Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Darkness (not the band) and the woodpile

We are getting near the bitter end of our extension project. Good thing too, as we are getting near the bitter end of our money. While the new heating system isn't up and running just yet, the system was pressure tested this evening.

As we wait for the work to be completed, we soldier on with the old coal fired stove. To supplement the stove that runs our six radiators, we have a couple of fireplaces. When all three fires are going, the coal fire and the two wood fires, there is lots of hauling to be done, coal from the coal bunker and wood from the woodpile. In the morning, lots of ash needs to be cleaned out.
Over the weekend, when the mercury had dropped and the rain was coming in pretty hard, I was bringing in lots of wood for the fires.

This time of year, it seems that we only enjoy about four hours of natural daylight. I seem to slip into this semi-hibernation state as I wait for mid-December and the daylight starts its slow creep to longer hours. Out where we live it gets pretty dark at night. There is no light pollution from anything as fancy as a streetlight and when it is clear you can see every single constellation. It's amazing really. I prefer it that way and I would argue against anybody putting streetlights out our way. However, if it is a cloudy moonless night you won't be able to see your hand in front of your face.

I'm not scared of the dark anymore and I'm not frightened to walk around outside at night in the dark. I have been known to walk home from the village at night with only the light from the moon to show me where the road is. Its actually quite peaceful. There aren't any big bitey animals in Scotland that might jump on me. The last of those animals were shot in the 18th century. I just have to be pretty good about keeping things picked up around the outside of the house to minimise tripping hazards.

I was going out into our super dark night to get firewood and the only light I had was the light spilling out from the window on the east side of the house where the woodpile lives. When I go out at night to get an armload of firewood, I have to just go by feel. I can't hold a torch (flashlight) and collect firewood at the same time. I do however make things easy for myself by gathering the wood that I can see. The one problem with doing that is that now there is a big dip in the stack of firewood where the light falls on it at night. I'm going to have to move the firewood around so that there is always some in the area that gets lit.


Jay said...

Wow! It would be both scary and exciting to be wandering around in the darkness. How bout one of those lamps that go on a headband when you go get the wood? That might work.

Back in the said...

I love these posts about where you live. I whine about our 8 or so hours of sun causing such a short day and you have 4 hours. I feel like such a wimp! Seeing the sky with no artificial light must be amazing.

Peggy said...

Jay, We have one of those lamps for the head somewhere in the house but I'm not going to dig it out. It is much quicker just to go out there and not fuss about. If I was going to be outside for more than a minute, then I might think about it.

back in the - Glad you like my little stories.

Xtreme English said...

one of the best things about all that darkness there is the STARS!!!! if you live in a big city like D.C., where the only visible "stars" at night on my street are actually the PLANETS, you can't imagine what a punch in the gut it is to walk outside into Peggy's driveway and see all of those stars at night. it's just breathtakingly beautiful. yer a lucky girl, Peg-o

Peggy said...

Aye, I ken! That's why I'm no moving. Ever.

UKBob said...

I like to have a walk across to check the heaters in the greenhouse on a clear night there is something special about looking up at all those stars. When we lived at the farm and the nights were hot we used to drag matresses out on to the lawn and sleep out there in the garden under the stars.I can't imagine not being able to see any stars at night.

Kell said...

We visit my hubby's family who live out in the boonies. It took me a while to get used to how very dark it would get at night. It was a little scary at first, but I adapted.