Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about
living in Toronto again, which is almost
day during the winter]
Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when
I need a positive spin on things past, present
[This is where I go to see what Canadians
are up to, sometimes I even buy things from
the businesses listed there.]
Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning,
and before every road trip during the winter]
It is 5:30 a.m. I am sitting at my desk looking out the window. The moon is bright and the first snow thinly blankets the landscape beyond the glass.
Gratitude. I am warm.
Joy. I have found work.
Peace. For the moment.
Our masonry heater is a wonder. It took five days to cure it, burning four or five small fires throughout each day to drive out moisture and prepare the core for the intense heat of a full burn. The curing began on October 9 and within two days the house was 18 degrees centigrade. It has since ranged from 16 to 22 degrees centigrade, depending on how much wood we used in the firings the day before. What truly amazes me is that the heat is so evenly distributed, even the back bedroom is comfortably warm.
Last winter we heated the house with the little cast iron wood stove downstairs. It took tremendous care to keep the house heated, the fire needed to be fed every 30 to 40 minutes. We were not comfortable with a fire burning as we slept, so it was out for six or seven hours each night. By morning the house had chilled to around 10 to 12 degrees centigrade, colder in the bedrooms. When it was extremely cold (-37 degrees centigrade) we just stayed up most of the night feeding the wood stove. Nine cords of wood were used over the winter.
The masonry heater burns two to three fires a day, using a maximum of 50 pounds of wood per fire and 100 pounds of wood per day. That means the fire is tended a maximum of three times a day. Each firing burns intensely for one to two hours, depending on the type and quantity of wood used. Yesterday we did two 30 pound firings.
We are using wood Attila felled on our property. Since it is but autumn, the temperatures are still relatively mild, hovering around freezing at night. The wood used right now need not provide maximum heat output, so that we are using less dense woods such as pine and poplar. In the dead of winter we will burn oak and maple.
Attila fells, sections, splits, stacks and totes the wood. Two or three times a day he piles thirty pounds of split wood before the masonry heater. Then it is my turn to rake the ashes, build the fire, set it and ensure that we get a good burn.
The masonry heater works wonderfully well. Over the last weeks I have learned a lot about how to build fires using different kinds of wood. I have found that the type of wood affects how it splits, and that in turn affects how the fire must be built. I find it easiest to build oak and maple fires, and slightly more challenging to build poplar, pine and birch fires. In all cases however, the top down burn is extremely effective in getting a good, energy efficient burn.
And so our winter ritual has been established. Attila selects and delivers the wood, I build and light the fire. Then it is time to sit with our tea and coffee before the blaze. We gaze into the flames, grateful all the while for the warmth, for each other and for all our good fortune.
|RECIPES :: Cast
Last of the Leaves
By the Easy Chair
by Marion Meade
On the Screen
Time 9:00 A.M. EDT
Wind E 7 km/h
Rel Humidity 87%
Pressure 101.42 kPa