Sunday, December 5, 2010

Winter May Have Arrived!

I knew it was morning.  The large red numbers on the bedside clock indicated that it was after 7.
There was light filtering through the shutters, a cold grey dawning of the day.
I heaved myself from under a great pile of slumberous cats and padded along the hallway to peer out the windows.
I trudged to the basement and stoked the furnace, adding slabs of wood to glowing coals.
I dished out cat breakfast, scooped coffee into the machine and flicked the switch.
And then....I scurried back to the bedroom, opened the top shutters and huddled under a heap of quilts waiting for the coffee to perk and the furnace to belch warm air.

Outside, hard little pellets of snow were flung on a bitter wind.
They rattled onto the dried heads of sedum and nestled among
fallen leaves.

The wind was from the north, promising a cold day.

The glossy leaves and scarlet berries of nandina glow bravely in a landscape that seems huddled and waiting to be buffeted.

Inside today we have kept both fires going---the livingroom fireplace--

and the squatly efficient "furnace" in the nearly finished family room in the basement.
We spent nearly two months looking for a suitable woodburning stove.
We needed one which would hold enough wood to burn most of a night, have a removable ash pan, and an electric fan.
We looked both locally and on-line, finding many which were rather stylish, but not practical.
"Burton's Tin Shop" housed in a dilapidated building just off the courthouse square had the best assortment of stoves we had seen.
This one, previously owned, has the features we need.
J. has thoughts of removing one of the heat diffusers on the top and piping it into the existing ductwork.

We took our coffee mugs down to the warm room--which utterly confounded the cats--
and sat there cozily, sipping, talking, planning.
Later while J. went out to feed Pebbles, I made a breakfast of potato cakes,

with "flatiron steaks" from the creature who used to be known [not so fondly]
as Butt-Head. 

The flurries of snow didn't stick to the ground.  I was outside briefly during the afternoon and noted that the temperature was 36 F.

The sun tried to break through but was defeated by a sky full of wind-driven clouds.
A low of 17 F is predicted for tonight, the coldest night thus far.
The wood fires, although they require tending, are a tangible and visible source of lively heat.
We have been sustained by hot spiced tea, a thick and hearty stew.
[J. kindly dug carrots from the garden, washed them under the hose and gave them a preliminary scrape.]
Hot, simple food, warm quilts, layers of snuggling felines--what more could we need for a cold winter's day and night?


  1. Wow that is some breakfast. Love the photos ...especially the moody sky.
    We are having it bad here, just as we thought the snow was clearing .. its back.Jay got half way to work and has had to turn back as they are stopping the busses ...again. It is a 40 mile journey using 3 buses and takes 2 hours on a good day. Unfortunately there is no pay when you dont get in for snow and she's lost 4 already ...same for my son too

  2. Sounds wonderful - there's nothing like a nice hot casserole or stew when it's cold. That last photo is wonderfully atmospheric, a real winter sky. It was 12F here last night but we do have blue skies and sunshine this morning and it's a balmy 24F now at 10.30am:)

  3. It does sound like winter has settled at your place. Glad you are keeping warm and have a couple of places to hang out with your felines.

    It is going to get cold for us tonight, down to the 30's and feel like it's in the 20's. The same is expected for tomorrow night as well. Brrr. It will be time to get our radiant heat heater out of the attic.

    Think it will be time to bring down the small tree also and the decorations. I haven't done a thing yet so it being cold outside will be a nice time to play inside.

    Have a lovely day whatever you do today.


  4. Well, I am quite astounded by your heating arrangements! Your non-opening fireplace(??) and your box which is a wood burning stove. Here in the UK a wood burning stove is front loaded, with a glass door, and the thought of an electric fan in a wood stove - well, I dare say they exist here, but I can imagine the price of such a wonderful beast.

    We have what was probably an imported Far Eastern manufactured wood burning stove (well, solid - multi - fuel but we just burn wood in it) bought 18 years or so ago when there wasn't much choice and which we worship as long as it keeps us warm! It would be rubbished by anyone on the green forum I visit though, where they seem to have a PhD in woodburners . . .

  5. It's finally turned really cold down here too, and the meals we have are getting bigger, have to stoke the fires.
    Will you get snow?

  6. from under a great pile of slumberous cats

    Oh I love that!

  7. Beautiful post - I just love the 'word-spill' of the opening section; you'll know what I mean. The warmth sounds blissful, and I would be so jealous if it were not for the fact that our own (Scandinavian) wood-burner is roaring away; and the oil-boiler after a month of angst is finally up and running. Food sounds delectable, too; we've been into town to stock up as the weather is forecast to deteriorate here over the next week.

  8. I could really feel the cold seeping out of your photographs, and then the wonderful warmth enveloping your snug house.

    Here, it is bitterly cold again tonight. The north is expecting more snow but, further south, I think we can just expect more ice and frozen slush tomorrow.