The last two Pennsylvania winters on the hill were brutal.
We had an inefficient woodstove which required about 24 face cord of wood to get us through- and not even warmly. Can you understand how depressing it can be to cut down, split, stack, haul inside every week and burn up 24 face cord of wood and still be freezing cold all winter- wearing coats and bathrobes inside? Having the ice cubes in my bedside water upstairs still fully formed in the morning?
Well, let me tell you. It's depressing.
So last year, instead of putting our tax return money toward a new van as I had originally intended, we instead decided to invest in a more efficient woodstove. I seriously questioned whether or not I could remain sane through another harsh winter. I think we all did.
When the weather began to turn in October, we went to replace the very inefficient woodstove we had with our new 'Beast' only to discover- it wouldn't fit down the stairs. We knew the foundation wall to the basement had been shifting but we didn't realize the extent of the situation until that moment.
The stone wall needed to come out for us to get the woodstove in and, it being the end of October and all, the clock was ticking.
So Matt does what he often does- he got straight to work doing it. Just hauled right in.
I really admire that about him.
While Matt is the sort to just roll up his sleeves and get to work when a job needs done, I tend to think about what needs to be done, write a list of all that is needed, break it into stages, think about when the perfect time would be to work on it, and then procrastinate until I can't procrastinate any longer.
It took about two weeks to get to the next stage (time and weather factor in here) during which time we had just a tarp between the outside and basement. Cats came in. And cold wind.
And then came the block laying.
Next came the stairs. Hauling armloads of wood down cellar every week on icy broken stairs was not fun, with a capital NOT. It is a miracle no one broke their necks these last few winters.
So Matt made some forms and poured concrete.
Isn't concrete so beautiful? It is to me.
(Now I KNOW I am officially a country girl...)
Testing them out after they've cured...
But the true test happens when we bring wood in for the first time:
Big helper! He's so stwong!
We've had such an unusually mild Fall so far and for that I am SO, SO THANKFUL. We would have been in BIG trouble if it had become cold early as the last two years have been!
I would love it if a mild winter followed this blissfully mild fall. But if not- we are ready to hunker down on this hill to survive (nay, thrive!) through the winter.
Thanks to the hardworking fellow who lives here and God, who gave us not only the means to do it but also gave this particular fellow to me.