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today felt like the coldest morning so far … very subjective .. but there you have it

it took longer then usual for the rocket to warm up the room …

I went out after 10:30 to feed the dogs and release the flock and ran back inside … I went out again only around 12:30 … by the sun had overcome the freezing temperatures Β – probably brought them up to ~10deg celsius again πŸ™‚

The guy with the milk arrived and tried to help me start the car with his battery but that didn’t work either … still local wisdom says its the freezing temperatures and so … we’ll see … another neighbor will try to come out to see if he can help me get the car started πŸ™‚

So I spent the day cutting up more firewood from the scrap pile … and did some planing on boards that will become our bedside dressers … it isn’t an urgent project … especially in this cold … but the planer-dust/shavings are a bit urgent Β as we are running low and need them for the composting toilets.

Went inside, feeling nice, got organized to do the dishes … still thankful that the plumbing carrying out of the house is still working … nearly got the washing done … until water started to backup … the exit pipe has frozen too (though I don’t know why … it’s exposed and lifted from the ground where the water flows out) – too late for that tonight … I’ll try to defrost it tomorrow πŸ™‚

mucho mucho patience πŸ™‚

rocket stove is burning and whispering, soup is warming up, dog food mashup is cooking, going to watch the other half of the movie I fell asleep on last night and relax … maybe do some more writing later … maybe not πŸ™‚

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It’s been cold here … physically and emotionally … the day before yesterday began with -17deg (celsius) and yesterday with -23. Peak temperatures, with a clear and sunny sky, have been -10 – though in the sun it can be quite pleasant.

Just to give you an idea of how cold … this is what the handle on the door to the house (leads into our unheated hallway / kitchen) looks like in the morning … an excellent lesson in thermal conductivity – metal conducting heat out and coolth in

and in that hallway/kitchen there were Β two buckets of water (see below for explanation of why they are there) … the one on the tiles has already developed a thin layer of ice … the one on the carpet took a while longer:

Yesterday the car wouldn’t start when I wanted to go and pick up guests from the village. They had a pleasant walk instead. Then when they left the car changed mood (or got warmed up!?) and decided to start and ran quite fine. Today it wouldn’t start again and stayed that way … I had a long walk with Andreea as she had began her journey to Bucharest (where she will be teaching her second and sold-out doula course) … it wasn’t very pleasant because we were carrying bags, slippery ice is everywhere Β and we set out as the sun was going down and temperatures come crashing down. For me it was a two way trip … on the way back I managed to almost strike up a conversation with a neighbor.

A few days ago we lost water pressure in the morning. After some fishing around it seemed that the pump was running but not getting up to pressure. First diagnosis is a failing return valve … we decided to call an excellent and friendly plumber … he came the next day and by then the pipes going in and out of the pump were frozen solid. So it probably isn’t the valve. He pulled the pump and parts of the piping that can be taken out and we placed them in the house to next to the rocket stove to thaw. He then instructed me us on how to get it back in working order (more on that soon) then told us that he wasn’t in the plumbing business anymore … so it was really kind of him to come out and help anyway (he is a really pleasant and positive individual). He has moved into the milk business … running a family business of 9 cows which takes all of his time. So we are now buying milk from him.

Actually he was supposed to deliver our milk tomorrow at the village bar. But we called him and said the car was not starting and asked to delay our order for next week. He said no problem, he will be coming over to deliver the milk tomorrow and will bring cables to help me start the car (it’s probably a run down battery issue in this cold weather). How super-uber-cool-and-friendly is that?

Today I spent the day getting the pipes next to the wall to thaw. I made some progress … managed to clear out the parts of the pipes close to the pump … but not complete. There is still ice in the pipe from the well to the pipe … I don’t know what’s happening further down the pipe going from the pump towards the house. I was busy all day wrapping the pipes with warm rags and pouring into them hot water. I insulated all the pipes, placed the pump back in place and covered it with insulation … then covered the Β whole concrete box with hay. I tried to prime the pump with warm water but it wouldn’t go into the pipe going down into the well. I called it a day … we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

And finally our chainsaw has been in repair for over a week and the guy still hasn’t even looked at it. We really enjoyed purchasing from him but his service has been quite a bummer of an experience. It’s cold and we need to cut wood for heating and that’s hard to do without a chainsaw. Instead I’ve been working through our scrap wood pile … slow and unpleasant work … Β lot’s of nails, odd shaped pieces … messy … but thankfully we have it available to us (we’ll be much better organized with wood for next winter).

I’m pretty pleased we didn’t get snow chains … that would have been an expensive insurance policy. It seems though that it would have been a good idea to get a car-battery and charger for these cold cold days.

I’m also trying to empty/arrange the garage so I can move the car inside … and I was looking forward to a restful winter πŸ™‚

So no car, no running water and no chainsaw … and I am alone at home for almost a week … and … I am proud and happy to say that though there is some discomfort … all is good and well and for the most part there is a smile on my face πŸ™‚

 

 

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Freezing temperatures have arrived together with clear blue skies and a white blanketed earth. I took a walk up the hill today with Loui (who is still not completely at peace with a leash):

and this is what we saw

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Strange and powerful day today … started out beautiful snow white and sunshine.

I brought in the chainsaw, sharpened it and went to work. Finished a tank of gas and went to reload it. Couldn’t get it going again … it started but shut down numerous times … then wouldn’t start. Not good! Read the manual, searched online … couldn’t get it fixed.

I spent some really pleasant time in the workshop. Months ago I found a couple of old hardwood boards in the barn attic and I carried one of them down. Today I simply spent some time with it … no agenda, no rush … just planing and sanding a beautiful peace of wood … revealing and discovering it. It was a first-of-a-kind experience in the workshop … and I look forward to many more like it … hopefully … a whole lifetime πŸ™‚

I tried the chainsaw again … still no good.

Then at the end of the day I went to the summer kitchen to bring in some tea … and I found the large shelves filled with all of our winter preserves half collapsed. One side seemed to pull down on the whole thing … fortunately it was stopped by the large barrel of pickled cabbages. The shelves were loaded with ~150 jars of food. Β Three bottles of tomato sauce is all we lost. It was divine intervention … we should have lost almost all of our winter preserves … and yet only 3 bottles broke. Amazing. We took down many of the jars … to the point we could get it pushed back into place. Learned a woodworking lesson (more on that in a future post) and gifted with another generous share of gratefulness.

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It’s been three long days since I’ve gotten around to writing a short update.

They have been dominated by long days of work that culminated in completion of the last official wood-working project in preparation for winter. Two (rather large) open shelves with counter-tops are now assembled in the living room. The first one was assembled yesterday when the oil was almost completely dried on all its parts. The second took a short cut – it was assembled only half finished (oiled) and the remaining pieces (those I finished working on today) were oiled after assembly (this way they are drying in place instead of occupying a large space in the middle of the room – it should be dry by tomorrow.

Meanwhile Andreea has been mostly inside the house cleaning and organizing our stuff – all our clothes are in the new closet and tomorrow all the books and other stuff will go into the new shelves. Andreea also struggled with the old wood-stove. We haven’t used it in a few weeks (we spend all out times indoors in the bedroom) – so today she wanted to fire it up again – to get the room warm (helps the finish dry) and remove some of the moisture building up in it (moisture is a problem all year long and can cause much damage – so stoves need to be lit). Anyways, she lit up and again it began to smoke like crazy – it really bummed her out. I suggested she try using some heat-resistant silicon … and she worked on it for quite Β a while and got it all sealed off … fired it up again and this time heat without smoke! A big relieft.

It’s really starting to come together and it looks like we’ll be able to bring our Christmas tree indoors into a pleasant and clean house.

I’ll be spending most of tomorrow replenishing our fire-wood supply and if there will be time for it I will try to finish a few finishing pieces I want to add to the living room shelves. There are still a few projects but they are on the nice to have list – this includes a low-table for the living room, dressers and a headboard for the bed, another small creative cabinet in the hall kitchen for shoes, garbage and coats πŸ™‚ and on and on and on πŸ™‚

In the background of these 3 days has been a violent disturbance from the life we left behind in Israel. It is being resolved and hopefully will soon fade away from our consciousness.

 

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Woodworking all day today. It actually started last night as I drew the two living room units in my head and made a cut-list. It’s a fairly simple project though lots of wood-surface is involved. Today I managed to get all the wood out of storage and cut to size. More then half of the materials have been planed. Some of the larger pieces that were later cut into smaller pieces were also sanded (with a few hours of help from Andreea who took to with a rough and medium grit (it’s easier to get large surfaces sanded before they are cut into smaller parts). So all the parts have been cut. I will probably be spending a few hours with the planer tomorrow and then the next two days with the sander in hand πŸ™‚ But I expect that in two or three days one of the two units may already be constructed … then our books can come out of storage πŸ™‚ The place is really becoming comfortable and pleasant to the eye πŸ™‚

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Long woodworking day. I started with raw wood and finished with an 80x180cm seat for the couch complete with hinges. I went further then I ever have with this one. I took a bit more care yesterday when I planed the boards – so that they were a fairly consistent thickness. Today I routed the edges of the boards to get them to overlap each other and they came together pretty well. After assembling them using vertical connecting boards on the bottom side I continued to sand them from rough to fine until I got a fairly nice surface … not perfectly even but closer then even before (it’ll be covered by a mattress so it isn’t too critical). I routed sockets for the hinges (which I’ve done before) and attached hinges (which I haven’t done until today – need to practice some more at this … the hinges are protruding more then I wanted them to) … and I had just enough light left to carry it indoors (heavy!) and lay it on top of the mockup model … looking good.

Tomorrow I want to prepare the back and two more pieces that need to be installed to support the box floor (I’ll do the box floor at a later time) and two additional internal support frames for the weight-bearing seat. Hopefully tomorrow evening the couch will be assembled πŸ™‚

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Today started off a gray rainy day. With a little discipline I pulled myself out to work and as if responding to me the day began to clear until even a warm sun came shining through. Later it became a mixed day of clouds, sun and wind. By evening a chill had set in … undecided all around. It wasn’t a sunny day, but it was definitely a un-cold day.

Spent most of the day woodworking with woohooo results. We now have a large cabinet, shelves and all … even a large coat hanging space. It is “door ready” but there are not doors yet. I finished the parts early in the day and later in the evening, when there was no more light out, I came inside and assembled the shelf-hangers and then the shelves. Andreea is filling it with our things as I write these words.

I then moved to the first couch. I completed assembly of the two side panels and mid-leg support. I then continued to sand the rear and face panels and to cut and plane the seat pieces. Lots of wood-working-satisfaction tonight as there is now a mockup of our couch standing in the living room – looks like its going to be a great size. Still much work to do … but I think in a few days we may actually have a couch (at least the wood-part) to sit on. The couch will also have a large storage box … so that should come in useful too πŸ™‚

Already we are making plans for a simple living room unit that will hold lots of other stuff including our LCD screen, sewing machine and hopefully all of our books. Its feels like a bit of a race … but we want a pleasant and organized house and living room by Christmas πŸ™‚ Its time to leave the camp site and move into a house πŸ™‚

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Yesterday we got back from a nice two rest in Targu Mures. The restfulness was replaced by restlessness from a long drive back home with a few stops in Cluj. But we made it back, made some mamaliga and slipped under the covers early.

Today was another typical un-cold day so we used it for work. We got all the cabinet shelves sanded and two layers of finish applied to them (thanks to a bit of un-cold fresh air with occasional sunlight). The living/finishing room floor is practically covered with shelves and shelf hangers. Tomorrow they all to through a little light sanding and then some polishing and then we can bring all home … and finally have cabinets (that one day will have doors too) to put all our stuff in.

 

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Another fall-ish day. In the morning it looked like it rained in the night – everything was wet even somewhat muddy (a refreshing view since we didn’t get much rain this summer/fall).

Today was a shorter work day. We got floorboards fit into the cabinet. Andreea made some more progress sanding shelves and I finally got around to assembly of the first couch. One side of the couch is fully assembled (not without hitches … I though the quality drill-bits I had were all purpose, apparently they are good for brick and cement, not so good for wood, also I thought I was covered with all the possible screws I could need, apparently I was wrong).

Then some wood chopping (piles were diminishing) … now showered and a quiet evening indoors. Tomorrow we leave for a couple of days of vacation in Targu Mures πŸ™‚