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BRRRRRRRRR….. February 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 11:48 AM
Tags: , , ,

I’m frozen. Somehow it’s sunny and warm outside but like an ice chest inside my normally lovely little farmhouse. My arms and legs are stiff and my fingers tingle each time I hit the keyboard. Even though I’m writing today in layers of fleece pajamas and an oversized robe, I’m still cold to the bone. I’m a human ice-pop.

We heat our place primarily through the wood stove and our last cord of wood was heavy and wet. It’s hard to tell when you’re loading it – heavy is good – dense wood burns long. And wet wood doesn’t always look wet. It looks just like dry wood. So how were we to know that we’d spend the next few weeks spreading the wood out around the wood stove in hopes of a dry hunk of wood to burn. My heart sinks a little every time I load another piece in and hear the sizzle.

Before you start feeling to sorry for me and start knitting mittens and slippers to send my way, I have to admit – we do have electric baseboard heating. We even use it when all else fails. But somehow I’ve gotten so cheap that I’d rather freeze my behind off than turn the baseboard on. I don’t know how it happened. I used to laugh at people who lived like that – stubbornly tossing on an extra sweater, or walking around with blue lips all for the sake of saving a buck. But it’s more than that – it’s the fact that with a wood stove plunked in the heart of a little farmhouse, you shouldn’t need the electric heat on. And yes, we have the energy efficient ones. It still is like burning money. Literally. And I can say that, because yes – you can picture me holding money over a flame and watching it burn. It makes me crazy, and I hold out as long as I can. I like to boast that we got through all of last winter and only turned them on once. We did have dry wood though.

Sometimes I have to wonder if it’s just me. After all, both my husband and daughter walk around in short sleeves all the time. They have boiling blood it seems, and always run hot. In the coldest of weather, you’d be hard pressed to find my daughter wearing socks or anything for that matter on her feet. And my son comes home from school and immediately strips down to his underwear. It’s a phenomena I don’t really understand, but from watching ABCs “The Middle” (which along with Modern Family  is my favourite family show to watch) I’ve come to realize it happens to be a thing some boys do, even in the dead of winter. So I walk around this house bundled in fleece and flannel and microfiber, and still – I freeze.

As I was writing this, feeling very sorry for myself I might add, I decided to walk over and check out the thermostat to see what kind of cold I was really dealing with today. Maybe I was just a total whiner and seeing a number would snap me out of my shivering self-pity. 16 degree Celsius, which for those of you who need a conversion is 60.8 degree Fahrenheit. Are you kidding me? That’s what my parents turn their heat down to when they go away for the winter so the pipes don’t freeze! And I’m sitting in this?

Screw it. The baseboards are a blaring.


12 Responses to “BRRRRRRRRR…..”

  1. Dale Long Says:

    HAHA!! I hear you. My parents house is still predominately heated by a woodstove. In fact when I was still a strapping young lad with a full head of hair, we had two. One in the basement, whose pipe ran right up through the floor and through my room (which I shared with my brother until I moved out).

    Here’s a tip, you use to be able to buy at Canadian Tire a rack which you would place by the stove and pile your wood in it. That solves the wet wood problem. Just got to remember to keep it full and to shift the dry wood out.

    Of course the younger me hated doing that so good luck.

    Look at the bright side, the cold makes you more alert and work faster. Right? 😉

    • If you can believe it I have one of those on each side of my woodstove – one we use for the “night pieces” or big hunks, and the other side for the smaller stuff I throw in through the day. I still have to take them out and put a few on the floor in front and the top of the stove itself to ready it. I do have to be working right beside the stove if I do the stove top though – I learned that the hard way. 🙂

      We used a full cord in January, which is crazy. I thought we had a mild winter?

  2. Annie Says:

    Got to admit, I hate being cold. I spent a good stint of time in Norway and I used to dream of cremation! Let that baseboard heat warm you through. I’ll start knitting a scarf.

    • Thank you Annie, I appreciate the sympathy. Coming from someone sitting in sunny and warm LA, I guess you found the right spot to live. I love Canada’s seasons, but good god it gets cold here. I’m wearing a scarf as I write this actually, though not hand-knit. I’d start the hobby, but don’t need another distraction to keep me from finishing my novel. Chocolate, dog walking, and blogging is enough.

  3. deepamwadds Says:

    I have the same issue! People come to my house and tell me how cold it is, but I bundle up, and like you, refuse to use the electric heaters. But there is a tipping point, where I say, to hell with it, and fire them all up at once. Sort of a guilty pleasure, like drinking two hot chocolates in a row. But it sure is nice to be warm!

  4. Ruth Walker Says:

    Ooooh, I do love your voice Ms. Noelle. Love, love, love it. That said, I also understand the pioneer spirit. Having our wood stove at our barely insulated cabin tucked in the Haliburton woods, I also understand cold. And that is late November. The cabin is 15 x 12. Hardly a little farmhouse. And we wake up at least once in the night to toss on another log. I should say, hubby wakes up at least once. I refuse to come out of deep sleep to face the frost.

    So. Yes. I get it — the desire for that pioneer, can-take-this-on-the-chin-Mother-Nature-and-keep-on-keeping-on attitude; however, cranking up that baseboard may help your fingers to stay nimble. And that, my dear Ms. Bickle, will keep us reading your words. Happy National Sweater Day!

    • I need it to be National Sweaters Day. Like plural.

      My husband read my blog today, came home and worked his magic on the woodstove. Don’t ask me how he does it, but he seems to get the damn thing going so much better than I can. I try not to let it go to his head – had to remind him I’d been wood drying all day so he got the good pieces. But then I did say thank you. The afternoon was much toastier than the morning.

      Thank you Ruth, and yes – please keep reading!

  5. Dave Jones Says:

    Ah yessss. When we moved to Bobcaygeon I bought a cord of wood for the fireplaces. I was looking forward to snowy nights with a nice cheery fire burning and crackling while I sipped cognac.

    However, we got scammed by the guy at the woodlot who gave us a deal and told us to load up from ‘over there’. Instead of flames and cracles, we got smoke and sizzle. On the good side- I got to live my dream the next year after the wood dried and it burned beautiful.

    Lesson- buy wood from a guy you trust to sell you dried stuff. (Know your dealer??)

  6. I can’t believe you’re even using the woodstove still after that major burn you got! People’s comfort levels do vary a lot. I like it cold as I am hot blooded and was used to hardly any heat growing up in England (with a coal fireplace all the heat goes up the chimney!) It is around sixty degrees in my apartment but I have a couple of electric heaters I can put on if I want to. Try wearing a hat and sheepskin slippers as a lot of heat goes out of your extremeties. Fingerless gloves for typing!

    • Actually – I just got another this week on the tip of my index finger. I was grabbing wood I had drying out on the top of the stove and grabbed the top of the wood and the bottom was stove that I tried to grab and yank. Oy. I’m a dolt when it comes to fire safety apparently. My fingers are drawn to the sides of the stove it seems. Anyway – we now have dry wood and I am being extra careful becuase it is burning good and hot!

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