Posts Tagged ‘firewood’

 Random#37 017
When I reached this point of cleanup with the porch (entryway), I was eagerly awaiting a time when I could call this house home, and envisioning the feelings of victory that accompany crowded baskets of fresh garden produce from July to frost. I sifted through ideas of what I could do to make cookstove wood storage convenient; to organize outdoor clothing for the children; to decorate the space in such a way that it would uplift the spirit every time anyone entered. While scrubbing the floor, I discovered that it had been painted at some point, and there was a margin of brown paint on the stairway, as well as other places. I am thinking someday I will re-do it in blue (shades of Caribbean). I salvaged a large green mat I found downstairs, in order to stack firewood on it, so we don’t ding up the floor. I am slowly working toward my goals of organization and practical loveliness.

I have been unsure what I wish to do regarding the scraping and re-painting that needs done on the walls and ceiling. I don’t relish the thought of the work involved, when so many other things call for my attention (work, kids, meals, hobbies…), so between Will and I, we came up with a solution that, we believe, will improve more than just the appearance. We plan to install sheet metal (Nebraska Cornhusker Red, not that I’m a fan of anything but the color) on the ceiling, and put up insulation board or similar between that and the original ceiling. This should keep the entryway from being such an energy hog, as there is no insulation of any kind between the roof and the inside. I plan to proceed with paint on the walls – white, with perhaps a touch of bright country blue on trim and edges.

In the photo above, you’ll notice that the wall phone is just as it was left. It remains, with the plastic-covered list of Important Numbers, to this day. We made an interesting discovery when for a time we had neighbors a half-mile down who had a land line: this wall phone is still on the old party-line. Currently, our neighbors have only cell phones, so it doesn’t count. But we kept the thought in mind for emergencies, and it was amusing (though annoying) that we could hear every time Mike and Lynn sent a fax. (One night when they were very busy, we disconnected the phone at the box outside.)

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I have mixed feelings about the event I’m about to share. On the one hand, it’s purely redneck eccentricity made me laugh. Really, who but Will would consider this sort of thing a fundamental right of marriage? Still, all the mud put me into quite a tizzy when it came time to clean up.

We needed more fire wood. We had access to several old boards and fence posts, but the wind was howling at roughly 20* below (F.), and I must admit, it seemed rather cruel to tell Hubby, “Out with you! Go saw in the cold!” So I let him and his circular saw into my laundry room. This was the result:

The boards thawed as he sawed them, and left a lake district…or a flood plain, depending on how you view it.

Billy, willing and sweet, took it upon himself to attempt to mop. I was busy writing another article, and let him. I won’t get into details, but suffice it to say that, when all was said and done, I spent an hour and a half and eight buckets of water to get the mess under control.

Oh, for a big mud room, and an official place to keep fire wood dry and stacked.

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Random#25 084

This is the mudroom as it has no doubt stood for many years (minus K-10 the German Shepherd). It is a nice mudroom.

Random#25 099Only problem is, the attached kitchen is rather small. It has a nice propane stove, however, with six burners and two ovens. I would like to put our Dixie wood-and-coal cookstove in, though, as we use it most of the year, and prefer it to any other kind of stove.

With my favorite shelves added along the wall between the dining room and kitchen, and the south wall full of cabinets (hurray!) that leaves not much but a walkway from mudroom to dining room.

So…I would like to build a new mudroom. Nothing fancy; just an unheated space across the whole front of the house, about 10 feet deep, divided into two sections. On the right hand would be a space with a laundry sink, in which I could also put my wringer washer. (Wringer washers can be amazingly efficient.) There would be a place on the ceiling fitted to hoist up a deer or whatnot, for butchering or hanging. There would be a floor drain, for…messes. Will could also process all his raw dog food mixtures in here. Along the east wall (front), there would be quite a long space in which to stack a supply of dry firewood. In the other section, to the left of the front door, would be a summer kitchen/canning kitchen.

Here the old propane stove from the current kitchen would go, and I would want a wide bench, with shelving underneath, suited for processing large batches of food, and storing large cooking pots, canners, and so on. A potting bench, for the spring planting season, would also be highly desirable. Ideally, I would want windows along the north and south walls, which, if done right, could even facilitate getting baskets of produce into the house, without having to track through the front door continuously. There would be a nearly straight shot to the basement, and hence the cellar, from the front door, however.  This summer kitchen would be twice as deep as the butcher/washing section, as the house is not even across the front. This means that a winter clothes closet would fit nicely along the south wall, where it wouldn’t risk getting spattered with blood from butchering. Of course, all floors would be cement – easy clean, few worries.

I’ve introduced these ideas to Will. He thinks they sound nice. (Translated: He has no commitment to the plan, but wouldn’t mind if it magically put itself into action.)

Naturally, that would leave the old mudroom as a place to spill over from the true kitchen. This is important, as, if we choose to have electricity on-grid (not much of a probability), I will keep two refrigerators in the “mudroom”, along the south wall. One would be for household use, and one for dairy. A herd of milking does can produce several gallons of milk a week, and I prefer to make cheese in five to ten gallon batches.  At any rate,  on-grid or off, I’ll need someplace (with controlled temperatures) to deal with the milk.  Also, it would be great to have someplace to put a work table, as the counter space is limited. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Then – ahhh…at last. With these improvements, I’ll have a kitchen where I can cook without working around every project and family member in the house. Actually, two kitchens.

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We got a lucky break last September. Actually, I don’t believe in luck, so let’s call it our Creator’s interest in us.

An acquaintance offered us a great stack of firewood for cheap – cheaper than we could have cut it ourselves, accounting for time.

The man we bought our German Shepherd stud dog from had a micro-burst go through his yard, and it knocked down several old elms. He cut and stacked the wood, and all we had to do was to come pick it up within a given length of time.

We arrived, and there was much more than we could fit on one trailer:


We had to leave almost half the pile there for somebody else. Still, it was a great start to stocking up for the year, and everybody got into the act.


Tyger helping to stack the wood on the trailer.

Tyger helping to stack the wood on the trailer.

Firewood is such a big part of the way we live, that I find it difficult to tell how much of a blessing this was. We have two wood stoves in the house, and they provide virtually all our heat. Besides this, we were swamped with construction jobs toward the end of September, and the Creator knew we could not take a lot of time to gather wood. We had been using our cookstove off and on for a week already.

We managed to get about half of the trailer load stacked, clean and dry, in the wood room downstairs.

) )

It is a bit messy – but then, it’s not a parlor. The beams are necessary to stabilize the flood-damaged walls. (That’s why it’s not a parlor. 🙂 )

By the 23rd of October, we were glad to have done this, as (one of my favorite things!)… we had a blizzard:






Hardly enough to go sleighing...but it was beautiful.

Hardly enough snow to go sleighing…but it was beautiful.

By the next afternoon, it was nothing but mud and memories. Still, we’re ready for the next one.

P.S. – We had ice on the insides of the windows yesterday morning…even the one near the kitchen stove pipe. Jack Frost in residence makes me feel ready for Thanksgiving…and at long last – Christmas! If I didn’t have so many crafts going already, I’d find some wrapping paper and make some new snowflakes for my windows. Oh well – Jack Frost will have to decorate by himself for a few days.

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