Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Warm and Cosy

A few months back we bought this little wood fire. We had ducted heating in the house (a gas run system that shoots warm air up through vents in your floor) but it was an old system that would need replacing and was really expensive to run throughout the winter months. Ducted heating is also not very efficient and so we wanted something a little more sustainable and cheaper to run.
We bought this little fire place and did some tiling on the floor, Dave put some reproduction pressed tin on the back wall, added a safety guard, and we lit her up! This heats half of the house where we do pretty much all of our living and it takes the edge off the rest of the house. We did get this in the middle of a very cold winter for us so Dave has had to work hard at keeping up with the wood collecting and chopping but we figure that for next winter we will be all prepared and if it is something that you work on all year it will never be a massive job. To buy fire wood is really expensive so we have done this with the vision of not having to purchase any. We live in an area where people are often removing trees and limbs and so if you put the word out everyone is happy for you to take the wood off their hands if they don't need it. We have a few large and dangerous trees that need removing so that will give us a few years burning and with Dave working on building sites he makes sure that no timber goes to the dump for landfill. If we just keep our eyes out around here and take advantage of any opportunity for free firewood then we should be ok.

This winter has been a particularly long and cold one for us but we have been quite comfortable. We can also dampen the fire down so that it burns all night. This is a great feature and means that you have a warm house to wake up to and that in the morning you can easily crank it up again without having to start it from scratch. The fan that you can see will be replaced with one that we will mount on the wall above the fire to push the warm air further around the room. You can get fires with this fan as part of the system but ours didn't come with one.
Using a fire for all of your heat is a little work but it is something that I enjoy and there is just something extra nice about sitting around a wood burning fire on a cold evening isn't there? And...we recently got our first gas/electricity bill and it was $150 cheaper than the month before! We are saving $150-$200 every month that we would have used the ducted heating so this fire will pay itself off in a few years. I loved getting that bill and it had motivated us for adding as many self-sustainable features into our new extension that has started. We are looking into hydronic heating that will run off this wood fire, solar hot water, solar electricity panels, water tanks to supply the house and garden and double glazing. . . . but more on all of this later down the track!

Daily Rhythm

As Scarlett now is into her third month I finally feel that we are settling into a daily rhythm where it just might be possible to perhaps do some cooking or gardening, make some soap or even take the time to catch up on some of those things on my forever expanding 'to do' list. Yes, we are getting it together now and everything doesn't seem so busy and out of control. It's amazing how I now feel like I must have had all the time in the world with just Jonty and that I wasn't busy at all. . . . having a toddler and a new baby, now that's busy! But, we adjust don't we? We roll with the new things that life brings, add them to our lives, and get on with it. Having Scarlett has brought a new sense of excitement to life. I am realising that these early days with her do go fast and so I take the time to just be with her and watch. The dishes can wait, I don't want to miss that little grin, or the first time that she manages to lift her head from the floor. I may be busier and have to stay up to all hours of the night to work on my business but I am loving life at the moment. I thought that with having another baby I would have to put a lot of the things that I enjoy doing on the back burner, but now I see that it is possible to fit it in; that it will be possible to garden, sew and cook and generally do the things that make my day enjoyable and not full of chores. Scarlett has arrived and is now slotting into her place in the family. We carry on as before, but now there is another layer of happiness and excitement with one more of us here to enjoy the days!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Miss Scarlett

Introducing Miss Scarlett Matilda . . . .

So, this is where is have been all these months! Scarlett is now 8 weeks old and, as I am sure it is the case with all families, we just can't imagine her not being here. She is so lovely and an absolute joy. As this is the second time around for me I have made a conscious decision to enjoy every moment as they really do grow so fast. That's why this blog has been left for a while. I don't want to put added pressure on myself to get another thing done every day. The day's are already busy with washing, cleaning, bathing, keeping my toddler entertained and keeping the house is some kind of order. It has been a little tricky, especially to keep up with things like bread baking and cheese making, so I have let some things go until I can get some daily routine going and can add those things back into my life again. I feel like I am starting to get there now, though, and writing this blog again seems to be possible. After all, it is something that I like doing and it motivates me to live the life that I want to live while helping to connect me to similar minded people. Not to mention when I get comments from readers who are actually enjoying this blog and perhaps taking away something and implementing it into their own lives. So, I am back and hoping to keep up with this writing that gives me a little reflection, quiet and self time that is even more important these days!