Thursday, February 6, 2014

Let is Snow continued....

So, as if 4 inches of snow was not enough it snowed several more times that week.  I think that at one point we had from 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground.  One day we were below 0 degrees and another day we stayed around 0 degrees.  When the heat wave hit and we made it up to 24 degrees, we celebrated and the whole family played in the snow.  We were starting to get cabin fever and at one point had not went into town for 7 days.  Fortunately, we were stocked up on supplies and did not lose power or water due to frozen pipes.  This winter is one of the worst on record since the 1800s.  So much for global warming. 

Daddy filming, mommy pushing Stevie off a cliff, Hannah playing and Stevie just having fun


Kat and kids making a snowman

Stevie named him Snowflake, Hannah named him Olaf after the movie Frozen

Stumpy's Tree Service delivered $80 worth of White Oak

Hannah is ready for any emergencies that might arise


Ready.....   Aim........

Super model Hannah just styling around the house, she has been getting dressed by herself for a while now.

It is Feb 6th 2014 at 8pm.  Stevie suggested that we cook supper on our wood stove to save electricity.  Kat and I had purchased the stove to offset our heating costs and to be a backup for heating and cooking in the event of a power outage.  She took Stevie up on his offer and scrambled up some egg in just a few minutes.  This stove top could easily cook a whole meal.  We were quite impressed with its heating and cooking potential.

Well, it is 11pm and we just put a log in the wood stove to hold us over until the morning.  We had a full day yesterday working on the rental on top of the hill and will be back on it tomorrow.  Kat is in the kitchen doing some late night cleaning and I am catching up the blog.  We talked with mom today and everything seems to be going good down there.  Each day we add things to our checklist for our trip to Florida/Europe coming up in March and we accomplish other tasks that need to be done before we leave.  We will miss this place while on our once in a lifetime vacation. 

Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it Snow....

It has been a while since I have had a chance to update the blog.  Kat has been carrying the brunt of that while I have been doing outside chores.  This entry starts on Jan. 21st, a couple of days after the last entry.  We had several days of snow during this week.  We had recently purchased a wood stove to help heat the house and have an emergency back up heating source in case we lost power.  The heat pump that our home currently uses does not work well if the temperature goes below 35 degrees. 

The first two or three days we got about 4 inches of snow.


Time to get busy installing our pre-fab chimney system for the wood stove

Done in about 6 hours and Stevie approved

Time for a little test fire.....
Houston, we have ignition

Just in time for more cold weather and more snow....





Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blue Box is Home

   Last weekend we finally got to spend a couple of days working on our rental property. I have been cleaning the kitchen and Steve and Stevie were working outside on demolishing the greenhouse. The greenhouse was full of junk and did not look nice. Hannah kept running back and forth between inside and outside. We made good progress and made a list of items we need to buy to make minor repairs.
   Steve also continued to research online how to install a wood stove. We had someone come in on Monday to give us an estimate on wood stove installation. He was very unprofessional and really did not know much about the process. He said that they would get back to us on Thursday or Friday with an estimate but we have not heard back from him. It does not matter whether they get back to us or not as we have decided that Steve will install it himself. And he got started this week.

   Right now we are just waiting for a dry day to make the hole in the roof to install the chimney. We hope to be able to complete the installation on Monday.
   We were also waiting for a day when the ground is dry to bring the Big Blue Box home. We needed the grass area next to the drive way to be dry and firm so that we could turn around with the trailer. It snowed on Friday and the temperature never got above freezing on Saturday. That meant that the ground stayed firm enough and we went to the storage place to get the trailer. 

Trailer hooked up and ready for the final trip

We made it

The Blue Box is almost empty

Little helpers

   The trailer is now empty and all of hour belongings are in the house. We will clean the trailer up and paint the floor of the trailer and then put it up for sale. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Field Trip to Fire Station Number 9

   On Thursday, January 9th, we had a fun field trip. Kelly arranged a tour of fire station number 9 in Johnson City. The firefighters were happy to show us their station, truck and other equipment. We started out with a tour of the station, saw where the firefighters rest at night, heard the alarm that wakes them for a call, etc.
   After the tour of the station, we got to the exciting part - the fire truck. The two firefighters took time to show us all of the equipment as we worked our way around the truck. The kids had an opportunity to touch everything, climb on and inside the truck.

   After learning about all the equipment in the truck, one of the firefighters put on his gear so that the children could see what they wear when they go into a fire. They explained to the kids how they crawl to stay low to the ground and explained that if ever they are looking for them in a fire, that the kids need to come to them, not hide. It was really good for the kids to see the firefighter in full gear first hand as it could be a scary sight for a little one.

   At the end of the visit, all of the kids got a chance to climb into the back seat of the fire truck. 

   The fire station is located right next to Winged Deer Park. Most of us had time to go play and the kids had energy to burn. The temperatures were around 40 degrees but it was partly sunny and very nice outside. It was a perfect day.

Betsy Goes to the Doctor

   When Steve went to start our truck (which we lovingly call Betsy) on Tuesday, Betsy would not start. A friend mentioned she had a good auto mechanic but when we called him, he was really busy and it would be a whole week before he could get to it. He recommended another mechanic and we had the truck towed there on Wednesday, January 8.

   We bought the fuel pump and took it to the mechanic. He finished the work the next day and charged a very reasonable amount. The towing service was also very reasonably priced. Betsy is back home and runs well.

The Big Freeze

   The early January brought us more winter fun. A large mass of very cold arctic air was moving south and our temperatures dipped well below freezing. The cold front made it to our area during the evening hours on Sunday, January 5th. It was still about 50 degrees at midnight and raining. By the time we woke up, it was about 12 degrees and on Monday night, the thermometer dipped all the way down to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday was even a little colder with a low of -1 degree.  Wind chill was about -20 degrees during the night. We got about an inch of snow again and tried to enjoy it. But it was just too cold to spend much time outside. Despite the freeze, it just looked beautiful.

   Since we were staying home during the couple of cold days, we decided we would do some work on the rental house. Steve drove the truck up the hill in the morning and turned the heat on. That way we could comfortably work inside. When we went to the house a few hours later, we had to walk because the driveway froze over and the truck was sliding. When we got to the house, we found out that the lock was stuck. We only have a key to the dead bolt but not the regular lock. We tried every key we have, but no luck. It was very cold to stay outside for much longer and we returned back to our house to regroup. We will have to figure out how to break into the house without doing too much damage.

   Inside, Steve and the kids were chopping wood and kept the fireplace going. We are very thankful that we got the fireplace converted to burn wood. It was keeping the living room a little warmer. Our regular heat was just blowing cool air and - with the fireplace going - was able to get the house to 65 degrees. It was definitely livable, but not nice cozy. We have decided to get a wood stove to get some real heat in the house. 

   We were also using our emergency space heater (that Steve and the kids put together) to add some heat to the room. It gets remarkably warm.

   Since this is our first winter here, we were not sure how well the heating system works - especially since temperatures around zero are not very common here. We decided to move the kids into our bedroom for the night. That way we could run the space heater if necessary. It also seems that the vents in our master bathroom and bedroom are closest to the air handler and have the warmest air. The kids were very excited about the change. With the bedroom doors closed, the room stayed nicely warm and we were comfortable.