Sustainable Sunday – Staying warm in the winter

~ For the biweekly series entitled “Sustainable Sunday”, I will be covering topics concerning our lifestyle in the country.  In January 2015 we moved from the city where we had less than half of an acre to a property in the country with 107 acres.  Our cabin in the woods is less than 800 square feet (about half the size of our old place).  

The peace and quiet and lack of traffic has been a “breath of fresh air”.  I hope you enjoy following us on this journey.  ~

After moving and unpacking, our first priority was to heat the place.  Weather in January was kind to us with some days reaching highs in the 50’s Fahrenheit (10 Celsius).

February 01, 2015_country living

Our driveway right after moving in.  No snow yet!

However, we live in Indiana so we knew we would be in for some cold days and nights.  We decided to buy a rick of firewood already split and ready to go to get us started.  Moving and unpacking consumed most of our time leaving little time to gather our own.  After tackling some pressing items that needed to be fixed in the cabin it was time to move on to gathering firewood on our property (the rick of wood we bought would only last so long).

Problem #1:  Gathering logs on our property required the use of the Isuzu Trooper left for our use.  The Trooper was the official beater vehicle used for off road action.  However, the “Trooper” was not functional when we moved in.  In the meantime our firewood supply was dwindling and logs close to the cabin were still pretty “green”, meaning not so great for getting a fire started.

February 03, 2015_country livingI was amazed at how quickly we blazed through the first rick of wood. Although I should not have been surprised as we were heating almost exclusively with the wood burning stove.  Back to town for another rick of firewood to get us through until the Trooper has regained it’s functionality.

February 05, 2015_country living

Another thing to note we do not have a truck for hauling.  Our CRV came through for us.  Pictured above loaded down with a rick of wood, cannot believe it fit!

Shane has a knack for anything automotive, bonus for us!  After messing around with the Trooper for a few days he found the problem.  It was time to head to the city to pick up the part and the next day the Trooper was up and running!

Problem #1 Solved!

Problem #2:  The heat did not work in the Trooper. This along with the back window broken out made for a cold ride to gather wood.  Did I mention at this point the temperature had dropped here in Indiana with highs in the 15-20’s Fahrenheit (-8 Celsius) and we had our first snow at our new place?February 05, 2015_country living

The driveway now covered in snow.

Enter Shane the automotive genius and the heat was quickly fixed.  Now gathering wood and driving the main Trooper trail was much more comfortable.

Problem #2 Solved!

February 09, 2015_country living

An aside:  Shane re-sealed the wood burning stove’s door.  This allows the stove to heat more efficiently.

Problem #3:  Tires on the Trooper are basically bald leaving us with little traction on the trails.  This becomes a problem on the uphill sections of which there are a few.  Our property happens to encompass the area where the glaciers stopped.  Around us are flat fields for farming but our property has definitive elevation change.   Hence tire tread is important.

Problem 3 is in the process of being fixed.  For now we have been able to get by on the trails with a little perseverance.

February 03, 2015_country living

February 16, 2015_country living

The Trooper out doing it’s job.

February 16, 2015_country living

Shane cutting logs from fallen trees.

February 16, 2015_country livingFebruary 16, 2015_country living

The next tree to tackle.

February 16, 2015_country living

Here lies fuel to keep us warm on cold snowy nights.

February 16, 2015_country living

Logs ready to go back to the homestead for splitting.

February 04, 2015_country living

Shane in action (before the snow hit)

February 05, 2015_country living

Freshly split and stacked.

February 05, 2015_country living

All stocked up (for now).  This photo is a combination of the wood we bought and wood Shane split from our property.

Problem #4:  7+ inches of snow on top of what we already had, totaling almost a foot of snow on the trails.  This makes gathering more logs next to impossible.  The logs are buried under all of that snow and the Trooper has limited capabilities in that amount of snow (at least uphill).

Solution:  Back to town for a third and final rick of wood.  (The supply pictured above was used up quickly)  Now that we are into March, the weather will start to warm up some, the snow will begin to melt and we will be back on the trails soon to gather more logs.

Problem solved for now and hopefully for the winter.

February 05, 2015_country living

Wood burning stove and all the supplies needed to start and keep a warm cozy fire.

Heating our home exclusively with a wood burning stove is not only economical (no electricity needed) it also provides a cozy experience.  It will also prove invaluable if we lose power.  Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

January 22, 2015_country living

Shane has been great at taking care of our needs since moving, which may leave the reader wondering if I do anything. 🙂  I have left the wood splitting, automotive and house fixes to the expert.  However I have spent a great deal of my time:

A) Getting the cabin move in ready (spider webs are a constant battle in the country).

B) Unpacking, organizing and finding a place for everything (remember we moved into a space half the size of our other place), sometimes you have to get creative.

C) Photographing and documenting to share with our friends, family and this blog.

D) Helping to load, unload and stack firewood.

E) Shooting & editing for a few winter photography jobs

F) and being cheerleader to Shane as he has had the tougher jobs 🙂

Until next time we will continue to stay warm & cozy in our little cabin in the woods.

Please note:  No trees were cut down to provide our home with warmth.  All of the firewood gathered and to be gathered is all from downed trees (natural causes).  Our property has plenty of fallen trees for our use.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy, I love wood heat! Your post reminds me how much I loved my little place in Pinantan Lake, BC. ❤
    Diana xo

    1. f-stop mama says:

      Happy to bring up fond memories. There really is nothing like wood heat.

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