A Game of Inches

The cold persists at Walden puddle, -27c at 6am, but now rising to -23 at 10am.
On the upside, the snow is beautiful and makes squeaky, crunchy sounds under my boots. The single room of the tiny house that we are currently heating is a cozy refuge. The chickadees and pine Grossbeaks are coping as long as I keep the supply of oilseeds stocked. The old terrier Riley has claimed a spot on E’s bunk near the stove with a good view out the window. He has perfected the efficiency of his outside business trips, now managing a double header (#1 and 2) in less than a minute.
I feel content, but focused. A combination of circumstances and small setbacks has limited our firewood gathering effort in the last few weeks, so now that has become top priority with work on the bedroom put on hold.
I picked up the replacement starting cord for the small generator yesterday and had a go at fixing it. Unfortunately there was a second problem with the spring loaded return mechanism. It is a curse of modern manufacturing that many parts that should have been made of metal, are made of plastic. As a temporary fix, I was able to rob the needed part from a spare engine I keep on the shelf.
1:10 pm, I need a chance to rest and normalize my temperature once in a while, this might be a good chance to catch up on some blogging and playing “Whack a Troll” on face book. I have split wood, filled all of our containers, and stowed the current supply in the shop. Next, I will take the chainsaw out into the bush and start bucking up deadfall. I hope to get a good collection cut by the weekend, when E can help drag it out for further cutting and splitting. The forecast is for warmer temperatures by the weekend, but now they are starting to talk about more snowfall (crap).
2:47pm In to cleanout the tiny house stove. I am getting a good volume of wood in, but it is of poor quality. Aspen has one of the lowest BTU ratings of any firewood, and this is deadfall and dead standing, which is even worse. Against that, this is a free resource and cleaning out the bush prepares it for useful development and reduces fire risk.
Right now it is a game of inches. We need to get far enough ahead on firewood to allow me to spend time insulating and improving the buildings. That will in turn reduce the demand for firewood. Although there is a lot of satisfaction in building up everything from scratch on our own, I won’t mind too much if the next winter is a tad more comfortable.

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4 Responses to A Game of Inches

  1. Keith says:

    The good news is there is only 5 months of winter left. If it snows you can build an igloo addition. How does the eskimo survive the 8 months of winter at 30-40 below? I wonder if Riley dreams of the old home place he left in Langley? Just some rambling thoughts about the conditions you are enjoying.

    Is it against the homesteader’s code to have a truckload of wood delivered in the first winter? Wouldn’t a cord of dry split birch sitting right beside the shack look good? Perhaps that is an unforgiveable sin. Pride is an awful thing.
    If you arrive here about the 28th of December I can hand you the keys as we head south to the land of sunshine.

  2. Hi Keith,
    I hope your prediction of 5 more months of winter comes true, it would be nice if spring would come 2 months earlier than normal. I like your idea about the igloo, but Riley has trouble with round rooms, he gets confused when I tell him to go sit in the corner. I am sure he does miss the old place in Langley, those were good years for both of us,
    I am not familiar with this Homesteader’s code you refer to, does it say anything about having all my old friends come to help cut firewood? Buy firewood? The homesteader in me has no opinion on that subject, but the Scotsman in me cries out… NAY! The exercise is good for me and cleaning up the bush has good effect on my morale and prepares the land for more productivity. Thanks again for the kind offer, but I think we will see this through.
    Best Regards,
    Country Mouse.

  3. jj says:

    Glad to hear you’re hanging in there! We got caught with our pants down…the nice fall weather lulled us into complacency, and we did not put the storm windows up early enough…so our windows are now frozen shut, with ice on the inside. We’re hoping that milder temps that are forecast for next week will allow us to rectify that 🙂 Hopefully, this winter will not be so cold nor so long as the last…

  4. Hi JJ, good to hear from you. I hear that the cold will be easing a bit and that might let us all get a few things done before the next round of polar vortex arrives. How are the wee bairn making out? From here it looks fun, rewarding (and exhausting) to raise children on the homestead. There will be only a few in their generation that will grow up in that kind of rich environment..

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