Woke up at 5 or so and knew the stove was cold. My face was a little numb and one touch of my nose told me nobody had fed the beast in the wee hours. Sure we have electric back up, but we also had a massive load of wood and a stove that was meant for this weather. It was also meant to have someone standing by and feeding logs in every few minutes. I wanted a cute little Jotul or soapstone or red enamel Vermont Castings stove but settled for a Tractor Supply monster that does not damp down very well. My apartment is about a thousand square feet but this stove will do double that or more. Long range plans (hey, fantasies are free aren't they?) include a massive bedroom/bathroom/walk-in closet space upstairs in the cavernous hay mow that is now totally empty. I will carve holes in the floor so heat from the Beast will float up to my bedroom. The only problem is that I will have to come downstairs to stoke the Beast. Oy. Nothing is 100%, right? As I was washing a mountain of dishes - how can two people use so many dishes? I know how. I cook way too much and we eat way too much. At my age food becomes an obsession, along with animals. With all my aches, pains and stiffness food makes everything feel better. Nothing fancy, just quality home cooking. The critters amuse me and keep me warm at night. I digress...the dishes. I carefully approached the subject of the new dishwasher, still in the box in the middle of the room, unopened. Spousal unit looked quizzically at me and said what dishwasher? The one you bought me for Christmas I replied. OH! That one! I blame it on the zen of the tractor and the snow storm. He is in the saddle several times a day scraping away at the driveways with his little pet - the 1946 8N he spent two years tinkering with in Syracuse. With only a back blade to work with he has to take a little bit of snow off at a time. Oy. I am promised an installation of the Bosch beauty soon. Oh, I will pet it and stroke it. It's only been 14 years. Yes, I married for love and never thought of what I might need in my old age. Love it the wild card of life, isn't it? Some good news...after spending three hours of my life I will never get back I have reclaimed my electric range dye stove from the chickens. It was tough going but Matt Redmond stepped in every once in a while to make sure I was okay - and still working. My fault for letting it get this bad. Most of the milk room chickens are captured and back in the chicken room. Let's hope Loren's boards and nails hold the little buggers inside. I've been catching as many free rangers as possible the last couple of nights (with my air cast back on). There are many unhappy birds in the chicken room with lots of food but much less space. I shoveled off the poop and disconnected the burners praying they were not sufficiently corroded to require a costly purchase of new ones. Since my laundry sink was full of chicken feeders, jars of precious dye powders, spoons, bags of fiber (yes I salvaged what I could) all covered with heavy layers of dung I could not wash the burners in it. Took them inside to the bath tub and washed them being careful not to harm the elements. You don't want to know what my tub looked like. Hurray, all four burners work fine. After removal of most of the heavy dung Matt helped me carry out the laundry sink, a freebee from a past job site. I'm hoping to journey to Lowe's in New Hartford today to buy a small single laundry sink that I can't fill up with too much junk. I wash my fiber in the washing machine anyway. So here we are, on the sofa with the doggies, and I'm thinking of the lovely eggs I will cook for breakfast. I love my chickens but I need to manage them much better. It's always been chaotic, ever since I visited my friend Mary across the creek several years back and came home with a crate full of Olde English Bantams were on their way to market. Remarkable little chickens. I let them loose in the barn to act as fly catchers and they did a fantastic job. However, they mated with my purebred beauties and produced some medium sized hybrids. Nothing is cuter than seeing a new mom parading her brood of tiny fluffballs through the barn, but many of them grow up to be roosters that steal the cat food and terrorize the hens. As with much of civilization, you only need ONE GOOD MALE to keep the train on the tracks.