Monday, January 31, 2011

Keeping warm

The cold winter appears to be passing as we reach the beginning of February. The evenings are just beginning to get a bit lighter. The past three days have been - relatively - mild, and I've been able to inspect the January garden.

I can report that there's not much growth in evidence, yet. But these early snowdrops are making an effort to come through.

The ugly box in the background hides the oil tank for my central heating. This ran non stop in December and early January as the cottage dried out after its soaking. As you know this was successful, but expensive. The fastest thing moving at Skip was the level of the oil in the tank! Given that heating oil has doubled in price since last year, I admit that I just cannot afford the luxury of central heating all the time now the emergency is over.

Fortunately I have alternatives and when I'm at home a woodburning stove keeps the main room of the cottage warm and comfortable. I have a chainsaw and trestle, and all the gear, to keep a good stock of firewood. That's been the job these past three days. The odd tree and wayward branch has come down, and been chopped, stored in the woodshed, hopefully to provide warmth NEXT winter. And why is it that I always find myself singing this song?

Sycamores grow fast, and have been pollarded in the garden before. These two trunks in the foreground are now stacked away. I've decided to leave the really old rowan on the left, but it is definitely in its silver years! The multiple trunks of the sycamore at the bottom will provide wood sometime in the future too.

I have a number of trees growing on in pots to be planted out in this north facing slope soon. I would really like to carve a path through this part of the garden this year. Perhaps I should make that the main task for 2011.

Given that the room has bare concrete floor and bare plaster walls at the moment it has the feel of a bothy! The stove adds to the effect. Mind you the flat screen telly makes it a very high class 'bothy'!

Today though the stove had to be lifted as the hearth stones (of Corncockle sandstone) had been laid over the laminate flooring. All have to come up. The stove meanwhile is away having a service!

In case you are wondering, I inherited the rather unique fireplace!

Wallpaper purchase is imminent, and the way forward is now apparent.

Pics © Skip Cottage

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