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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

November's Last Day

At a balmy 2 degrees this morning, it was the perfect morning to sleep in. Too bad that didn't get to happen! Well, maybe I should consider myself "slept-in": I missed (ignored) the alarm and didn't wake up until Tom was getting out of bed at his usual 45 minutes later. Whoops! No time for a packed lunch today, Honey!

Anyway, it's nice that the winter temperatures might finally be here . . . now all we (still) need is that snow!

Both the masonry and the siding crews are hard at it this morning. By necessity, the masonry crew will be working inside the heated tenting, but I don't envy the siding guys outside on a day like this!

We visited friends and had a fun Saturday night with them this past weekend. These brothers and their wives own adjacent properties and are both in the process of building: one just starting his and his bride's first house and the other finishing up his family's seasonal / weekend home. They're both at the point in building - one making huge initial strides (walls up, sub-flooring laid) and the other putting on those finishing touches that make all the difference, visually - that Tom and I left feeling a bit . . . envious. Envious, I guess, that real progress could be seen in both their cases while we're still on the seemingly endless plateau of time-consuming but not-making-much-of-a-physical-difference inside work.

As I've mentioned before, we just (have to!) keep telling ourselves that every single outlet in, each area of the living room arranged, each bill paid is PROGRESS. After putting up the last of the wood last weekend (we're not sure whether it was the last 3 or 4 cords), Tom's been attacking the inside electrical work each of the evenings after work. All the outlets are now in in the kitchen, dining room, fireplace / middle area, sunroom, and (almost all of the) living room. A few light switches have gone in, too, and last night he got all four of the wall sconces up in the sunroom. Now, if any of them just had power run to them! ;) (Well, the kitchen ones do, so we're far past the days of trying to survive off of only one lone outlet.)

So, back to the woodshed, we now have 10 cords snug as a bug in there (thanks to Tom's "strength in stacking") with a little room left for projects and/or wood that we'll harvest ourselves this winter. And, the Central Boiler continues to be a terrific asset. This morning when I was ironing Tom's clothes in nothing more than a big, button-up chamois I was reminded of how cold our little house down by the lake used to be on mornings like this . . . heating with only the Jotul woodstove in the livingroom which would be down to nothing more than a few coals in the morning. In comparison to that "chill of old", our in-floor heated and so-airtight-that-it-requires-an-air-exchange-system house here is incredibly toasty! Matter of fact, I'm down to a T-shirt this morning (okay, and Arctic-weight insulated Carhartt jeans).

And, speaking of heat . . . . My folks came out for a visit Sunday afternoon - it was the first time my dad had seen the rock work! We took advantage of them being here and finally installed the wood cookstove in the kitchen! Well, that might confuse some of you, so let me clarify. We've had it in place and been using the LP side of it (it's a combi-fire that can use either wood or LP). But, while the chimney has been all ready to go for a while, we still needed to add the collar that connects the back of the wood-burning part of the stove to the chimney before we could start a fire in it. And, we needed a third person to do that: two to move the stove, and one to hold the collar in place. (Well, four people actually because Mom held a well-directed flashlight into the murky depths behind the stove). At any rate, we got that job done, and I was finally able to use all parts of my cookstove!

After my folks left, Tom and I went outside into the dark, snowy night to do chores and find the coal hod (for kindling) and the large bag for hauling wood inside. Then, I started up my very first fire in the historic (to the families of this area that it has been passed through) stove and (cough, cough) watched the smoke billow out the top of it into the kitchen! Not knowing where the instruction manual was in this (yes, still) disaster, it took a few minutes before I had the right combination of drafts (this one open, that one closed) down. When I finally did accomplish the feat, the smoke instantly went WHOOSH back down into the stove and up the chimney, and we were in business! Like the backwoods nerds that we are, we ran out into the snow with flashlights to look at the smoke rising up out of the chimney! :)

So, "that's the news from Lake Wobegan." That's the news from the end of Minnesota? That's the news from the Canadian border? You choose. :)

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