Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mother Nature, A Schizophrenic Wench

Our round grain bin house in the near middle, old 1856 house to right

So I complained about the cold. My punishment? A bizarre heat wave followed by more bitter cold. You would think at age 58 I'd shut my gob.

Thursday evening it was 60 degrees F when I went outside to do evening chores. But we'd read the reports  and we knew evil was lurking behind those grey clouds on the horizon. Still I threw caution to the wind an on a January day I went out in just a t-shirt. Ten minutes later the temp starting dropping. I went back to the house for a light jacket. 

Ten minutes after that, the wind picked up and the temp dropped even more. I went back again and put a rain coat on over my jacket as dark clouds were creeping up quickly.

Ten minutes after the raincoat, it got so cold I needed a hat and gloves to finish watering the livestock.

Looking down our drive towards the north

Across our pastures and looking to the East.

Even the dogs, well especially the dogs, knew something was up and kept watching the sky.



In a matter of just 30 minutes the temperature dropped nearly 30 degrees and the wind went from 5 mph to gusts of 25 mph. By late that evening we were back in the low teens. The high that day (60 F) was eighty degrees higher than the lowest temp we had the week before which was -20F. 

Mother Nature you are indeed a schizophrenic wench. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Weather Outside Was Frightful But the Rocket Mass Stove Was Delightful

 Right now, this second, we're having a heat wave. A tropical heat wave, or so it feels to us. It is 33 degrees F outside and a very comfy 70 degrees inside, even though I've not burned the rocket mass heater for almost 24 hours.

I love that! No heat source running in the house and it's cozy as can be.

The last two weeks however, were not so pleasant due to record
lows in Central Illinois and other parts of the country. A week ago today we woke to -20 degrees

 outside (this was not a wind chill reading but an actual temperature) and 56 degrees inside. The picture above is of our bathroom window that frigid morning. We might have to do a bit more window sealing this spring. 

The inside temp did not bother us that much. On those brisk mornings we make coffee, wrap up in robes and blankets on the couch and have deeply intellectual banter.

He: I suppose someone should get the fire started
She: That might be good.
He: It got pretty cold in here overnight.
She: Yes it did.

Just because we own a rocket mass stove doesn't mean we have rocket science conversations.

Eventually one of us moves towards the large rust colored metal barrel in our grain bin house, scoops out the old ash from the feed chamber in the concrete floor and starts rolling up kindling wood and newspaper. A match is lit and VOILA' we have the onset of heat.

Within 5 minutes the barrel is too hot to touch and the thermometer above our kitchen table starts to creep skyward. Within an hour and after approximately one five gallon bucket of 1-2 inch sticks (not logs) the indoor temp will be up about 5 degrees and we are comfortable. Within two hours the temp will be up ten degrees or so and Keith will have his shirt off.

At its worst last week we did burn the stove twice a day for 3-4 hours each time which is very unusual. In a normal winter where lows are in the 20's we only burn it in the evenings for 2-3 hours. Still, running it longer during those frigid days was not a big deal (easy for ME to say as Keith chopped all the wood!) Especially since it cost us nothing in fuel, just time. We had no furnace repairs, or empty tanks of propane to worry about as others in our region did.

Tomorrow it is expected to get in the 50's and it will be a muddy mess here due to the extra snow we've had, but who cares?  I get to hang out laundry.

Unless it rains.