Right! Got the languishing under control – it appears to have been anemia. Which I think should be spelled with another vowel somewhere, but never mind. Even better, we got a new bed, which is actually a hand-me-down but it is new to us, and more importantly it is a good bed, which has had the result that I am a)sleeping well – and less! and b) not waking up curled into a shape that looks like it belongs in a snail shell, and requiring much stretching and cracking to resume human proportions. This makes me happy.

Now, I know I promised pictures of my wheel. And I will take them, as soon as I remember that in chilly weather my dumb batteries need to be on the charger all the time. But we’ve been busy anyway. Really busy. Look, the cat and dog are exhausted from all the supervising they’ve been having to do:

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We got some new pasture for the sheep, officially we will be getting it next spring, but they are allowed to go explore now. Which is great, because there are all these weeds and grasses over there that they have been staring wistfully at for the last year. It isn’t fenced (so I know what I’m doing again next April) but if I put Freyja on the halter then all three of them will stay together and we can go check it out. Both Freyja and Blackie say that actually Blackie should be on the halter, but when we do it that way Freyja and Chloe just go hang out in front of my house and try to eat the rose bushes, and Blackie cries if I leave her to go chase them.

Phil marches around the inside of the fence, staying as close as possible to the sheep without actually leaving the yard. I toss weeds over the fence to her. She did come out with us the other day, but she actually got less grass that way, as she was distracted by the giant pile of straw, and had to go climb it. I don’t know why geese aren’t allowed to leave the fenced yard, I guess she’s being territorial. I don’t make these rules up. It is nice to know she’s not playing in the road, though.

This week we have been crawling through a big hole in the ground that our neighbor dug for us, and under the house, hooking up our wood-burning furnace.  This morning when the sun gets around to rising, I am going to fill the boiler and we will test it.  If we did everything right, we will have heat in half the downstairs (the usually very very inexpressibly cold half) this winter!  We have also been cutting and stacking wood like obsessive crazy people, because the whole “having heat” concept relies on having something to make be hot.

Wood burning furnaces are becoming more common in my area.  In a general sense, I know there is debate about them, because they are not, to many people’s minds, “green”.  They burn wood, which makes smoke and also makes wood go away.  In their defense, however, they don’t burn oil or coal.  Switching from something like wind-powered electric heat or solar heat to a wood boiler would be wasteful and dumb.  But we and the other people around here who are installing these boilers are already burning either wood in a stove, or oil in a furnace.  The wood furnace has a much better re-burner than a stove, so in either case it actually is a ‘greener’ choice than what went before.  Also the furnaces can burn things like skids, which you can use to supplement your wood supply and reduce tree killing.

But tree-killing isn’t really a big issue around here either.  We don’t in fact have very many trees, and are jealous of the ones we do have.  All the fields have trees on their borders, and every year when the crops are off, the farmers go out and cut and haul anything that has died, broken or fallen during the year.   Anyone who burns wood is quick to scavenge where they can – the people putting up the windmills (pay attention, you’ll love this) cut down a massive number of trees this year to make room for their equipment and to clear the way for all the new hydro wires, and dumped those trees on my friend The Ed’s farm because it was closer and easier than the spot they were supposed to be hauling them to.  He’s got a couple of years of firewood there now, easy.

We’ve been here for five years, and any tree we’ve cut has either fallen down, or had to come down because it was about to fall.  With the exception, sorry, of that ash tree fiasco, which we had nothing whatever to do with, I promise.  Those trees are coming back.  I say encouraging things to them almost every day.

Oops – it appears to be light enough for me to see now, so I’m going to go try and fill this puppy.  And put those batteries on the charger!  Back soon!

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