Yesterday started with some wood chopping. First time using the new ax … good tools make a big difference. We then spent the rest of the day together with our neighbor collecting hay into 6 very large piles from 3+ acres. We purchased the cut hay from her x-partner (they separstarted with some wood chopping. First time using the new ax … good tools make a big difference. We then spent the rest of the day together with our neighbor collecting hay into 6 very large piles from 3+ acres. We purchased the cut hay from her x-partner (they separated recently) but had not been able to get it collected (we knew we might not be able to get around to it). But, she needed the field cleared (they rented it and it needed to be cleared before winter) and the hay was really good … so we went at it. It took a long time (the rest of the day) but we have very nice piles. Another neighbor promised to help us with his horse-carriage to carry it over to our place. We were then invited to dinner together with our neighbors … rabbit stew for them and spinach and mamaliga for me šŸ™‚

Oh … and our neighbor gifted us with three female chickens … approximately the same age as our flock … though much smaller. Our chickens range free (for now) and hers are fenced in and fed. Ironically we need to feed our chickens much less and they are much bigger!

Today rain (not heavy but pretty consistent) arrived mid-day … which thankfully meant that temperatures weren’t freezing anymore. We had frosted mornings for almost two weeks straight.

Anyways … we took our time in doors this morning. Eventually we got started with some work. We fired up the wood-boiler again so that we would have hot water throughout the day. Andreea also used the washing machine for the first time. It turned out to be another excellent buy – very quiet and excellent spinning which meant that the laundry came out practically dry (we paid a bit more for the fast spinning capability). At one point the washing machine was running, we had hot water and music was playing … its starting to feel like a home šŸ™‚

I finished insulating the summer kitchen windows so that it would not freeze. We have and will continue to store all our winter food there … and though cold is good for preservation, freezing will kill the food. We will probably put in there a small radiator set on a low temperature to protect the place from freezing. That was another important step in our winter readiness … glad to have that done.

Then I re-opened and resealed the steel top of our rocket stove … this time using the refractory cement instead of the clay/cob mixed we tried. Well the cement has cracked too … but now I know why. It seems that when the steel plate is heated it warps a bit and the corners (and probably sides) bend upwards … as if pulling out of the cement. So this time we’ll let it do it’s thing and then reseal it again with another layer of cement. Hopefully that will get it sealed properly … otherwise poisonous gas is leaking out and we can’t stay in the room (otherwise the rocket is working fine).

I then cooked us a soup. I started cooking on the rocket to see if it works. It does, it is slower then the direct fire wood-stove but it does work … especially at the sweet spot right above the heat riser. Also if the rocket is fed smaller and really dry sticks the heat turns up very fast. That was an important experiment … as it opens the way for our second rocket to replace the existing wood-stove … which we want to get done before winter … but that may not work out …. sooo many other more important things still to do.

Andreea spent the day restoring some cleanliness and order to the house. She made a lot of stuff disappear – so there is a renewed sense of order. She also cleaned up quite a bit … everything is still in temporary arrangement … so things can get quite messy. Finally she helped me cut my hair and shave … both very long over due. Very refreshing and welcoming. Tomorrow we have a day off at the city … including a hot shower šŸ™‚ See you on the other side šŸ™‚

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