Posts Tagged ‘woodstove’

The Cailleach has a long arm

February 3, 2022

Finally, a wee dusting of actual snow.

It was right about the time I started prepping the green chile stew that the Cailleach dropped her knitting atop Hag’s Head in County Clare and muttered, “Right, time that Ó Grádaigh gobshite in Albuquerque got the back of me hand so.”

Just a love tap, mind you. We are cousins, after all. I make it about four inches atop the wall. Still, it will require me to drag this old bag of bone splinters and bad ideas back and forth across the driveway for a spell, muttering about Gaelic deities and the length of their hairy auld arms.

It’s a refreshing 8° at the moment, a lovely temperature for a bit of upper-body work. I’ll happily take it over the -8° my man Hal is enjoying up to Weirdcliffe, where his Innertubes have quit but the woodstove remains on the job.

I remember those Crusty County temperatures, and not fondly, either. Tunnel out from under the covers at stupid-thirty, squeal like a little bitch, dash downstairs to the woodstove and feed it a few chunks, leap outside for more wood (and more squealing), then sprint back inside to melt the ice in the terlet with a good auld Guinness-and-Jameson’s wee.

It was all downhill after that, and I do mean downhill. We lived on a rocky outcropping 10 miles from town, one mile and 430 vertical feet from the county road, and once you got down to the bottom you mostly wanted to go right back up again, to where the whiskey and Guinness and woodstove were.

If I burrowed deeply enough into the covers the Cailleach couldn’t find me. That was the idea, anyway. I have lots of ideas.

Getting wood in Weirdcliffe

February 22, 2021

The fireplace in Weirdcliffe, before we installed a Lopi woodstove insert.

When Texas sank back into the Ice Age, I was reminded of the good old days on our wind-scoured rockpile outside Weirdcliffe, Colorado.

There, the power only went out whenever it was inconvenient. And it usually would stay off for an hour or two at minimum, which was the time it took for a utility guy from Cañon City to flip a switch somewhere.

We learned early on that not much works during winter at 8,800 feet in the ass-end of nowhere if you don’t have power. No water, no cooking, and most important, no heat.

I remembered the joys of a heat-free home from my stint in a 9×40 singlewide trailer in Greeley back in 1974. Its oil furnace was forever seizing up in the middle of a winter night, and there’s nothing that clarifies the mind for higher education quite as well as the backsplash from a frozen toilet when you get up at stupid-thirty to offload a sixer of the long-neck Falstaffs you enjoyed for dinner.

Our private road. I went backwards on this stretch in 4WD one evening. I wasn’t scared or nothin’, but somebody shit on my seat. | Photo: Hal Walter

So on our hillside, we kept ourselves prepared. There were canned goods and jerrycans of water in the hall closet, along with a Coleman two-burner and several 1-pound propane bottles for emergency cookery. And we had several candle lanterns and flashlights at the ready because this shit never happens in broad daylight on a weekday.

But the smartest thing we did was have a Lopi woodstove insert installed in our fireplace, along with buying a chainsaw and ax. When you heat with wood, it warms you twice — while you’re cutting it, and while you’re burning it.

And speaking of getting wood, yes, yes, yes, it’s time for the latest episode of Radio Free Dogpatch.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: I recorded this one in the Comedy Closet, using a Shure MV7 mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. Editing was in Apple’s GarageBand, with a sonic bump from Auphonic. Music by Infernal Hound Sound; sound effects courtesy of Zapsplat. Special guest appearance by Shel Silverstein.