.  I couldn’t leave just a dozen or two pieces out there.

The tarp we used on that pile was transferred to the stack of wood we will burn in January.  I like to tarp the wood a month ahead of time to ensure it stays as dry as possible during the heating season.  For those not in the know, dry seasoned wood burns more cleanly and efficiently and is easier to light than wet wood. Wood covered in snow or ice after a storm is even worse than damp wood, as you might expect.

A damp, wet day will make it feel colder. A wood fire is an excellent antidote.

Sleep Habits

I am a night owl, and while a good portion of my waking hours overlap traditional business hours, I usually don’t go to bed until at least 2 a.m.  I try not to schedule appointments or meetings before 11 a.m. Boy, did that get screwed on our recent trip as I had to conform to everyone else’s schedule.

Each day I was away, I found myself forced to get up earlier until I was not only awake but showered and ready at 8 a.m.   Now it is 11 p.m. and I am yawning.  Normally, I would just be hitting my stride about now.  It’s going to take me a while to get back on schedule.

I also missed taking an occasional afternoon nap.  I guess I didn’t realize how good I had it until l was forced to re-adopt traditional “business hours.”

After spending 35 years getting up and going to work on time, I feel entitled to my sleeping habits.  If you can’t sleep late during semi-retirement, when can you?

For those who think farmers have to wake up early, that’s a choice they make to optimize daylight hours.  Maybe I would feel differently if I had dairy cows, but my chickens don’t care if they eat at 7 a.m. or 10 a.m., as long as they get fed consistently.  Heck, on the colder days, I think they like to sleep in a bit to stay warm inside the coop.  I know I do!

The Chicken Sitters

The neighbors from a couple of hollows over who took care of the chickens in our absence did a good job.  They have chickens, so they knew what they were doing.  I expect driving over here took more time than feeding them did. We will reciprocate, of course, whenever necessary.  I already volunteered my wife to help them weed their garden next year, but I don’t think they’ll take us up on it.  (For some reason, my wife likes to weed.  I think it must be some Zen thing.)

I can leave my chickens overnight, but if I am gone too long, they will run out of water, which will kill them.  They can drink an impressive amount of water, especially on warm days.  And then there are the chickens that step into the water tub and foul the water. (Or is that fowl the water?)  In any case, tehri water needs to be changed at least once a day, more when it freezes over.


I stopped by the bank yesterday to deposit a check, and I went indoors to see a teller because I wanted cash back.  She verified my ID and then spent a good three minutes typing on her computer while I twiddled my thumbs.  I could not see her screen, but it looked like she was scrolling back through my banking history.  Now I deposit a similar check every quarter, but I usually use the ATM.  Even before depositing this check, I had more than enough funds in the account to cover the cash back portion, so there was no liability issue for the bank. 

I waited for her to ask a question, but she never did.  She just looked at her computer screen and hit the arrow keys.  Eventually, she proceeded with the transaction, but the delay was enough to raise my curiosity and, given what we have heard about banks these days, my level of concern. 

I think I will deposit the next quarter’s check in my other bank, just to play it safe.  Better not to have too many assets in one place.