Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting Ready for Winter

We are very fortunate here in Kentucky - we have a very long fall.

In Ohio, they've already got inches and inches of snow. (Shudder!) Fall is over, winter is already entrenched. The north wind is already chilling Lake Erie and the shoreline. The Alberta Clipper and Siberian Express winds aren't far behind.

Here I've got a few more weeks to get hay in the barn. Even then the roads will stay fair (as in open and dry) for the most part. It is time for me to look at the next 3 months and ask what I want to accomplish.

We got a cord of wood today, oak and ash, plenty to keep the fire going all winter if I want. I don't usually have a fire every night - or during the day - unless I'm working on something, or having company over. My parents get chilled easily, so I like to start a fire when they will be over. Right now, the new wood is in the fireplace and it is burning slow, clean and fragrant.

I hate to sound like a city-girl, but I LOVE manufactured fire logs. The ones made out of pressed coffee smell the best. I can put one of those in to start, for a fire that burns 4 hours. Then I can let it burn out, another hour to cool, and shut the flue.

My first priority is a barn full of hay. The second will be 4 bales of straw for Chicken World. The last thing I want to make those birds do is spend a winter in mud. So 4 bales will cover the ground to a depth of about 4 inches. Raising the floor above the water line. The birds will be cold, but they will be dry.

On winter days when it's wet and nasty outside, I will let the flock loose in the barn. They will scratch around in the horse stalls, fluffing the shavings. Handy creatures, chickens, all that scratching gets rid of bug larva, and any spilled grain. The rodents have less to eat, so they are bolder, which feeds the cats. That's why I want to keep a few chickens. But more than a dozen is crazy-making.

I'm already looking into the holidays - which isn't something I usually do until last minute. Last year, with my husband in and out of the hospital I was barely functional. I holed up here in the house and hardly left. (This year, while still stressful, isn't quite as traumatic...knock on wood.) The Christmas tree wouldn't have happened, except my sister decorated it after Thanksgiving Dinner.

I'm going to take Thanksgiving week off, hoping to get some seasonal decorating done - as well as Christmas. IMO a perfectly decorated house has a harvest theme that ties in with Christmas. Lots of fruit and evergreen decorations that can stay up longer than the Christmas tree. Not that I have any hope of perfection...I've just got goals. LOL (If you believe that I've got some land in Florida to sell you.)

This has turned into an unexpectedly pleasant evening.

One digression: I'm going to need to move the couch closer to the fireplace. (All fantasy/historical writers take note!) Fires need to be tended, constantly. Logs must be turned every few minutes in order for them to burn evenly. Some wood pops - sending sparks out in arcs, the narrow modern hearth is only possible because we use firescreens. Otherwise carpeting would catch fire all the time.

So if you have characters spending a pleasant evening on a bear-skin rug in front of the fire - trust me - they are going to spend as much time tending the fire as each other. Either that or the fire will go out and they will freeze. And don't get me started on what a 'roaring' fire would do - it will send out sparks. The bearskin would be up in flames, totally ruining the mood.



Jean Davis said...

You've almost put me in the spirit to think about the holidays. Almost. I'll probably continue to avoid them just a little while longer-until Thanksgiving hits me in the face with a house full of people.

Duly noted on the fire tending. *takes notes*

Ms Kitty said...

Amazing what tiny details are useful to writers, isn't it?

We live and breath for details and nuances.

Hope you are having a great NaNo - your weaseles are adorable.

Ms Kitty said...

Anyone who hasn't seen them yet - Here is the link: