Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Harvesting Our Christmas Tree

Yesterday Kenny and decided to try to walk up for the mail.  It was sixteen below, so I insisted he wear his snow pants and a scarf.

About halfway there he declared that he would be unable to continue because he was way too hot!  I suggested that perhaps to make up for our reduced exercise time, we could fetch our Christmas tree instead - and he agreed!

We returned home, and while he removed his snow pants, I got out a tow rope and my pull saw.

My assistant is ready to go!
Once he was back outside, we strapped on our snowshoes and headed into the bush.

The forest was beautiful and peaceful.
We worked our way back to the spot where Mama had picked out the tree, and found that they looked remarkably different when covered in snow!

Now which one of these did Mama say looked best?!
I managed to cut it down and drag it to the trail, where I realized that it was probably a few feet too high, so I cut off a bit more from the base of the trunk, hooked it to the rope, and started dragging it home.

All yoked up.  You can sense the sincerity in my smile.
This was a good workout!  Let me assure you!  My glasses were completely fogged by the time I got it back home.  I removed a few more limbs from the base, and then ordered Kenny inside to handle the door.

It went through the door better than I expected, and immediately began to drip water everywhere.  I didn't have the tree stand ready, so Kenny steadied the tree while I assembled the bolts and tried to tighten them rapidly.

Are you SURE you have it?

We got it all set up, and then it tipped over.  I righted it, and then added a string from one rafter to another, wrapped around the crown, to ensure that it remained upright.

Well, it's a step up from a Charlie Brown tree!
Today we may try to start decorating!  Exciting times!









Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Burning the Brush Piles

In keeping with Grandpa's tradition, we store up the brush we cut around the cabin for a year or so to let it dry out, and then after the snow is in the forest but before it gets too deep, we burn the piles, sending those nutrients back to the soil and eliminating the untidy pile without having to drag it somewhere to rot out slowly.

We also wanted to give Grandpa the chance to supervise the activity.  Both as an excuse to invite them out for a nice meal (Donna made a roast with gravy, potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic bread.  It was fantastic!), and because I didn't feel completely comfortable setting such a large fire myself, in spite of knowing that it couldn't get out of hand with all the snow around.

Mummu and Grandpa arrived shortly after nine and Grandpa set to work immediately.  The food was actually ready to eat shortly after ten due to an early prep, so it was set to keep warm until after lunch, when Grandpa took a sauna, and then we broke bread together.

Proud of his fire lighting ability.
This punky old skid went up much faster than I expected!  Skids burn no matter how wet they seem to get!



Yup, we actually had three piles going at once here.  There is another green one further back, and a huge, long one in the ravine to burn next fall.  All the brush clearing I've been doing has really created a glut of brush!

Things are almost burned out after only a couple hours.  It got warm enough that Grandpa took off his jacket most of the time, and the trees overhead rained down all the snow still in them.

That evening it actually rained!  So for the first time that I can recall, the piles weren't even smoldering the following morning.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Quick Tip: How To Remove Your Ash Pan Without Making (As Much Of) A Mess

Here's another quick tip!

In the past while removing our ash pan to empty it outside, we had a real struggle with ash flying up inside the cabin, especially while removing it, and then again while opening the front door, and then again if there was ANY breeze at all outside.

Lately, I've been taking our cleaning caddy and using the spritzer from it to spray a fine mist on top of the ashes as I slide the pan out of the stove.  Not nearly enough to soak the whole pile, but it forms a very thin layer of misted ash on top and I cannot see any fine dust arising anymore until I finally dump the whole pan outside.

Generally the stove is still warm enough that the light misting down below is inconsequential, and I likely wouldn't be phased much by a little rust on the ash pan if that ever were an issue, but again, the pan is usually warm enough that it dries immediately anyway.

It's made a real improvement to our perception of how much dust the stove is producing - and makes emptying the ashes less of a dreadful chore, and now just a chore.






Friday, December 1, 2017

Followup To Boxing In The Stovepipe

After completing the boxing in of the stovepipe in the attic, I decided to wait until we had a nice hot fire to go up and check how things were working out up there.

A few nights ago Donna had it chugging merrily away and then remarked how according to our stovetop thermometer, we were well into the "overburn" zone, and had been for some time.

Always one to turn things to an advantage, I closed the vents a bit, grabbed our non-contact thermometer and headed up to the attic.

I was pleased as punch to find that while the attic space itself was still rather cool, the boxed in area of the stovepipe was slightly below our room temperature downstairs!  That makes me feel that it's probably not in the remotest amount of danger under anything approaching normal circumstances.

I'm putting this one just over the line into "successful idea" territory.

Establishing a base temperature of the attic outside the box.

Inside the box, with a merry fire chugging away - a comfortable but not nearly worrisome temperature.

A picture of how things look.  Nothing of concern that I can see.

And another reading of the stone wool insulation down in the base.

Another reference just outside the boxed in area, but still up high.

And at the opposite end of the attic.  Remarkably consistent!