Sunday, February 27, 2011

Planning Ahead to Keep Warm

This week has been a killer.  I teach music at a K-8 school and once a year we put on a full-on musical production with the Jr. High students.   It's the one week of the year that I can't do anything else.  Last week was that week. 
     We finally closed the show yesterday and I stayed up all night striking the set and closing everything down.  Today I slept most of the day.   I just didn't have any energy to do anything.  Now I'm up (yes it IS the middle of the night) and thinking about where our self-sufficiency journey will lead us next. 
     I did find time to cover the sensitive plants before the frost.  Tomorrow morning I will be uncovering them and checking for damage.  I'm a little worried about what I will find but part of the process is learning to accept what I cannot change.  We'll see in the morning.
     Yesterday, my husband spent most of the day splitting wood from a tree that was cut down on the property last year.  It is now dry enough to cut and split and that was how he spent the day.  It will be put into dry storage and seasoned to be used next winter.  (Or this winter if we have another cold snap)  We do 90% of our heating by wood stove.  Most of the time it keeps the house pretty warm.  We have a ceiling fan that we put on low and that circulates the hot air around the house.   Many people don't know that if you reverse the direction of the fan in the winter, it will pull the hot air down off the ceiling (where it likes to hang out) and put it where you need it most, down near the floor.
     There are a lot of shavings on the patio left over from his cutting of the logs with the chain saw.  I asked him not to sweep them up because I'm going to make fire starters out of them.   We don't have chickens (yet) so we still have to buy eggs.   I make everyone in the house save their egg cartons and we use them, the sawdust and old candles to make firestarters.   Just fill the wells in the egg cartons with sawdust.  Then, melt the old candle nubs in a double boiler on the stove.  (do NOT just heat them in a pot directly over the flame, they WILL flame on you.  I know, I did it!)    Then take the melted wax and pour over the sawdust until the tops are sealed enough that the sawsdust will not fall out and the carton is saturated with wax.  Store in a cool dry place. (doesn't everything say that?)  When you are ready to use the starters, tear one well off the carton and place it underneath the kindling and wood in the fireplace.   Light the edge of the carton and let it go.  If you have gotten enough wax on top, it will burn long enough to start the sawdust on fire, which will, in turn, start the kindling.  Then, it is all up to your firebuilding skills.   good luck!

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