Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Coming Home

On my way home from work yesterday, I stopped my car and rolled down my window so I could say hello to the horses and ponies that live on a farm just up the road from our house.  The red pony greeted me with a slobbery sounding horse raspberry noise. Classic horse conversation!

What looked to be a dark pile of hay was actually three more ponies enjoying their dinner.  Sorry to disturb your meal.  

I exchange a few wary stares with the cows chilling by the pond further down the road.  I hope their fur coats are warm, because their barnyard was so cold part of the pond was frozen.  

This is the first view I have of our house on my way home each day.  Can you see the little white house peeking through the trees?  Whew, thank goodness the house is still there!  I always have a feeling of relief when I see it.  I'm not sure where I think it might go...

Almost there!  The snow on the ground reminds me of the very first time we ever saw this property.  Brandon and I had spent countless weekends searching for a place with some land.  We were past the point of getting our hopes up based on pictures and descriptions, and the photos of the house on the listing for this property were so unflattering that we thought we were mostly just out enjoying a drive in the country.  When we arrived at this little house, which was set far from the road, and surrounded by snowy open spaces, we knew this was the one.  It didn't really matter to us that the house was dilapidated.  This was one of the first properties (in our price range - which didn't range very high) where the house wasn't crammed against a road, a junk yard, a fighting rooster farm, or a neighbor.  We love the setting.  

Is it just me, or does this picture look cold?!

First things first - Wake up, Puck!  Uncross your legs and come outside.  

Puck and I do chicken chores while we still have our coats on and there is enough light to see.  The baby chickens get fresh water and a lid added to their brooder.  The big chickens and guineas get locked in the coop.  

Or they would if the silly guinea would get off the roof of the corn crib and go to bed!  

Can you see the garden bed layout outlined by old barn wood on the ground?  These are the places the chicken coop has been parked.  So far, I have four spots that have been fertilized by droppings and bits of straw and wood chips.  I placed the wood so I wouldn't forget where the chickens put the fertilizer.  It's too cold to spend much time dreaming about the garden.  

I call this daily event The Swarm.  The dog and cats all congregate around, and on, the plastic tub with the green lid that holds the coveted cat food.  They swarm around and over it, whining and crying at me until I open the treasure and everybody gets a meal.  It would make a cute photo if they would just hold still.  

Some folks have a mud room for their wet muck boots.  We have a mud bench!  Literally.  The end of the long cob bench of our rocket mass heater makes a good place to put our boots since the cob absorbs the snow as it melts.  

The center of the bench makes seats at the table, and the bench nearest the warm barrel is becoming my favorite place to sit, so it has extra blankets and pillows. Not only is it warmest there, but I can see the fire in the firebox, so I know when the add more wood.  This stove needs attention about every twenty minutes, so I can't get too lazy unless I want the fire to go out.  

I'm getting better at starting a fire in the stove.  I like to play with fire, so I'm enjoying having fire tending chores when I get home.  I made a short video of the rocket stove in action, so you can hear the "rocket" noise that it makes.  I think I should get a tripod and film the fire for a long time, and then folks could play the video on their TV's when they want to have a rocket fire ambiance!  

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