The past few months' progress have been mostly in the trim department. The first rooms to get finished were our bedrooms.
Once we were moved in to our own rooms (whoop whoop) it was time to hurry up and prepare for cold weather. Last winter caught us very unprepared for record-breaking cold temperatures. We ran out of firewood by the end of February and I could not keep up by simply going out with a sled and cutting dead trees. We had to get creative, burning scraps from our carpenter neighbor, pallets from anyone getting rid of them, or whatever else we could find.
This winter was way different, thank God and hard work! First of all we built a decent 5-cord woodshed and filled it (in addition to our old shed). Here you can see the sheds and two of our resident moles showing off their snow-ships.
The other key to coziness was a pair of propane wall heaters. This one is in the utility room.
Installing these meant connecting to the existing gas plumbing, and connecting that to a big tank out in the yard. We were in a bit of a race to get the rest of the trench dug before the ground got hard, and then we had thigh-deep snow to clear out of the way by the time the propane company came to deliver a tank in early December. The other difficult part of this process was chiseling a hole through the foundation for the downstairs heater's vent. These stoves are "direct-vent" heaters, meaning you mount them on an outside wall and the fresh combustion air and exhaust are vented straight out the back. Looking back it might have been smart to install a more-efficient central propane heating system, even though we still intend to use a masonry wood stove as our main heat.
Even though this February was the coldest on record, the spring at the bottom of the hill kept pouring its water out day and night. The day this photo was taken the high temperature got up to -2, and that dark stuff at the bottom is moving ground water. As handy as this abundance of wild water is, we found after having it tested that it was just hard enough to ruin our water heater and just acidic enough to eat up metal parts of the plumbing. It had already been noted that it was difficult to wash hair and glassware with this water, and that dissolved iron left the toilet and bathtub impossible to keep white. So after months of research I ordered a water softener and calcite tank from a company in Ohio and hooked it up. We now have hot running soft water. Sound the trumpets.
So as the road starts to break up we're back to putting up trim. This week the mud room is coming together complete with coat rack, and trim for the little door to the fairy room.
There's still plenty of snow up in these hills, but April promises some changes. Here's hoping these promises don't fool us like they did last year!