Sunday, February 7, 2010


*This image is from, taken by Carlos Porto

What B and I dislike the most about our house (besides the white carpet that covers every floor in the house) is the heating system. Every room has baseboard heat (very expensive to run) and we have a wood burner in our basement. In our effort to not have a $1000 electric bill, we only run the baseboard heat in the essential places...our bedroom and bathroom, the family room, and B's little room where he gets dressed in the morning for work. Beyond that, we try to keep the house warm by running the wood burner. The problem is, our wood burner is not easy to get going. We unfortunately have to cold start it most mornings, and if it doesn't get quite warm enough with the kindling before logs are put in, it never gets hot, or smoke escapes and we end up with a smokey house and the smoke detector going off.

As B works during the day, starting the fire is often left up to me. I had a good system going for a while, but we ran out of our old wood and the new wood we got just has NOT wanted to catch. I will try and try, by putting in kindling to get it to catch, and most days it will, but it takes a lot of patience on my part. B, on the other hand, when starting the fire, does not have patience. This year he decided he had had enough with waiting for everything to catch and get hot, so he started using kerosene on the logs to get them to catch quickly. I was not a fan of this from the start. 1) I do not like the smell of the gives me a headache and it just smells awful. 2) I could not help thinking that it was rather dangerous to be putting a flammable substance in the wood burner. I don't know how many times I told B that I didn't want him to use the kerosene, but, typical man, he didn't listen.

On Saturday, I didn't start the fire before B got home because our kindling had gotten wet and I had to let it dry out in the house. After he got home and did chores, he went downstairs with the kid who helps us around the farm to start the fire. After a few minutes, I hear a loud WHOOF and I can't help but think that the downstairs has blown up. I don't immediately go downstairs, for fear of what I will find, but when I hear them talking, I run down. I see B sitting on the ground, his hands to his face, and the boy laughing at him...I also see a lot of smoke...and smell the awful smell of burned hair. Turns out, B put a little too much kerosene in the wood burner, and in the process of trying to get the fire started, the fumes caught and out came a huge fireball, right at his face! It singed his eybrows, eyelashes and hair, and stung his face quite a bit, but he was otherwise unharmed. Luckily. And nothing else was damaged in the process either.

Had I not been so glad that no one was hurt, I would have loved to have said, "I told you so..."

Bet he hasn't learned his lesson though!
And would you believe that yesterday, after I got a nice, HOT fire going, as we went to leave to celebrate my MIL's birthday, I shut up the wood burner, and the duct system (that leads to the chimney) fell apart? I don't know my own strength apparently! :) B had to put it back together so the whole house didn't fill with smoke. We are currently not going to use the wood burner for a few days...enough is enough. I really think we need to figure out a different way to heat our house...but unfortunately the way our house is laid out, a heating system will be hard to install. We'll figure it out one of these days...
The swan did come back, shortly after I wrote my last post, stayed for a few days, and then left again of its own accord. Maybe one day it will come back again. But at least it didn't leave because I scared it off...
I am officially 35 weeks pregnant...and finding it hard to believe. Can I just say that I have noticed myself becoming unbelievably moody? B and I had been talking about how I hadn't really had any mood swings that we hear so many people talk about during pregnancy, but in the last week, yikes. Here is my 35 week belly shot!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Slippery Fingers

One of the things I love most about living on our farm is that we are privileged to have a variety of wild animals come around, especially birds, which I love. They stay for a few days like the blue heron that frequents our pond every couple weeks or permanently, like these ducks that appeared out of the blue in September and never left (no idea what kind they are, but we now feed them) but there is never a shortage of them.

On Thursday, I walked outside to see this beautiful bird on the pond. I almost couldn't believe my eyes. I was pretty sure I had never seen a wild swan before, and actually thought I was probably mistaken, and that it was some weird goose. It had come in with a flock of geese after all. I tried to feed it some bread, but when the geese moved away because I got too close, so did the swan, so I didn't try again.

I was excited that the swan was still there on Friday, and again on Saturday. I figured that one day, the geese would decide to move on (they always do), and the swan would go with them. That day happened to be today. I was disappointed when I woke up and looked outside, but I had had a feeling they would leave soon since the weather was once again cold enough to make the pond freeze over.

But then this afternoon, when I went outside to do chores, I could see a white bird far out on the pond. I realized that the swan had come back, even though the geese had not. Boy, was I excited! I figured that I would try to give it some food since the pond was frozen over. I was secretly hoping that food would make it stay around longer. So, I took a cup of duck food, and walked slowly toward where it was sitting on the ice. When I got close enough that I could see it was starting to get uneasy, I stopped and threw out the food. Lo and behold, the cup the food was in slipped out of my hand as well...flew threw the air towards the swan, and landed with a crash on the ice, scaring the swan away. It took off with a squawk and flew until I couldn't see it anymore. :( All that is left on the pond now is some food, and a cup that I can't reach.

Although I'm doubtful it will come back after that fright, if it does, I'll keep my slippery fingers away. Maybe B can try bread.
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