Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas from the Cabin!!!!

Merry CHRISTmas everyone.

We've been busy at the cabin... not as busy as we should be - we have lots of 8" aspen tongue & groove & drywall that's begging to be put up in the living room. I'm not sure why we didn't finish it. Now it's COLD & the generator doesn't really want to run in below freezing temperatures but we have to run the generator so we can use the power tools.

We've taken a "vacation" from the cabin - coming back to Nebraska to spend Christmas & New Years with our family & friends. Strangely enough, since we arrived here on Monday night, the weather at the cabin is nicer than it is here.

WATER: As I probably mentioned at some point, we haul our water in 55 gallon barrels. As you can well imagine - the water has frozen. We also get water from an artesian well that's along the highway - collected in one and five gallon jugs. I use the water in the one gallon jugs for cooking/making hot drinks and the water from the 5 gallon jugs for washing dishes. Dishwater has to be heated up on the stove and is currently drained out of the sink into a 5 gallon bucket... and the gray water is then recycled, used for plants & such. Anyway, a couple weeks ago we had run out of water from the artesian well and there were dishes that needed to be washed. What's a girl to do? I took my 4-cup measuring cup, the big tea kettle & a stew pot out to the barrel and with hatchet in hand, started hacking away at the ice in one barrel. By the time I was done I had a hole about 10 inches across and 6 inches deep, 2 inches of ice chips on top... but I DID reach water. Icy water! I scooped water & ice out of the barrel with the measuring cup into the tea kettle & stew pot, put them on the stove to heat & decided to fill another pot for good measure. It's not the way I'd prefer to get water, but one does what one must!

WEATHER: We've been fortunate to have "decent" weather so far this winter. What does that mean? Well, I guess it means even though the overnight temperatures are below freezing and sometimes just below zero, but our woodstove keeps things pretty warm. We don't have an adjustable damper so the damper is either open or closed. We've learned to wear layers and have several blankets & quilts on our bed. We normally get the temperature between 60 - 65 degrees before we go to bed. We then take turns (whoever happens to wake up first) going downstairs to put more wood on the fire. I usually wake up when my nose gets cold! Most mornings the temperature inside is between 40-45 degrees. I know a lot of people would not think that acceptable, but quite frankly, we like sleeping in cooler temperatures & we don't find it so bad. Lower than 40 degrees - we don't like so much!

WIND: Typically the wind comes from the southwest where we live. Our cabin is built on piers and there is currently no skirting around the bottom of the cabin so the wind blows underneath the cabin. The floor is not yet insulated, nor does it have carpet yet so the floors are VERY cold and the cold seems to fill the space. I'm not sure what the wind velocity (is that right?) is but it sounds like it's about 50 mph most of the time. Because the cabin is two stories (Jerry says it's a story & a half) and stands just above the tops of the pinon trees, the wind hits the south and west sides of the cabin with full force. It's a bit un-nerving because it has a tendency to make the cabin shake a bit. We had a couple days where the wind blew like that - all day and all night. A little bit goes a long way! After listening to the wind howl and pound the cabin for hours one starts to get a bit nervous, crabby, antsy, and a lot of other things. My philosophy is that the wind is just one of many nuances of the Valley and we should embrace it - literally! Even if the wind doesn't blow 24/7, we really need to consider harnessing the power that it would generate.

WOOD: We've gone thru quite a bit of wood. We've discovered that the wood that is split burns much quicker than wood that has not been split. Unfortunately, we have quite a bit of split wood. We also have discovered that pinon burns HOTTER than pine or aspen. We're hoping to get a cord of pinon delivered after the first of the year.

WILDLIFE: With elk & deer season over, we've noticed an abundance of deer on the roads and in the sagebrush. We've only seen a few deer on our place. Jerry thinks that Skeeter is keeping them at bay. Skeeter IS a really good early warning system when there's "bad guys" (deer, rabbit, etc.) outside. Twice in the past month he has warned us late at night (okay, it gets dark at 4:30 & by 6:00 it's pitch black outside) that there's something outside. Both times we found the tell-tale signs of who our visitor was. The first was a bear - about 100 yards from our front door; the second was most likely a mountain lion or maybe a bobcat - about 100 feet from our front door. One neighbor told us that someone up the road had lost a dog to a mountain lion so we should be very aware if we have to go out after dark!

The cabin is home! It's where my heart is, where I feel alive, where I feel close to God. I'm looking forward to spring and getting more projects done - the list is long!

My prayer for you is that God will richly bless you this Christmas season and throughout the New Year.

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