incredible winter weather
While it’s been so nice outside, we’ve been continuing to work on the house,
using the cork siding scraps to replace the foam sections of our façade.
This weekend, we worked on the coldest, dampest, shadiest part of our house,
the section on the North side where the bathroom joins to the kitchen,
which turned out to be a much larger project than we originally hoped.
This section of wall was filled with styrofoam and spray insulation foam,
and besides being an eyesore, it was very welcoming to the mice,
who easily bored a hole through the mishmash of foam,
which caused the wood directly underneath to rot,
allowing them, and anything else, an access into the bathroom wall.
So after scraping out all of the old foam,
Mohamed cut away and replaced a section of rotted wood,
and added two more panels of wood that were missing.
Then another tube of silicon to seal the seams and fill the mouse-holes,
and the roofline of the kitchen and the far wall of our bedroom.
Then we cut and fitted the cork into the cleared out space,
which will hopefully keep the bathroom warmer,
since the mouse-hole went directly from the outside into the bathroom,
into a section of spray foam surrounding the sewage pipe next to the toilet,
causing an unpleasant draft during the cool morning hours.
Otherwise, during the Fruit time, I finished weeding and mulching all of the old fruit trees,
so they should be prepared for any cold spells that might befall us before Spring.
And Marmalade and I planted more peas and snow peas in the garden.
And I spent the afternoon moving and arranging natural cork pieces around our house
(I’ve found a huge pile of cork bark while clearing away the blackberries from the ruin,
some large sheets, great for the sidewalk, some smaller flat pieces for stepping stones,
and some hollowed-out rounds, perfect to fill with soil and use as planters.
Meanwhile, the birdsong and warm weather has really been invigorating…
never did we imagine the weather would be so nice here!
Speaking of birds, we have a small robin who keeps coming to visit,
at first stopping at the doorstep, but recently venturing further,
under the table in the living room, then exploring everywhere; and frequently,
several times a day walking into a room and seeing him perched on something.
Since yesterday it turned into Root time,
I started soaking some organic rainbow beet seeds
for sowing this afternoon after Marmalade returned from school.
She gets a bit impatient while I’m preparing the soil,
but she’s very diligent while planting,
ensuring the seeds go where they should
and covering over them once planted.
She’s shown so much growth while gardening.
(Thanks Dad for the seeds!)
This morning was our coldest yet, frost everywhere,
even our pond had a thin layer of ice on top.
Our water lines were frozen until mid-morning,
but the house remained relatively warm from the fire the night before,
so I guess all the cork siding and silicon caulking has worked.
A little after dawn, the sun started melting the frost on the hillside,
and by mid-morning the sun was hot, it became a really warm day.
So much so that we decided to seek shade for our afternoon project:
felling a tree in the woods.
Awhile back, after a windstorm,
I noticed a dead eucalyptus tree leaning across a trail in the woods.
It was a big tree, and already dead, so perfect for firewood,
and yielding enough wood for us to keep warm all winter,
probably with extra for cooking out in the Springtime.
It was solid, hard as hell to saw through,
and hard to actually get to the ground,
as the top was caught up on the hillside across the path.
But eventually we got it into pieces and dragged it home.
All in all. it was a lovely afternoon in the woods,
with the birdsong and the babbling stream,
and the incredible smell of eucalyptus in bloom.
There was a bumper sticker I once saw in Vermont:
“cut your own wood and it warms you twice”
I like collecting firewood: finding it, sawing it, dragging it home.
I like building fires, I like the bone-warming heat they provide,
the glow, the whispery wind through the stove when the flames flare up…
What an incredible winter.