This morning was so cold and gloomy that if I hadn't already known from the weather forecast that there is no precipitation in the current 10-day forecast, I would have thought we were about to get some snow. The clouds cleared later and it turned sunny, but it never got warm at all. When I opened the front door, I initially thought, "How did it possibly rain last night" before realizing that the coat of sanding sealer Lisa applied on the porch yesterday before the cold hit still looks wet (it isn't).
I had let the fire in the fireplace go out yesterday, but it was definitely time to restart it.
Getting the fire going was pretty easy. We still have half a metal garbage can of kindling that Lisa cut last winter, and as I mentioned yesterday, she has been cutting up the junk boards from the removed back deck down to size. I brought some of those cut boards inside (carefully, because they are full of nails and screws) and got the fire going nicely. The built-in fan behind the fireplace still works and helps distribute the heat into the living room, as do the two ceiling fans, which are in the "winter" position of pushing heat down from our high ceiling.
We're exploring alternatives for firewood this year. We like the North Idaho Fire Logs, because they're no longer available from Big R Fernley (1 km away) and we don't feel comfortable hauling the utility trailer over to Fallon (where the nearest dealer carrying them is) anymore. The tires on the trailer are in poor condition and taking them out to 60 MPH for the 50-mile round-trip to Fallon as opposed to 25 MPH for the under-two-mile trip to Big R Fernley is something we are reluctant to do. Last year we had pairs of pallets delivered, but this requires asking out neighbor down the street to bring his forklift to unload them, and also usually means the pallets sit outside until we can unload them. Also, Lisa is trying to clear out the garage rather than having us fill it up with stored lumber.
So what to do about firewood? This year, Big R has two types of pressed-sawdust firewood, both apparently from the same source but with different composition: Pres-to-Logs and Bear Bricks. I went to Big R this morning and bought one pack of six of each of them. They both seem to be roughly the same energy-to-weight ratio. Bear Bricks are rectangular and Pres-to-Logs are round like the North Idaho logs. We'll try out both types and decide which ones we want, then order a pallet from the local Big R so they can bring one over to their store from their distribution center in Fallon and then we'll come get it with our utility trailer. I have a feeling that it will come down to how much they charge per pallet, and if it's the same cost for the same amount of energy, I'm currently leaning toward the Bear Bricks because they stack so much easier.
We did need to reassure Kuma Bear that Bear Bricks were not made out of bears.
It's nice and warm in the living room tonight with the fire running. I hope the firewood I'm using will keep a fire going overnight, because when the temperatures drop below freezing, it tends to suck the heat right out of the house. On the brighter side, work on the insulation project has continued, and Lisa says she'll get back under the house soon and start installing more bats of insulation, which we thing will make a big difference. I already think I can feel the difference in the bedroom floor, where about half the floor now has insulation under it.