March 2023

As you might surmise if you read what February was like, you could believe that March began with lots of bedrest and trying to get over the terrible cough and cold that had lodged into my body. On this speculation, you would be correct. I did manage to kick the cold, but the cough lingered.

We got into a puzzle rotation with friends and enjoyed putting together some fun and beautiful puzzles. Below is just a sampling of the puzzles we plowed through.

A beautiful event happened mid March that would set up my time in April: My friends in Albuquerque had their little baby girl and was taking me up on my offer to come down and help out once my cough was done. Actually, they were requiring anyone who was to have contact with the little babe get their Tdap shot (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)) and being that I hadn’t had one since I fell through the deck during construction of it when Galen was 8, I was in need of it anyway. I scheduled my shot for early April and let the excitement of being with a newborn settle upon me.

This week’s frigid weather has me also remembering last winter’s weather. We historically have heated mostly with our wood burning stove and the beginning of winter seemed mild and so, I wasn’t burning often so as to conserve the wood we had. We hadn’t gotten any new wood and snow piled up to where the larger pile was before it was thought of to bring it over, so we just kept burning to a minimum. That seemed prudent until the first really cold month and the utility bill came in. The moratorium to save wood was off and we were back to burning. I checked on the local social media and someone had some dead fallen pine that they had cleared from their property and was happy to give away. It was mostly already cut into lengths that would fit into the stove, so we took advantage of the free wood. I figured that some of the BTU’s had dried out of the wood, but then maybe the creosote too was lessened. I was wrong. We had cleaned the flue in the spring of the prior year after all burning was done, but by March of this year, we started to notice that the draw of smoke up the chimney was less and further inspection showed the spark arrester at the top of the chimney was gunked up as well.

Devin and I got out the chimney brush and the ropes and got to work. We have several bends and turns in our chimney from the stove up through the roof, so the poles that come with a chimney brush just won’t work for us. (Ted strayed away from doing anything the normal way as much as possible). We remove the stove pipe from the stove, hook on a bag to collect the debri, poke a hole through the top of the bag so that we can pull the rope down through as we scrub out the flue with the person on top pulling up on the rope tied to one end of the brush, and the person below pulling in alternate turns on the downside. It is generally, fairly dust free with the particles passing the hole off to the side and just falling into the trash bag. Unfortunately, with the amount of pine we had been burning, there was much more build up than normal and as I was the person at the bottom pulling the rope, I failed to notice how full the bag was getting and before we could finish, it became detached from it’s holding spot. It fell to the floor and all of the soot meant for the bag came tumbling down in front of me and all of the soot in the bag mushroomed up like a mini explosion. I suddenly looked like the coal miners daughter.

And so ended my March.


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