Saturday, February 7, 2015
Log entry on a cold and starry night.
It's cold out there tonight. Lots of stars out though, which is some compensation for the chilly weather.
I have not been using wood heat this winter. I have the fieldstone fireplace and the two wood burning stoves, but I elected to heat primarily with the propane heaters. I can set them, and they maintain a constant temperature. No getting up in the night to put wood on the fire, and no chimney fire concerns. Of course, it's a bit more expensive. A long bed truck of stacked and split oak costs me $60.00 if I pick it up at the wood yard. I burn about one load every one and a half to two weeks in really cold weather. In terms of propane, I have burned about 400 gallons in 120 days. That comes out to roughly $10.00 a day, or $1200 in propane costs for four months. Propane, unlike every other fuel I track, has not dropped any in price since oil costs per barrel fell, so I am still paying the same rates I paid last winter. This is largely because the local propane dealerships fix the price among themselves, which is common practice up here even though it's illegal. Wood would have run me less for the same time period. I think that wood will remain a backup, and I'll keep supplies otn hand, but it's a lot less work to use the propane heaters.
My daughter has come down to visit for a week, and she brought the Silky chickens. Very strange looking creatures, you wouldn't know they were chickens if you just looked at them. But they seem to be good laying hens, and we have converted a portion of the glass house for their living quarters. Even if they could stand the cold, the regular chickens would kill them if I let them outside. Now I have another space to heat, though, and that will be with electric heat. My electric bill has been running about $250 a month, because of the constant extreme cold, but it beats damaged supplies and equipment, or busted pipes, in the outbuildings.
Another building to heat means more kerosene to store and another kerosene heater to buy, as backups . When the power goes out, as it frequently does for varying lengths of time here, I still have to be able to heat those spaces and I do it with kerosene shop heaters. At $4.00 a gallon for kerosene, I don't do that unless I have to. Still cheaper than broken pipes or lost supplies, though. I now have to drive to an adjacent county to buy kerosene. The last station that sold it in my own just went out of business. The economy may indeed be recovering as the Great Golfer in Chief and his toadies claim, but you sure can't tell it from life up here in the Smokey Mountains.
This weekend is shaping up to be enjoyable, but the cold is due back mid week and I'm not looking forward to that overly much. Still, there's always work to be done inside, and I'll not have any problem staying busy.