Winter arrived in Devil's Bridge this morning, almost as abruptly as autumn arrived, back in August. We've had a few hard frosts, but mostly it's been pretty mild, then this morning it snowed....
... and very pretty it is too, though not so nice for birds.
When I say the weather's been mild, it's still quite cold enough to have the heating on and as usual, we're struggling to keep the house warm. The other day I did a maintenance job that I should have done ages ago. I replaced the fire rope seals around the doors on the wood burning stove.
Until I started measuring how much I needed, I hadn't even noticed that the ash flap at the bottom also has a channel to fit rope into. It's not a very big job, though slightly bigger due to the fact that it was previously fixed with cement (it shouldn't be), so I had to chip all that out first.
We couldn't believe how much difference it made! We'd always thought our second hand stove was just old and leaky but in fact, with new seals in place, it's possible to close down the air flow so much that wood stops burning. Without the flow of cool (room temperature) air into the fire box, it gets a lot hotter and radiates far more heat into the room. We're also using less wood, as it doesn't burn up so quickly. A day after I replaced the rope, Ian investigated the air inlet control, which has never had any noticeable effect before. With the ash cleared out of the vent, it works just fine, so now we have an efficient, controllable stove. It's like having a new one! It's a salutary illustration of the importance of maintenance.
Now, I'm going to go and sit by the fire, but I'll leave you with one more picture of snow, because the sun came out briefly about an hour ago.