Picturesque, its native stone dominating the living room, I've never shown you my fireplace because it doesn't cross my mind. Last lighted in 1991 as testified by the tenants before me, it blasted hot soot throughout the cabin,
Estimate for re-lining and repair: $8000, and the landlord wouldn't pay, or for the cost of running and installing a new propane pipe for a gas fire. Because critters came down the chimney and died behind the glassed-in hearth--here covered by a blue wintertime sheet of custom-cut insulation--I had the chimney sealed. The huge crack up the front was there when I moved in, and I shuddered in its draft for 13 winters, until this very day when I caulked it with caulk that's white when first applied but turns transparent. I also filled holes in the native rock, unworried about resale value. This cabin was not built for year-round occupancy and some say the chimney was faulty from the first.
Fireplaces are wonderful, so romantic--and they suck the heat out of the room, require careful maintenance and tending and the bringing in of wood, and I wish mine were the fireplace it aspired to be, but it isn't.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Driving into St. Francois State Park for a hike with the gang I saw shredded white plastic bags scattered in the road shoulders and wondered who'd done that, and at the Mooner's Hollow trailhead I was told, "That's not litter. Go look at those. They're ice flowers."
|How the stems split|
|Photog with flower|
Ice flowers are unique to autumn and early winter. We were so absorbed in their wild beauty--like fabric netting, like ribbon candy--that a 2.5 mile hike took us two hours to complete.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
To my amazement the checker--his nametag said "Rein"--measured and cut the boards himself, perfectly, in five minutes, and I was so grateful I snapped his photo to show you.
Then I had to get the boards -- 6 feet by 3.5, and a smaller one--into the Corolla. Smaller piece, fine. Larger one wouldn't fit in the trunk or back seat, nohow; always six inches too long. For 15 minutes I kept pulling it out of the car trying different angles, wrestling it as it acted like a sail in the gusty winds. I was about to razor 12 inches off the long side and try to repair it later when a man came up to me and said, "I see you're struggling with that. I will put it in my truck and follow you home with it." I wanted to accept his offer, but GPS had brought me so far from home that my area was far out of his way.
So we both worked on fitting the board into the car, bending it as much as 3/4" foam board can bend, at one point accidentally breaking off a corner of it, until I said, "It's no use. I will just have to make a a cut." But then he adjusted the board and suddenly it fit and didn't obscure the entire rear window either. I didn't take his picture, but you know he was kind. Maybe an angel.
GPS in its wisdom had known all along it was taking me to the only place where two different people would help me.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
1. Buy a lot of tops and change them daily. Retail prices are hugely inflated ($40 for a tee?) so I bought my collection on eBay, many "worn only once." They were cheap, probably, because of the problem UnderArmour denies.
2. Wash them with GearAid's "Mirazyme Odor Eliminator," or a similar product meant to remove the stink from tents, backpacks, waders, and anything skunked. Set the washer to soak, squeeze in a few drops of enzyme, soak the clothes for 5 minutes, spin 'em, hang them to dry and you'll be eucalyptus-fresh. The more you do this the less the shirts will smell, until they're totally tamed.
Monday, November 10, 2014
|From the inside|
|From the outside|
This year I began winterizing in August, hoping to use bubble wrap as window insulation--the Internet said it was great. I'd done major spray-styrofoam and caulking when a smart and personable, loyal, humorous, and occasionally prosaic engineer friend visited and said bubble wrap wouldn't work and that in winter he put foam-board insulation over his north-facing windows.
So he did it for most of my windows. The bedroom has pink insulation and some daylight does get through it as you can see. I insulated two doors and left one door and window clear so I could watch the road and the bird feeders.
From outside the house looks either abandoned or under construction, but I don't live outside, I live inside. Or want to. I'm hoping, hoping, because tomorrow comes the test: The season's first polar blast.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Bosh. I'm not dead yet. Stunningly beautiful, soft and windproof, does not snag, $51, and so durable you will be able to cremate me in it. Wore it on a sharply chilly night and learned it is not a substitute for a down-filled or technical parka, but it awes everyone and it's a piece of clothing that inspires me to live up to it.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Jackets for spring and fall bind my arms, or are either too heavy or too light, too short or too long, or they're okay for fishing but you need a different one for town; some are too nice or stiff to tramp through messy woods with, or not water-resistant. I haven't had a good spring or fall jacket for years because I can't find one that fulfills my every need.
Seeking alternatives I bought my first poncho, 100 percent alpaca knit, in the wine color I favor. For $16 on eBay how could I go wrong?
It's perfect in every way, like being embraced by a blanket--a warm, nice, secure one--and it goes everywhere, indoors or outdoors, casual or town. It's flattering. It's as warm as you want it to be; flip it up around your neck to catch your torso some cooling breezes. Alpaca, like cashmere, is close to indestructible, nonflammable, soft, natural, and nice. A poncho is not like a shawl or ruana; I don't have to be an artist to wear it or keep it on. People compliment it and ask if they can touch it. People want to buy a poncho for themselves. How great is that? I can foresee myself bundling it up and using it as a pillow on a plane. I've had it just over a week and I might actually look forward to winters now, with a poncho to comfort me. I'm totally at peace when I wear it.