Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Work of a January Day

The kitchen is filled with the heady aroma of forced paperwhites in bloom. The little pop of color is a welcome treat in these winter days filled with early sunsets. 
We are filling our time with various projects around the house, including cleaning up the mortar on our  newly exposed chimney. Our family is addicted to the heat from our woodstove. We congregate beside it all day forming plans and executing ideas. We choose to keep the remainder of the house quite chilly in order to conserve cash in the form of payouts to the oil company to run our boiler. Last winter we were forced to stop using the woodstove for a spell while the older chimney was properly lined with an aptly named product called a Supaflu, which only sounds good pronounced with a proper Maine accent. The other necessary renovation included removing the drywall from the chimney to eliminate fire hazards. The chimney is a little rough so Flora asked for some eye protection and a hammer and we cleaned it up. 

Keeping warm in Maine in the winter while being mindful of both your wallet and your carbon footprint can be a full time occupation. But, we enjoy the work of cutting wood (she says by the woodstove while he's out cutting!) and the unbeatable cozy warmth provided by the fire. The next step is to install a register to the second floor to allow some of the luxury of the wood heat to penetrate our second level. 

 In addition to the pre-occupation to stay warm, we are also contemplating the tractor/equipment situation. This International 140 will soon be equipped with a 3 point hitch, allowing us more versatility next season in using attachments. We ordered a root washer from Grindstone Farm and are planning a road trip through the Adirondacks to pick it up. Also, John is eager to acquire a flame weeder as a rear mount to the tractor and a root lifter. Both of these will be made for the farm. The vegetable seed order is almost finished and now the focus will be on the flower seed and FEDCO tree sale orders. Included on the list for the tree order: Asian pears, more peaches and some woody ornamentals that can be used as cut flowers. The pick up for the FEDCO sale is always a great time to see old friends and browse the options. In addition, planting trees even in our rental situation feels like a great investment in the future of farming here on this property.

Geraniums are flourishing on the south side and the Christmas cactus (actually not a member of the Cacti family at all) is sending out a most appreciated second bloom.

Blessings on the meal-

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