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the first few years i used just the open fireplace, like the olden days, when it was also the kitchen hearth, big enough to throw huge logs on, (i imagine a big benefit when everything had to cut and split by hand). unfortunately it's up agin an outside wall, and so you'd freeze yer tits off while warming yer back, and viceversa, 90% of the heat went straight up the chimney, and when the northwind -la tramontana- would blow down it, well, an exercise in sentimental futility was what it was, tho' i used a lot of fallen branches and beefy chunks of free offcuts from the lumberyard that would have need a lot of work to get into a stove, so that was good.

there's a furniture factory that will give away as much compressed wood shavings as you can take for free, when autumn comes around they start to sell it, 5€ for a widdle box that would last about an hour, as it was bonedry.

i keep meaning to get a friend with a truck to go and stock up on it while it's free, but haven't got around to it yet...

then i had radiators and a propane boiler put in, spent ridiculous and escalating costs for three years, €4000-7000!!!!, then gave it up in favour of a woodstove, which heated the water as well with a backboiler.

that worked great for the water, but not so much for ambient heating, and i'd shiver through the winter, lotsa sweaters, bracing walks and work outside to keep circulation high...very lonesome though as only for the hardcore....sometimes cut off by snow for a couple of weeks, had to park about a mile away. after 23 years of tropical winters, cold was a novelty, it bounced right off, and come spring i'd roll around on the grass in the sun, and locals would wag their fingers, saying i'd get arthritis or rheumatism for sure...

and sure enough i did after a few years...muscles'd get rigid, lower back issues kicking in, whacking on the drums sometimes to warm up enough to play guitar or piano, got good at playing with joints feeling brittle as glass, stop, blow on hands, continue 5 more minutes...

sleeping i don't mind the cold in the room, love the windows open even subzero, as long as the heating pad works....lifesavers, those guys...

between a hot meal, hot bath, and a warm bed i'd grimace and bear it....sure made spring a visceral experience....

bone-level anticipation...

this year i decided to upgrade stoves to one the maker swears will make the whole three floor cottage toasty warm, serve as an oven for breads or casseroles, as well as sort the hot water, and the radiators too!

this i'll believe when it happens!

i have been very surprised how well his stoves work in friends' houses, so chose to go with his system. the other stoves i saw of his had a double metal jacket and a small pump driving air through it and out into the room, mine he says will not need to use that principle.

i had some tiles handpainted for the outside, and they were finally ready today, so i expect the stove will be here next week, well in time for the first frosts.

getting ready for the final tile firing:

i'm especially looking forward to cooking with it, thus saving gas, which goes fast when you like to bake...

and being able to have more of a social life at home wintertime!

i had double glazed windows put in back in the early 90's when i first restored, now they use triple around here. i had the roof insulated, don't remember how thick it was, thick enough anyway.

wood is dirt cheap here, as in go outside and cut it...to buy it can cost an average house more than 1000 € a winter, still w-a-y cheaper than gas, which can easily go 4 times that much.

to get the new solar panels on i'm going to have to move the chimney, so i hope it draws as well as it used to.

since there is no stove hooked up to the 'double serpentine' water tank, i've been relying only on the solar panels to heat the house water, which i got away with since august, only having to heat bath and dishwater by gas on three days since then.

i'd ripped out the old gas heater, swearing a blue streak at my folly, so i did it on the cooker.

we have had an unusually sunny autumn so far, yet we need rain for the water table, so i want my luck to hold a few more days!

the ground floor used to be animal stalls, so the open fireplace is on the second floor, i'm thinking of putting the woodstove i originally had downstairs up in the open fireplace and dedicating it for a hot tub, since it does such a good job with water...it's a 'villager', brought in from merry england about 8 years ago.

i do need to make some thick drapes and curtains also, to deal with the odd draft, and just cuz they're nice, then some wooden shutters for the doors and windows would be optimal.

it never ends....

if it keeps getting warmer, all this might be moot...

last year was the first my geraniums stayed alive all year, not flowering, but alive!


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 17th, 2007 at 02:03:58 PM EST

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