My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, February 1, 2010

frosty inside and out

Happy February!

I bid farewell to January with a small sample from its final, mehitable week...

Our weather was quite mild and sunny during most of January. So wouldn't you know, our pellet stove developed an alarming "death rattle" last Wednesday evening, just as our long stretch of warm weather was poised to turn bitter. We determined that the noise was coming from the control box, the pellet stove's computer "brain." Uh-oh.

That crazy-making thumping noise? That ain't right. It's a
"your main source of warmth will self-destruct in 2 days" warning.

The local place that installed it several years ago is no longer in the pellet stove business and so no longer services the ones they sold when they were in the pellet stove business. (Insert grumbling noises here). The nearest technician is nearly 50 miles away (at $1 a mile each way), booked for days, and doesn't stock parts. So when our pellet stove has a problem, we mail order our parts and do the repairs ourselves. (By "ourselves" I mean BW, but I lend critical moral support and ask terribly helpful questions!) ;-) So we ordered a new control box Thursday but it won't be here till Wednesday. And while at first the pellet stove's symptoms were annoying but manageable - the noise, a rather wild flame upon start-up, and a blower that wouldn't turn itself off - things deteriorated Saturday morning. By then, the pellet stove refused to ignite but happily filled itself full of pellets till BW discovered it had gone feral and turned it off!

So we've had no heat upstairs since then, other than electric baseboard heaters (ugh) to keep the bedroom and bathrooms warm while the temperature plummeted to 10º, our high yesterday. If we'd had sunshine it would have been okay, but we've been cloaked in thick, freezing fog since Saturday night. While not as easy to appreciate under the circumstances, it's one of those fogs that flocks everything so prettily, like my dream catcher and the ash tree from which it dangles...

The rest of the upstairs fell to 60º by Saturday night, where it has held pretty steady. Oddly, if it were 60º OUTside, I'd be commenting on how balmy it is! Why is it that 60º INside feels so chilly?! It's been a challenge to stay comfy...

Since having the oven on helps, we've been using it a lot the past few days ~ baking yams, pizza, pumpkin bread and this delicious tofu (which we prefer uncoated and bake on an unoiled, dark nonstick baking sheet). We can keep the downstairs den warm, with its fireplace and propane wall furnace, but with the exception of the computer station, we've spent the past week emptying the den of everything because of the ceiling project that was supposed to begin today, but now had to be bumped to the 11th. *sigh*

Oh well, things, as usual, could be worse... our weather is supposed to turn warm and sunny again tomorrow... and meanwhile, at least our bathrooms don't look like this! ;-)

from Chris Larson's multimedia creation "Deep North"

So, keeping fingers briskly rubbed together as well as crossed that our new control box shows up on time and does the trick, I'm off to make a hot lunch, a pot of tea, and retreat under the blankets in my warm bedroom to finish my latest library book. May you all be staying warm and cozy, inside and out! :-)


  1. What a week you are having. First the finger, then the glasses, now the pellet stove. Well, that is your three bad things you should be finished now. Fingers crossed!

    stay warm,

    p.s. I offer those same helpful suggestions when Dan is doing things around the house. ;)

  2. Oh, Alicia - If only the gremlins had limited themselves to three things last week! (By my count there were six things - the gremlins were double-dipping!)

    And would you believe I cut that same thumb again this weekend? (Not nearly as badly, and not in the same spot... but close!) Is this the Universe's way of telling me to eat out more? LOL

    Making helpful suggestions to the person doing all the dirty work is a lot harder job than it appears, wouldn't you agree? ;-)

  3. Six things in one week is just completely wrong. I thought three was a "universal rule" of misfortune.

    I can't believe you cut your thumb again. Time to use the food processor more! ;) Or ..... BW could make even more pizza!

    My husband thinks rolling his eyes at the person making the helpful suggestions is the most difficult part of the process. These tasks usually end with Dan asking me to go retrieve something or make him food. He knows too well how to get rid of me. ;)


  4. Yeah, Alicia, I think three things going wrong IS the universal rule of misfortune, and the gremlins doubling up like that was just plain mean! (Maybe they were calculating it as 3 for me and 3 for BW, which I consider cheating). ;-)

    Yes, BW should make more pizza! BRILLIANT!

    Dan's pretty smart, he figured out a win-win scenario for himself... he gets rid of you while he's working on something and then gets to eat something yummy when he's finished! Bright boy. ;-)

    My glasses are repaired (yay!) so I'm going to go fetch them today. I've had my fill of this Mr. Magoo schtick. Enjoy your day!

  5. Yay, on your glasses being repaired so quickly.

    chat with you later,


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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