Heat, or Lack Thereof

Last night was our coldest one yet this season (actually, this morning at 8am — the temp always dips just after dawn): 28.4 °F.
The days have been mostly warm so we have simply been opening windows during the day and shutting them at night, but this morning the main house was dipping into the 50’s, the addition the low 60’s. Time to get the heating systems ready to go!

For the addition, I simply plugged in the underfloor hydronic heat control unit. Oh, I also switched our washing machine back to tap cold auto-sense water level; over the summer I had it set to hot extra-large to use up the excess hot water we did not otherwise need.

For the main house this means cleaning the two wood stove flues. I use a set of chimney cleaning rods and 6″ round wire brush, working from the fireplace up. The rods let me get all the way to the top of the flue:

Certain Amazon boxes are the perfect size to catch the nuggets of first degree creosote (along with some bonus stink bugs).
The stovepipe has some surface rust but is still quite usable. The rods and brush are the floor.

One down, one to go!

Update: Of course, after one cleans one’s wood stove flue one must have a nice hot fire. Roy and Gigi heartily approve!

View from the Veranda

This post will give you a flavor of what our farm looks like from our upper veranda. All of these pictures embiggen when you click ’em (be sure to click on the resultant picture to really embiggen it if your browser has resized it to fit the screen — you’ll need to scroll left and right to see it all.) All of these panoramas were created with drag-n-drop ease using the free Microsoft ICE photo-stitching software.

This picture is a 250-degree view taken today during the first snow of the season.

This is a similar view from back in October. This one goes a bit farther to the left — note the hammock. This blog’s masthead is a version of this image.

And, finally, here’s a slightly narrower vista from March after some fairly torrential Spring rain. The river is up in its banks to where it is clearly visible from the veranda. This is also the height where Cacapon River Road — a part of which you can see on the left — floods several miles downstream. Note, too, how wet several portions of our pasture are.

That Time Of Year Again. Sigh.

The ladybugs are back. Actually, they’re Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles. Follow the link for info about how they infest homes in the Autumn. Last year tried a new strategy — sprayed poison around all the doors and windows and used making tape to seal around all of the doors. Worked pretty well, although we still had to use the shop-vac from time to time. Trying it agin this year, but with a bit less poison this time.

Autumn Colors

It hasn’t been a particularly spectacular fall this year, not many of the crisp, bright days that we love so much, but …

Autumn Colors [Continued]

… all in all it’s hard to beat autumn in the Appalachian Mountains!

Autumn Colors

This fall wasn’t as spectacular as last year but all-in-all it’s hard to argue with! If you look at the lower right you’ll see our two-hole outhouse with the skylight I added in 2000.