Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mud season has (sort of) begun!

Today was a landmark morning for us, this somewhat unremarkable picture of a very happy Dorado shows something we haven't seen for a while. A water bottle with liquid water in it that hadn't been brought in over night. It's a wonderful change, and while we aren't going to be able to do that over the weekend, it's a very nice step towards "real" Spring.

The other really nice sign given solely that it's the first day of it is the ground showing on some of the slopes. At this point it's going to be ice in the morning and mud in the afternoon as we go through the traditional New England mud season, better known as pothole season for driving. The snow is still mid thigh deep out of the drifted areas after a good bit of melting over a couple 40 degree days, but that's still a big change. The areas I've shoveled down are starting to show some dirt areas like what you're seeing here. Even the driveway has a couple spots you can see the driveway which is nice. I didn't use a photo of that because the difference between ground and the copious dirt I put down is difficult to distinguish with the quality of photos I was able to get this morning with my cell phone in the lighting we're getting. The Lady of the House has been fairly busy between the Critter and starting up a project of late so hasn't been able to do photos, or we'd be talking about bunny uses today. Hopefully that'll be Tuesday.
One of the things that I'm particularly happy about is illustrated in this photo. We are just now starting to get in to another big wood stack having emptied the far wood pile, and the wood pile on the porch. We're a bit under half way through our wood for the winter, and winter is near its end. That of course just means that we're going to be a step ahead on getting ready for next winter. The really interesting part is that we've gone through about 3 cords of wood so far this year which is what we normally burn in a whole year. The difference is we've kept the fire burning 24/7 for nearly 3 months, kept the temperature warmer through out the day, and used less oil so far this winter with almost exactly half a tank left as of today compared to nearly out in March in previous years. I think that a lot of this efficiency comes down to having replaced the door gasket last year allowing for better air control. The rest of it I think is that I've been getting a lot better at fire building. Things like knowing which small pieces to burn alone to keep the temperature up during the evening without using much wood, and which heavy pieces will smolder all night long without much attention, but still produce heat.
There are of course down sides to constant wood burning, including getting a bit over confident around the stove. I mentioned that I've slightly burned myself a few times this winter. This time I burned myself fairly badly, the discoloration around the major burn isn't showing very well in this photo, but I burned myself on the secondary ignition chamber which is the top of the fire box. It tends to be in the 200° C range in that chamber which reduces the pollution from the stove, of course that's plenty enough to burn you quickly. I wasn't wearing a leather glove when loading the stove, and the dog bumped me and I just brushed the top of the stove. Given the size of the burn which is about half dollar size it really should remind me to wear the glove when tending the stove every time. Of course, this morning 2 days later I without thinking loaded the stove without the glove. So, here's me trying to discipline myself to always use that fire tending glove. We also need to find the right hand one, or get a new one to reduce my excuses to not be using them constantly.

That's all for today.

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