As is my new custom, I’m sitting at the table looking out the big window at the winter weather, and I’m sweating. The new stove is amazing, but way too large for my little cabin. A wealth of heat is not necessarily a bad thing in my circumstance, but knowing that the interior of the cabin is a temperature that in the summer I would deem too hot is a little disconcerting.
I open one of the windows a little more, since all four windows that open are already open. I’m greeted with sounds that are both welcome and unwelcome at the same time. The sound of snow and ice dripping off of the roof is nice, but the sound of freezing rain joining the melting is unpleasant. I woke up to about a half-inch of ice covering everything, and while I by no means got the worst of this storm, it is not enjoyable to be living through another ice storm. I can also hear the small stream out back, rushing like crazy. The stream really only flows in the spring normally, and to hear it running now makes a constant sound of traffic. It is eerily out of place here.
Around noon today I went out and started my car. I wanted to get as much ice off of it as possible before the second round of rain/sleet/freezing rain began. It was only a little below freezing, so the ice started to peel off, but because it was so thick, it took me most of an hour with the defroster and an ice scraper to get to the point where I could theoretically drive. The radio playing in the car told me to stay off the roads for unnecessary travel. But I was out of beer.
I had other reasons for making the four mile trip to the store. I only had a little gas in the car, and just in case I needed to use it as a generator for a few days, I figured I better fill it up. I also wanted to get the paper, and of course find out the gossip from whoever was working. I quickly discovered that the most dangerous part of my journey was the driveway. The main roads were fine, but I took it slow anyway.
I got back to the cabin and read the paper and did the crossword. Well, most of the crossword. Okay, some of the crossword. I found out at the store that we didn’t get the brunt of the storm. I’m glad for that, and that everyone around here seems to have power still. Not that it affects me, but everyone else I know relies on the power and phone lines.
It’s not that I got off scott-free though. My firewood is wet. Not all of it, but a decent portion anyway. The old metal roofing that I used had holes in it when I put it up over the summer, but during the summer and fall rains, very little water leaked through the roof and into the shed. The problem this time is that the eight inches of snow on top of the shed got iced up and couldn’t drain fast enough. Every little hole in the roofing started to leak, and that’s the end of that. There’s nothing I can do at this point short of moving all nine face cords or so into another shed that now contains tools, an old woodstove and lots of other crap. Not that I would move all that wood anyway, but that’s my only option.
I’ve been picking and choosing the dry pieces farther down in the wood stacks. I’ve also brought a bunch of the wet wood inside and stacked it behind the stove. That should dry it out pretty quickly. The biggest problem is that this weather is supposed to continue through the night and into tomorrow. After that it’s going to be bitter cold again. The cold will freeze the water onto the wood, and I’ll be thawing firewood for the rest of the winter. This is not something I’m looking forward to.
You’d think that after a full two years out here, I’d have all this figured out. But I don’t, and I’m okay with that. It’s a process, a learning experience. I’ve made many, many things better out here, but there’s some things I just can’t control. Like the ridiculous temperature swings. It’s sixty degrees warmer than it was last weekend, and by the middle of the week, it’s supposed to be almost fifty degrees colder than it is now. At least I don’t have to worry about the stove keeping it warm enough during the cold streaks. I just have to worry about having dry wood to put in the stove.
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that this is the one-hundredth essay I’ve written in the Cabin Life series. I never expected the amount of readers that have found my stories interesting. Thank you for reading, I hope you get as much enjoyment out of these essays as I do. Thank You.