Friday, December 6, 2013

Morning Update - Pissed off Pets

Pretty much no creature is happy or amused around the Small-Hold today. It's cold, like about 18 degrees and windy. We avoided any ice or snow except for some flakes and mist here and there. The wood furnace has been eating the firewood like candy and at times I have felt like an old steam engine fireman throwing chunks into the box but I have kept the house mostly in the comfortable 70's. Occasionally when the wind dies down it gets a bit over hot but that's the downside to burning wood, you can't really turn it off when conditions change.

As I have mentioned before eventually in a real grid down situation I would be retiring the wood furnace and just using the internal wood stove to heat one room only. Heating the entire house with wood all Winter is definitely a grid up, fuel and small engine available project. No way I could feed that furnace with only hand tools and muscle power.

The outside guard dog is depressed. He came inside a bit this morning but was soon so nervous and whining by the door we let him back out. Poor guy hates Winter because he really has only one goal in life which is to be around humans outside only for at least 16 full hours a day. After a couple of days of cold or rain he mopes around with his tail down like his world has ended.

The feline management staff prefer to only come inside for sleeping and eating and have ordered me to burn enough wood to at least heat the yard up for their lounging pleasure. When they finally force themselves out into the cold they have been jumping up onto the blower pipe of the wood furnace and laying on it like their own personal management perch where they scan the yard with a scowl. We moved their bed-basket things so they are in front of the main blower which is good for their sleeping comfort but every hour or so they demand I let them out so they can check to see if it warmed up any. Sometimes all they do is run to the door and when I open it a crack they look up at me like I am pond scum and then scurry back to their beds.

They are not happy and do not understand why I am not fixing this cold problem. They demand results. They have also taken up some fascination with the food bowls. Before they used to just come in and eat whatever was in the bowl and then go back out. Now if they can see the bottom of the bowl they demand it be refilled even if there is plenty in there. 

The cold temps do act like a peacekeeping force with the barn cats however. They have set aside old rivalries and now seem content to live closely in the hay loft together.

Guess it's time to put on the real Winter clothes and go out and work on something or I will feel guilty the rest of the day. More to come tonight.

Keep Prepping Everyone.


  1. If god is a cat, you are most certainly going to heaven. If not, I'll see you in Hades :)

    1. Carolyn - I must say what I find most amusing about cats is how they operate. They show up kinda slinking around and fearful so you know deep down they realize they are prey. Then they find every way they can to worm their way into your life and dazzle you with their utility and admiration. Once they are convinced you like them and will let them stay.... you become Pond Scum!!!

      Actually they are a lot like some women I dated back in college :)

  2. Why not build a passive solar house, getting the majority of your heating & cooling needs can be met with almost no effort on your part. Getting to 50% is simple and you can get 80% without any exotic materials or designs. 20% of the wood is probably a lot more doable.

    Just throw some books and blogs on the subject into your regular reading list and in about a year it will make sense. There are only about 15 tools in the toolbox and it is just a matter of how you combine them on your project. A prerry good intro is "The Solar House" by Daniel Chiras. It is a solid book and his personal views don't shine through too much; almost all the good practitioners are effing left wing nuts so that is important.

    Also have you tried a fiskars axe? I have thier hatchet and an axe and you would be amazed at how well they work. A well made tool makes all the diffrence in the world.


    P.s. On the tablets from a few posts back. I put cyanogen mod 7 on a nook and it worked ok, so do kindles. However, there is no comparing them to the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 that I am typing this on. It runs the nook app, the kindle app, as well as FRBreader for free public domain books all at the same time with no self serving conflicts. For $120 it can't be beat.

    1. Dan - I been kicking around the idea of getting an actual tablet and trying to just run the aps. Wasn't sure if it would work or not. A tablet would probably solve my portable around the farm internet needs well.

      As for the house. The decision for the type of house is above my pay grade although I will pretend to be happy by the choice and openly say I helped in that choice. I stretched my credit to the max by insisting on a conversion to concrete and metal roof. Any other suggestion must first pass the esthetics council of one.

      I have a Friskars axe as a matter of fact. It really never impressed me as being that much better than a regular axe although it does seem to be more notch resistant. There is still no way I am cutting and hauling a cord of wood a week with any hand tools. Not happening.

  3. Cold weather gives everybody something to think about, including the animals. It is still really warm here, about 75 outside. Bad thunderstorm last night and I got about two inches of rain here, despite the fact that the Weather Channel predicted a quarter to half inch. Heard several big trees fall during the night but haven't gone out to try to see where they are. Hopefully, not across the trail going down the mountain.

    1. Harry - That would be bad if it blocked you in. I would trade anything for a warm thunderstorm right now.

  4. It has been too hot to burn wood here a very nice change. You are right about one room and a wood stove. In the old days they cut with cross cut saws but had lots of manpower which we don't have. They built small rooms and closed off hallways with blankets. When the wind blows and it is in the 20s, nothing helps but fire. We have a warning that we will get your weather on Sunday.

    1. SF - I went almost all of last week without burning a fire so I guess this is catch up.

      I tried getting out and even made it so far as to taking an inventory of wood odds and ends. Then I just said it's too damned cold and came back inside.

      Suppose to warm up a little bit tomorrow but not getting into the 40's in the foreseeable future yet. I can handle 30's working in the shop..just not teens.

  5. PP,

    I had a hard time getting the dog to go out. Ended up carrying the little guy out, and putting a leash on to get him to stay outside to do his business. He wasn't happy with me when he was done. He slid across the porch on ice to get to the door, and back inside. Mean Mommy!!!!


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