We are starting to get things together for the cold season around here, even though today was in the high 70's, I am thinking snow and heating fuel.
The wood stove that was ordered is late and we will not get it until the end of October now, which is probably a good thing since we have not been able to save enough to have the proper chimney installed yet. The current pipe for the pellet stove extends horizontally out of the front of the house, running right along side of the stone porch wall. The chimney for the wood stove must go straight up the side of the house and extend a certain number of feet past the top of the roof, which is pretty high. This requires a lot of pipe and someone who knows what they are doing to install it.
I am sad about this because, even though the wood stove was a "surprise", I got used to the idea of having one and was looking forward to it. I was looking forward to the simple operation instead of the constant tinkering and adjusting that must be done with our pellet stove. But it looks like we will have one more year of questionable heating from the pellets.
So I called the heating oil guy. I hate calling the heating oil guy. It makes me feel like such a failure as a homesteader, all be it a modern one. I am relaying on an outside source to heat my home and having to pay money that I don't really have for a product that I have serious reservations about using in the first place. I don't even want people to see that big truck in my driveway.
We will make due with the same arrangement we had last winter - using the pellet stove as much as possible and having the oil heat in reserve. But we will probably end up using most of the oil since the pellet stove will most likely break down after about the first few weeks of use.
In other winter-prep news, I have been doing something else that I hate - asking for help. With the new baby coming in about two weeks, all the fall chores that I usually do have not been done due to lack of time, ability and energy. Dad to the rescue. Most of the seasonal items in the yard have been stored away in the barn, the garden has had a massive cleanup with the compost bin overflowing, the heavy lifting is done, the list of projects is all but a series of cross-off lines, and even the ancient dinosaur AC unit has been put away.
This year the winter prep has also included new-baby-prep as well. I have been cleaning out and donating a ton to Goodwill and basically reducing the house to the bare minimum of essentials. I want housecleaning to be as simple as possible and I want all chores to go as smoothly and efficiently as they can. I am getting things as simplified as they can get and I am even sacrificing good decorating sense to do it. It looks pretty strange having a baby bottle warmer and baskets of bottles right out on the kitchen counter 24/7 but it will be a lot easier to have it out and ready instead of digging things out of cupboards and drawers all day.
Same thing with laundry. In a massive effort I have managed to completely clear off the counter top in my laundry room and it will now be used for its intended purpose - to sort, fold and stack clean laundry.
I am continuing to apply this 'simple' ideal to every room in the house to allow for maximum production and time saving, even if it means my home will not be a shining example of glossy Better Homes and Gardens photo shoots. I will have plenty of time for that in years to come.
Right now, it is all about function and keeping my sanity, while being able to find a clean towel and a sippy cup in short order.
Oh, and not freezing this December.