Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making Ambience

Today was the first real snow we have had all winter. Blowing snow combined with plummeting temperatures made me long for a cozy spot to finish my book that I have been reading for over a week. It is a luxury I don't often allow myself during the day. And I didn't just want to read, I wanted reading with ambience. It was early afternoon so I still had some time to myself before doing goat chores.

When we first moved here we heated with wood. We had and still do have 3 woodstoves; two in the house and one in the woodshop.  Our main wood stove is downstairs in the combined kitchen/living area. It is a large, steel non-airtight fire-breathing stove that needs large logs to be effective. Hmmm, too much ambience.  And besides, it heats up the area where our furnace thermostat is and the far flung areas of our house get cold. The woodstove in the shop didn't seem to offer the exact ambience I was looking for. Too many power tools. Our third woodstove is located upstairs in an open room that has lots of windows. Perfect! I can watch the snow outside and sit by the old Dutchwest airtight cast-iron stove that gently crackles and gives off a nice warmth. 

The only problem is that we haven't used this stove for a couple of years. In fact we haven't used any wood stove this year. It looked as though I was going to have to work a bit for my ambience. I first rounded up matches and a bit of paper to see if the stove flue would actually draw once lighted. Things turned out A-okay in that department. I had stored a bit of scrap wood and sticks on the front porch in case we needed a fire due to a power outage. Hubby suggested that I use that, except that the front porch and everything on it was covered in snow. I dusted off an armload of mixed wood and brought it upstairs to the stove. Then I went back downstairs, out to the porch and got a bit more wood and laid it on the hearth. I went back downstairs and out to the porch one more time to get a bucket of wood shavings for kindling. After my third trip I looked around and the living room floor was now covered with snow, wood shavings and debris that I had carried in with me. No matter, a broom will take care of that after the snow melts and the water dries.  I followed my snow and debris trail upstairs to my stove. With a bit of draft created from the open stove door I could see that there were a few wispy cobwebs fluttering around under the base of the stove. This was not appropriate ambience. This was a call to clean. I went downstairs to fetch a broom and knocked off the few cobwebs. I went back downstairs to put the broom away and raided a few trash cans to find a bit of paper to help start the fire. Apparently I had dislodged a few spiders with my broom, for when I returned they were skittering across the hearth. Stomp. No more spiders. I was ready to create ambience. Once I had the fire going I realized that I had to go back downstairs to reheat my tea that was now chilled. Not good ambience. I heated my tea and went back upstairs and there was a nice roaring fire going.

I shut the air flow down a bit, pulled my rocker and footstool up close to the stove and sat down with my book. I gazed out at the blowing snow thinking I was finally on my way to spending a cozy afternoon with my nose in my book. My feet were warmed by the fire and I had enjoyed my tea . I finished my book and went downstairs and glanced at the clock. I had been in my rocker cozied up to the stove for exactly 20 minutes. All that work for 20 minutes. At least I had time to sweep the living room floor before going out for afternoon chores.


  1. Sounds like you gave Don a good show working on your ambiance. I probably would have fallen asleep by the time I sat down.

    1. I think Don was slightly amused. I did work hard for my 20 minutes of ambience but it was worth it.

  2. You finished your book in 20 minutes? I guess you didn't need more time to sit, did you? I'm worn out (and frustrated because I know how that goes) just reading this post.

    You should post your blog entries to facebook so I don't miss any.