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.
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.
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.
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.
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