A Winter’s Tale: Panda, Tippy and Akamaru Play In Snow Sort Of…

Panda runs riot in snow

Today we are having a real snow storm, not light snow.  And it is bitter cold, a sort of cold Napoleon’s Grand Armee enjoyed while fleeing Moscow.  The kittens are now cats and this is their very first winter.  Panda, who has huge front paws with opposable thumbs, has been chasing snow flakes while her short haired sister, Tippy, is not as happy about this reversal of nature.

Tippy wonders why ground is white

Our puppy dog, Akamaru which is Japanese for red dog, is a veteran of many a cold and warmer winter.  She hates the snow unlike Duke, our sled dog who is long departed.  He loved sleeping in deep snow.  Akamaru has to be dragged outside.  She was supposed to come to me when I called her but she didn’t like leaving the front door.

Akamaru seen many winters and hates it

Now on to the most important item in my home this week: the wood/coal stove.  I burn coal only when it is bitter cold so I have been burning coal much of this week.  This is how I stay alive.  I am open to someone buying me property and a free ticket to somewhere very warm but someone has to live in Ice Age conditions on this planet!  We can’t all live in the Bahama Islands.

my evil coal burning stove running hot on very cold day

Note all the cooking gear on the stove.  For twenty+ years this is how I make hot water and cook in winter.  You can dimly see some of the iron tools I use to manage this fire.  I can do it in my sleep at this point.  The yellow things are fire bricks which I use to hold heat and control the temperature.  To boil water, I remove the top bricks and place the water containers directly on the metal.  To cook food, I use a 1″ fire brick.  To keep it warm, a 2″ brick.  The bricks on the side stay warm hours after the fuel ceases burning.  Behind the stove is this ‘hot spot’ which is enclosed in bricks and then through  a vent in the wall and a fan, I heat the basement to 55 degrees.  While the rest of the home is above 70 degrees.


To survive under my rather primitive conditions, one has to be alert, on the ball and careful.  No lazing about like in LA.  On sunny days, my house is self-heating via passive solar energy rooms facing south.  A sunny below zero day gets very warm inside.  But we have little sun so far during this cold surge.  None, most days.  So to keep the bitter biter at bay, I burn some coal.  I suppose people living in warm places might think I am evil but then, as they say, ‘Tough Titties!’


Because I have this thing about survival stuff: alive is better than dead and I can’t pretend global warming is going to kill me if Jack Frost is turning everything to hard stone in the bitter cold.


sunset borger


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sunset borger



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12 responses to “A Winter’s Tale: Panda, Tippy and Akamaru Play In Snow Sort Of…

  1. melponeme_k

    Snow is beautiful and at the same time frightening. The pictures of the Syrian refugees shivering in flimsy tents are heartbreaking.

    Isn’t this how Christmas got its start? The Scandinavian and Germanic tribes would pray at the solstice to prevent Hella, and her legions from Nifleheim, from being able to take over Middle Earth.

    Your puppy is very mad. I can see by the turn of her head. When I was little I had a collie that loved the snow. He spent most of his youth in the wide open spaces of Alaska. He was sad when we moved and always enjoyed the snow when it fell in NY.

  2. Mike Gibbs

    When I built my house on the Northern shore of Lake Ontario 30 yrs. ago, I employed the same concept you use with firebricks. Went down 7 concrete blocks and filled the entire basement with 20 tons of 3/4″ crushed rock and covered the whole thing with a 6″ concrete slab. No need for air conditioning in the summer and the heating bill is next to nothing. When you go down 4 to 5 feet the earth temperature is a constant 50-60 degrees, summer and winter.

  3. JT

    I wish I could get you one of these to make things easier.

    It’s a stove, owen, gives out direct heat when you cook and it weighs 4-5 tons so you have to heat it only every 3 days or so to keep warm.

    The people who make those fireplaces are very respected artesan professionals here.

    Here are some other models, they are very popular nowdays in new houses too.

    And you should not forget this…

  4. melponeme_k

    Take a look at the tone deaf comments at the buried Huffpost article about admiring the beauty of the snow.


    Meanwhile on Al-Jazeera they state that the Syrian refugees are trying to weather freezing temperatures.


    The plight of these people are being buried on almost all news sites. But heck, they are Muslim right? To our religious fundamental elites their being buried under snow poses no problem.

  5. I don’t begrudge you your coal. 😉 It’s waste that annoys me, not people staying warm.

    Somewhat off-topically, here’s a nifty little reflection on how the writing on American currency changed during the 20th century. http://www.inspiredconstitution.org/popp_bonafide/chapter_3.html I found the first two chapters of the book interesting too, but a lot of problems that weren’t obvious when he wrote it are more obvious in retrospect.

  6. El Kabong

    Snow in Cairo

  7. emsnews

    Yes, the snow in Cairo is AMAZING and normally front page news but it doesn’t fit the ‘we are roasting to death’ storyline so it is hidden from view. They can’t hide the fact that much of the US and all of Canada is freezing. So…they say, yes, you are freezing but it is LOCAL not all over the place.

    Thus, the need to hide the news that the Sahara desert parts are having snow storms!

  8. Jim R

    Lovely place you have there … I like to visit the cold north lands, but plan to enjoy the warmth of Texas for a while longer.

    The young hippies are all talking about rocket stoves and earth shelter. It looks like a rocket stove is simply a sort of inverted fireplace, where cold air enters the firebox from the top, and a kind of siphon action pulls the hot air and smoke through an enclosed tube that heats the living area.

  9. melponeme_k


    You won’t have to deal with cold Jim, but you will have to deal with widespread, systemic drought collapse. Your area along with Central America and South America all experienced centuries long drought. It is what killed off the Indian Empires. Since our weather scientists are so mixed up in GW End of Times ideology there is no important research on this factor. Are the droughts tied to climate cooling, mini-Ice Age conditions?

    This is life and death, as Elaine states. Most of the world is fed from the bread basket farming country in ICE AGE northern areas. If that is covered under continual ice, then most of the world will starve. We need to start preparations for that as of yesterday to decades ago. No one ever did since we have to fatten the banking elites with carbon taxes.

    Now we face real danger.

  10. Jim R

    Drought is indeed an issue in the Southwest. It is every bit as significant as cold in the north. Entire civilizations have disappeared in droughts.

  11. wellwell

    More fun for Panda 🙂


    But seriously, Elaine, I continue to be amazed by your practical creativity, and your cheerful approach to survival.

  12. ziff house

    nice cats , you are lucky.

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