Our chronicles as we create our off-grid homestead in Interior Alaska -- from escaping the rat race and big city, to extreme cold weather subsistence/self-sufficient living just outside the Arctic Circle.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Fired up the new stove in the cabin. Other than the stink of curing, it worked really well. Took about 2 hours to get the requisite 3" coal bed in the bottom to turn it over to high-efficiency re-burn, but the thing was frozen to begin with after all! It warmed up the interior of the cabin to "comfortable with jacket" temps; but everything is still uninsulated and unsealed and dead cold so it would take us a few days feeding the fire 24/7 to thaw everything out and get it above freezing in there. We're going to try temporarily sealing things up without temp-sensitive caulks and foams, and then get the insulation blown in... see how that works... because we can't afford the wood to be heating two drafty domiciles at once! Hopefully we'll get the insulation in next week (fingers crossed!!!!). The weather is not cooperating... either it's too cold to work, or it's warmer but snowing too hard to work!
And we knew that we were finally getting the "clean" burn from the stove when the smoke got almost clear. Hey, at least we know that the chimney works, there weren't any SNAFUs in the flue installation, and that we have really really good draft in that stove. Seriously, the damper has to be completely closed before the smoke will backdraft into the room... and who's stupid enough to open a stove with the damper still closed, eh? ROFL But, man, with the door closed and the draft and damper fully open, that sucker roars like a freakin' freight train! Which is so awesome after fighting with non-flammable wood in the little tent stove all this winter.
And Ripley's finally big and strong enough to start earning her keep. It took her awhile to get used to the harness, and she still sits down anytime there's any significant weight behind her... but she does pull the sled and seems happy doing it. I think after we have her pulling and empty/light sled or helping her with the heavier loads for a while, she'll get the idea that if she's harnessed up she's supposed to PULL whenever Mommy & Daddy tell her to go. She seems to do ok, even with heavier loads, as long as one of us is walking next to her, or there's one in front and one following... she just gets a little confused and distracted when it's heavy and we aren't giving her constant direction. We'll have to build her a cart with wheels for summer, just to keep her in shape. Saves gas in the ATV and a few hours towing eventually tires her out enough to get some quiet time in the evenings -- which is a blessing unto itself LOL.