Saturday, January 14, 2012

monsters and emails

George is a force to be reckoned with. 22 pounds of Feline Demands who has decided this farm house is his, was always his, and everyone else just has to deal with it. He has cornered, scratched, and hissed at every dog in the house and now walks from the laundry room (his and Lilly's original apartment) and struts across the kitchen to drink out of the dogs' water bowl and then into the living room to sleep on the dumpy armchair I inherited with the house. This morning he leapt up into bed where Gibson and I were sleeping (Gibson, mind you, is terrified of this compact monster) and as the cat got closer and closer, rumbling like a stalling dumptruck stuck inside a microwave, Gibson curled up closer and closer to me. It was like that last scene in JAWS were Quint is slowly eaten off the boat.. That's what Gib was picturing anyway, and as George padded closer Gibson ended up curled up around my head with his neck resting over mine, whimpering.

So I was up.

Early Saturday morning here. The first fire is lit in the living room stove and soon I will head out to feed the farm. When I return there's breakfast and more writing to sink into. This weekend has light plans but tomorrow I am going to join an embroidery group in Albany to learn the traditional stitches and skills. My current definition of embroidery is "drawing with thread" and there is no sense to it, just sewing in pictures and words however it happens to appear. This group is a little more organized and trained in the older tapestry and traditional aspects of this craft. I am thrilled to make some new friends.

Perhaps because of Barnheart I have been getting a lot more email than usual, and I honestly can't keep up with it. If I don't reply, please do not feel discouraged or brushed-off. Or if I reply swiftly either. I am just not used to the level of correspondence on top of all the other goings on here at the farm. I am doing my level best, but I might not get to them all.

More Birchthorn soon. I have attached a photo of Lilly.


Blogger doglady said...

Sounds like you are at the point of decision with George. If you kick him off the bed and out of the dumpy chair, you will send a message that you aren't going to be top animal in this pack, I am. If your reinforce your dog's position of next in line they will get braver and George will back off a bit. He is testing the waters and the dogs are getting the brunt of it. Sometimes these familial relationships require a little tough love. Coon cats are trainable.

January 14, 2012 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I'm not worried

January 14, 2012 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, I was going to email you then read this. I was wondering if you could do a blog post on your wood heaters. Like do you get up all through the night to feed them? How much wood do you burn in a day for both? Do they both heat your whole house? Do you use your furnace at all? Are they out when you get home from work? And how do you start your fires? Just things like that. I have just an open fireplace. We are looking at wood stoves. And have found that the VBO is a pretty good price compared to the ones around here. I was up 4 times last night feeding that fire. I also have a central unit that when it gets below 40 is just about useless. Plus one of those Oreck Edenpure that I have sitting right under the thermostat to keep the central from kicking into high dollar auxilliary. Yikes! SO 3 (semi) sources of heat for 1200 square feet downstairs and 400 sf up that is not used unless the grands are here. Anyway, just thought that would be a good topic. I would love to hear your views and others as well. And how much is wood costing in all areas of this country right now? Does it compare to electric and is it worth it?

I sure hope your new cats and the dogs learn to get along soon. They are beautiful cats and huge. It will take awhile I'm sure. But with the size of the cats, at least George is not afraid of the big dogs.

My dog Bubba had one of my cats on the ground the other day. Had a nice bloody nose when I got there. Go Alex!! Have no idea why he did that. Probably won't again though.

January 14, 2012 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

For Chris: I heat with wood - one small airtight, wish I had two - my house dates to 1820's and is anything but tight. I have used woodheat since 1985. Just got up and after starting the water for coffee directed my attention to getting the fire going after sleeping almost nine hours straight with no getting up. I damp the stove down after filling it at bedtime and there are enough coals for an easy start - I just added half a dozen pieces of kindling and a small piece of birch bark then arranged two small pieces of dry split wood over that - I can hear it starting to burn. Wood from my supplier is $200 Canadian dollars per cord cut and split, a mixed bag of birch, moose maple, wild cherry and what have you - no softwood but some poplar and I get good measure. I get through about three to four cords a winter and it is far cheaper than either oil or electric. If I am at home, or only away for a short while, I burn one or two sticks an hour a mix of large and small pieces, in the round and split. I have a small attached porch (definition - a heated or unheated utility area attached to the house entrance through which you pass to enter the heated house) and there were five tiers in it to start the heating season - I just started on tier three - there is more piled on the small verandah and still more around the side of the porch. I know having started with four cord there will be enough. I live in South Western Nova Scotia near the Bay of Fundy coast so winters can be challenging.
Key point is your supplier - a fair price and a fair measure of good seasoned wood. Of course if you have your own woodlot you are laughing, other than the work entailed.

January 14, 2012 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

For Kris:
We purchased last fall a Drolet wood stove. The model is "Baltic" and we just love it. We live in an 1876 farmhouse and have been cold every winter we have been here as our former wood stove just could not keep up-that is until now. The difference has been dramatic. We have gone from cold to comfy! I fill the stove when I go to bed and my husband, who turns in a bit later, will add wood as needed and we are warm all night. As it is a new wood stove, it is energy efficient and burns WAY less wood than our former stove. Unlike many of the new stoves, this one can be cooked on and has a very large surface for cooking on the top. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. I can't say enough good things about our stove. Go to the Drolet website and check them out!
Lisa in Maine

January 14, 2012 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi, Kris,
Open fireplaces are not very efficient, although they are very pretty! I just had a Lopi Revere fireplace insert installed and it's terrific. If I get a good fire going, then fill the stove with wood and close the damper, it will heat the house for 8 - 10 hours. At the end of that, there are usually enough hot coals to start the next fire with smaller logs. It has a nice wide cooktop, too - I made a stew of beef short ribs on it last week and it turned out great. I paid $180 per cord for four cords this fall, but it wasn't well seasoned and contained some softwoods, so I bought a cord of well seasoned mixed hardwood for $225. I start the fire with the seasoned wood, and when it's burning well, I add the green wood (I won't be buying from that guy next year). I also have a Harman pellet stove in the cellar for backup heat. I keep that at 60 degrees, and it will go through 3 to 4 tons of pellets this winter. I have no other heat source, and I live in the foothills of the Adirondacks, where it gets c-c-c-c-cold!

January 14, 2012 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think everyone's woodstove and heating situation is different. I have two, both with small boxes (14 adn 18inches) in an 1100 square foot home. I feed it all day (when I am here) absentmindedly, but at night I load it up and then restrict airflow in and out and it lasts longer. I get up around midnight and 3, sometimes (any night over 30 degrees) I dont get up at all. the house will be around 58, but I can always restart the fire. I have oil as a backup.

January 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

Cats!!!! Ya gotta love 'em! Territories will be established and the dogs will come around and all or probably most all will be friendly in a couple of months.

January 14, 2012 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Have fun with the embroidery group. I would love to have access to a group like that. I'm sure you will have a great time.
I also burn wood here in Newfoundland. We have a Pacific Energy stove which is wonderful. In our area you can go to the local forestry office and obtain a cutting permit for $20. and cut your own wood, up to 6 cords.

January 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, dominance has been established among your inside animals. George sounds like a real character.

January 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Totally jelous of the embroidery group. I'll be picking your brain at the wool workshop!!!

January 14, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Loved the picture of Lily. ;D LOL.

January 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger georgie said...

Your description of a cat's purr is perfect!

January 14, 2012 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

So envious of those with woodstoves!

Jenna, glad to read you are no longer setting an alarm every 2 hours to feed the woodstoves, I good night sleep is so important to ones health.

January 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Katie Swanberg said...

Glad to hear the cats are settling in. I'm having the same issue with keeping up with emails, but it's nice to hear from people that appreciate your work.

January 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Where is the picture of Lilly? I am missing it.

Don't you love learning new things? I am so happy I learned the basic knitting stitches. And I mean basic, like knit and purl. That's all I know so far.

And thank you all for you comments on wood heat. I love everything about it except hauling in the wood all day. I go through at least 3 of those yellow cart wagons a day. I at least got the cat room cleaned out today!

January 14, 2012 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

the picture of nessie was a joke, since lilly is so rarely seen as to be believed

January 14, 2012 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Ok. I'm just a little slow. I get it now.

January 14, 2012 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

The scene of George menacing Gibson was, I apologize, hilarious. Elka sympathizes, i'm sure, poor Gibson, but "rumbling like a stalling dump truck stuck in a microwave" was truly epic. Your cat is on his way to being a folkloric God.

January 14, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

George sounds like my kind of guy!

January 15, 2012 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger polly said...

this was great - i love kris for her complete moving on to a separate question... sorry - didn't read the rest of the blog properly after that - sorry everyone very wrong i agree.

thanks jenna and georgie porgie; the description made me laugh really hard. all will be just great, i think - love to gibson what a star :D

January 15, 2012 at 3:40 AM  

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