That kind of cold permeates everything, endangering life and slowing things down. Skin can freeze in minutes causing frostbite. Engines don't start, pipes freeze, Life can easiy be lost in these conditions. The past few days have produced such frigid conditions. While the winter sky produces beautiful spectacles like the Aurora Borealis and Sun Dogs, the air is raw and bitter; any wind or breeze only makes it feel worse. The cold wind robs buildings of their heat and it's always a battle to keep homes warm enough for comfort.
We use wood stoves to provide our warmth. Wood Stoves are effective, inviting and very romantic with their crackling sounds and heady aromas. I feel grateful to have enjoyed using them for almost 21 years. We heat primarily with wood in our two main buildings. There are a couple small electric heaters available but we use them only when necessary as they can be expensive to run. And not very efficient in these temperatures.
Our home and studio are small enough to heat reasonably well in most winter conditions but the effort required to maintain a comfortable heat all winter long is truly monumental. It requires around 9-10 cords of wood every winter to withstand that invasive cold and all of that wood needs to be cut, split, stacked, moved several times, brought inside and fed into the wood stove on a constant basis.
It's all a LOT of work - especially for these times when most people simply turn a dial to raise the heat in their dwellings. But it is worth it to those of us who love wood heat dearly.
These days, as I work away in the studio, my wonderful husband Warren takes care of all the necessary wood duties. Throughout the year, wood is aquired and processed - cut, split, stacked and often moved from one spot or pile to another as it ages and cures (dries if necessary). He spends endless hours and days of his time and energy just to keep us warm during the winter months. He insists that he enjoys it and I believe him but I know there are many things he would love to spend some of that time on. He is a highly creative soul and always finds beauty in each piece of wood as he works on it. I am forever grateful to him for all of his loving attention to this important aspect of our life. This way of life wouldn't be possible for us right now if it weren't for him. I love him so much!!
Here are a few of Warren's "wood observations" -
Many people, even in this climate, don't have to think about heat until they go to pay their electric, gas, or oil bill but Warren has to constantly be on top of the supply inside and outside, the weather forecasts, and maintaining a constant fire in whatever building we are occupying. In fact, he starts at least three fires per day - morning inside when we awaken, morning in the studio for the day and then again in the evening when we return home.
Sometimes, like the past few days, it can be too cold to spend time and resources trying to heat up more than one building so we chose to stay inside the house and keep it warm all day long. Days like this can be filled with different things - like blog writing and website editing, hot soup and the aroma of fresh cookies. They're wonderful too! But I do look forward to the cold easing up back to a respectable -15C or so and getting back into the studio.
There are many projects awaiting completion in there - things are waiting to be presented to the world...
How is your winter going so far?