stepping stones across winter
Sunday, January 12 2020
It had been so warm last night that I'd been able to spend it in the greenhouse upstairs without running any heat. Initially, I'd actually had to leave the door open so the cold air trapped inside could be displaced by the balmy tropical air outside.
In the middle of the night there were showers, but by sunrise today, the sun was out again and the unseasonable warmth continued. As had been the case yesterday, temperatures climbed as high as the mid-60s. This evening I made the observation to Gretchen that it's much easier to make it through a winter if there are a few warm "stepping stone" days sprinkled across it. We've had winters with no warm stepping-stone days at all.
I took advantage of these conditions to get two more backpack loads of firewood. The first of these was from a high (and very steep) part of the escarpment west of the Stick Trail about 150 feet southwest of the new stone wall. That escarpment is so steep that I didn't want to try to scrabble back up there, so I made sure to chuck all the pieces I managed to buck up as far down the slope as possible, where I assembled the backpack load. Later I would assemble a fairly light second load mostly of dry long-dead white pine from west of the Farm Road.
While I was gathering that first load, I suddenly heard the YouTube audio being broadcast from my laboratory computer go to a static hiss, indicating that the FM transmitter had lost power, which only happens during power outage. This was one that would last for three or four hours. To get away from the cats, I tried doing offline laptop-based work down in the greenhouse upstairs, but the January sun was low above the trees and its brilliance made my computer's screen difficult to read. It's hard to find much to do in the house when there is no power or internet (I've noticed my cellphone is mostly useless when trying to connect to the internet from the house via a cellular connection), so I decided to drive out to the Home Depot with the dogs to get supplies (Gretchen hadn't taken Neville to the bookstore). I ended up buying a bunch of rough-cut white pine planks for use in making removable hatches for all the holes I'd cut in ceiling of the basement hallway. (That was for the split wiring project back in November.) I also got a pair of $20 flashlights, hoping they'll be more reliable than the cheap ones we'd been using. In hopes of making the greenhouse upstairs more usable, I also bought a set of window blinds intended to block maybe just a quarter of the south-facing glass. If I can block it so it doesn't shine in my face when my head is at the east end of the futon, that's really all I need. As I was lashing the planks to the Subaru's roof, the dogs wandered far afield across the Home Depot parking lot. Sadistically, I allowed an employee to fret for awhile about whether or not they were super-friendly strays before I called them back over. Meanwhile, a very large rottweiler managed to force his massive head out of the canvas back of a jeep just so he could bark at them and hope to catch their scent on the breeze.
The state of wood in the living room this evening. The wood from today mostly ended up in that cardboard box on the right.
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