Hello from an increasingly chilly house in an increasingly chilly landscape! This first week of serious cold has been an interesting one for 2 main reasons: our furnace doesn't work well, and lots of farm-related outdoor tasks can no longer be done because the ground is fully frozen and there is ice and snow on the ground. The furnace will hopefully be more operational soon, but for now it is running with the front panels removed, as well as the burner cover, which makes me nervous. It's set up this way because the system needs a ton of oxygen in order to produce a sufficiently hot flame, which is only possible if the cover is partially removed and the burners open to the room. (Learning about furnaces!)
I've been thinking about the basement lately, and yesterday the crusty ceiling panels in the central part of it were removed, revealing multiple rodent skeletons, some partial dried corncobs (presumably grown across the road), and another long crustacean-looking skeleton. I removed the tees (learned a word!) and discovered the main tee was well attached to the joists with a sophisticated system of somewhat loose screws and wire.
I also removed about 20 pounds of dust/sand that N. and his father kindly collected before I arrived, and opened the door to welcome Rose, who meowed loudly as always and immediately threw herself down and rolled in the remaining dust.
The crop field feels so different frozen! We managed to mulch our small garlic patch earlier this week, just before the arrival of heavy rains and later snow and cold air.
Finally, I've shamelessly put up xmas lights, after not having done so in over a decade! We have single-color strands, red, white, green, and blue, and there is one of these on 4 respective limbs of a tree in front of the house. There is also a star on the dairy barn, which out in the country looks incredibly bright, and is quite visible from the road.
The best part of the star is that I get to take a frigid walk out to the dairy barn each night with a flashlight, which is when it strikes me most how different this setting is from any other in which I've lived.
Thanks for reading!