Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keeping it warm in Leetonia

Thought I would share with you my daily winter rituals. When I got up this morning it was 4 degrees outside and 58 inside. First I let the dogs out and next started the fire for the day. We heat mainly with wood. I do have a back up gas space heater for temperatures below -10. It gets hard to keep the place warm enough with my woodburner.
The cart you see in the picture when filled to the top lasts one day in temps that average around 20. When it goes down to zero we can go through two carts a day. The wood container near the cart holds kindling to help get the fire going.
The dogs are quick to do their business in the morning for two reasons: they get a morning treat and it is much warmer inside then out.

My boots are commonly on the hearth drying out from the snow. A pan of water is refilled at least twice a day to keep some moisture in the drier winter air. The nice thing about a fire is if you are really cold you just move closer to it. I have a fan that circulates the air to move it a little faster through the cabin. There is something mesmerizing about looking at a fire I can do it for hours and never get bored.
The down side to heating with wood is if you let it go out you get cold, your pipes freeze and havoc occurs. I can't just set a dial to the temperature I want and forget it. Also being gone for more than a day is out of the question without winterizing the water pipes. That is why not having indoor plumbing for the pioneers was a frozen pipes. The dogs love the fire. My old dog Jack would often sit up on the hearth so close I swear I could smell his fur burning. I just wish I could teach them to tend the fire.
Of course wood burning is not without its dangers. The old methodist Church in Marshlands (which is now a residency) had a chimney fire last night and did quite a bit of damage. Carefully cleaning of the chimney each year is a much and making sure you store your ashes carefully. I learned this the hard way a few years ago. I would just carry the ashes out in a bucket and toss them over the hill near the stream all winter. I didn't think a thing about it until one day I came home to a large fire in my stack of next years firewood. Flames were shooting 10 foot in the air. I had to carry buckets of water from the stream to start putting it out until Lee could connect a hose. It took 4 hours of water and kicking my pile apart to get it out.
I was very lucky the fire had started at my ash pile, burnt the dry grass up within 5 feet of the house, under the propane tank down a 100 feet to the wood pile, on its way claiming a large pile of expensive cedar boards. I was so lucky it didn't catch the house on fire. Since then I have built a cinder block pit to keep the cinders in and avoid such a disaster. Well about time to put more wood on the fire. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Leetonia at Christmas time

It was a rainy/icy day for Christmas. Lee is gone so it was just me and the dogs. We celebrated Christmas early so I worked on Christmas day to make it seem more like any other day. The ice outside was bad enough you did't feel like doing much outside anyway.
The day after Christmas I crept out the slippery roads to get some supplies. On the way back Leetonia Road was jammed with tow trucks. Not small ones..the big ones they use for semis. It seems the Gaines road plowing truck thought he could get by without chains and did a little flip off the road he rolled down about 15'. I did a little flashback to my accident and was glad I didn't
take a big dump truck down the cliff.
I turned around and circled over the mountain going up Elk Run to Schumacher. I came out by the Elk Township building and Lee Stover stopped me to say the Elk Township truck was laid up. They were sending the West Branch truck to cinder the ice. He told me the Gaines truck did a "Paula" down the road. Being a good sport I laughed, but now I think my name is becoming synonymous with flipping off the road. I had hoped for a better legacy.
My daughter and kids are coming up the second week in January and my daughter send me this picture of the youngest, Ella. She looks quite ready to be a mountain girl. I don't know if you can tell by the smile but she has enough energy to move the mountain.
The first picture shows the weather today. We got a couple inches of snow last night to cover our ice so it looks a little nicer but I doubt if it is any easier to walk yet. Well the fire is stoked up and warm. I have a trip into town for one of the dogs and will pick up some more cereal. Hope you all had a great Leetonia Christmas. I know I did. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No Snow from East Coast Storm

Just a quick update. We did not receive any snow from that storm that dumped up to 24 inches on the east coast. We still have a lot of ice on the roads and wearing chains is the only safe way to travel in the back woods. The ice is the only part of living back here I do not like. It is difficult to walk. Just getting into my truck yesterday, I ended up holding the steering wheel as my feet flew out from under me. The dogs seem to fair better. I think having four or in Thor's case three feet on the ground with claws helps. The propane company has not come to fill our tank and my concern is they may not show up until spring. We might make it through the winter on half a tank but it would be close. Well I got the fire started and the house is starting to warm up. Today is pancake day so I am off to eat breakfast and then go work. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Road Conditions

In case you all are wondering how the roads are to Leetonia, here is the news. We traveled south on Leetonia road to Cedar Run today. The first picture shows some of the ice we encountered. This is in front of Theresa's place and shortly after I took this picture we slid sideways. We have studded tires on the Subaru it does well in snow but not so hot on ice.
Traveling down the road was slow and most of the road looked like the second picture icy rough ruts. The snow in the middle and edges is frozen hard and it is difficult to get out of the ruts which is good and bad. Staying in the ruts keeps you from going off the road, but if another vehicle
comes it could be a problem for a car like ours. The bottom of the car rubbed on the high snow in the middle of the road for about half the trip.
About half way down the road had a few places like the third picture with the ruts down to the gravel. If it had been this way all the way it would have been a breeze. We weren't that lucky.
The last two hair pin curves were slick like the first picture and I have to say I held my breathe more than once on the way down.
After making it to Cedar Run we pretty much decided the road is only drivable with chains on. You must go slowly and stay on the high side of the banked road to do well.
If you come in from the Galeton/Gaines side the road is plowed and sanded up to the point in of the first picture. From Theresa's place down to Franks it is very icy and you must have cleats on your shoes to walk or chains on your vehicle to drive. If we get more snow the conditions could improve as the snow tends to rough up the ice and bond to it making it less slippery, but for now it is for brave or crazy people. I am not sure which category we fall into, but I will say my IQ improved on the way back and I made Lee drive 50 miles around to come home. This is hard to do since it is only 9 miles the fast dangerous way from Cedar Run to home. It took forever, but I was able to breathe a lot better.
Coming from the south I would suggest coming up 15 to 6 then down from Gaines at Watrous to Leetonia road and in. Bring chains and cleats for your boots if coming up this weekend. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Icy Blockade

We are getting an ice storm. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF DRIVING THESE ROADS TODAY! It is chains only as the freezing rain continues to fall. It is weird how it can be 22 degrees and rain. Right now it is 29 and raining the result is an icy mess as soon as it hits. What snow was on the road is now an ice skating rink.
If you are back here the only hope is chains but even then it will be a scary ride. I have decided to stay in and do paper work. Even walking on this can be hazardous. Chance of losing power as this continues is great. So the generator is ready for action. I will let you know how we come through this tomorrow. All the chain stuff is ready: chains for tires, chains for chain saw and cleat for shoes. This is the kind of weather that makes winter hard. I would much rather have 12" of snow. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter is here!

Well last night it got down to 10 degrees. I woke up to a 53 degree house. When it is cold inside you don't want to get out of a warm bed. Of course the fire has to be started to get the house warmed back up. We had some wind last night that seemed to go right through things and cool them off fast. Even the dogs didn't want to get up this morning.
The eight inches of snow we got a couple days ago went from a heavy wet snow to a hard mass of snow. The plow put down some salt on the road to our house, but anywhere it is not plowed it has frozen ruts that jerk you around. Best to have some studded snow tire or chain if you are running around much. Well got a few outdoor things to finish up today. I will be putting on the heavy winter clothes today. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The annual Christmas card picture

Well, every year after it snows and we put the tree up outside we attempt to get a picture of all three dogs for the card.
None of them are impressed by the process. Scooter doesn't like wearing anything, Thor gets bored, and Leo just sticks his tongue out at the whole process.
It always takes about 50 pictures to get one without one of the dogs doing something unchristmaslike. The snow didn't cooperate this year and melted as we attempted to take the picture. So this year's Christmas will be a little green on the card.
The picture we did use will be in the profile picture during the Holidays for all to see. Hope you all have better luck getting your Christmas pictures. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An icy touch of winter

I got the feeling of winter settling in to stay; first yesterday it snowed about 2", then the temperatures dropped to 14 degrees last night. There is only a couple days in the next ten days it is forecast to be above freezing. So seeing the wood stacked on both front and back porches gives you a nice safe warm feeling for the winter months.
Lee is getting her studded snow tires on today as it looks like ice and snow are also in the ten day forecast. I am still finishing up some outside work, but "no roofs" thank goodness. I have winterized two camps for the season and will do another one this week. Two more camps stay open a bit longer hoping to come up over the holidays if the weather holds. Lee's sister, Diane headed South for the winter just in time to avoid the cold. She is spending the winter in Florida looking for work down there and enjoying her kids and grandchild. Lee will be driving a vehicle to Arizona for some friends and I may be alone for Christmas unless I can talk my brother into coming up. Well, at least I know I will be warm and the company of three dogs keeps a person from being too lonely. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Long time camp owner passes

Ruthe Herre passed away Dec 1st you can follow this link to her obituary. Her and her friend Jan Sager have been coming up to camp together since the death of her husband Harold Herre a number of years back.
The Herre camp was a haven for Ruthe as she watched the bears, deers and others animals from the large picture windows on the camp.
I have a feeling she is freer to visit the place now and it wouldn't surprise me to see her sitting in the window by the long white table some day.
I did a lot of remodeling on the camp this year, but I am sure she won't mind sitting in the freshly painted and carpeted place. Something she wanted to do for a long time before her passing. When she and Jan were up they would often go to different places to eat out. It seemed like every time they passed my house they would be surprised by the things I would be doing. I know I will miss seeing her and talking to her. Ruthe had a way with words, she loved a good joke and wasn't afraid to tell you the way things were. I'll be looking for you around the corner. Happy trails from the Mountain girl, Paula.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Deer Season

According to the paper the first day of deer season was slow and not many deer brought in. The camp next to us Sunlite Gun Club, however didn't follow the rule. Michael Curcil shot the ten point buck and coyote on the first day from the same spot. He said he saw the coyote first and then the buck.
The next day Courtney Foose shot the eight point. Both bucks were heavy bodied and promise to be a lot of good eating for the work.
I will have to admit they look a little strange hung in among the Christmas lights. I am not sure Santa's Reindeer would be too happy with this decoration. I know the boys at Sunlite are happy and many a car passing by was jealous as they slowed down to take a look.
Scooter and I walked down to the camp to take this picture and he wasn't too thrilled seeing the coyote. I am not sure if he thought it would bite him or he would be next, but he was very jumpy near the hanging animals.
I have been trying to finish all my roof work before it snows too much and haven't taken the time to blog for quite a while. Now that I am done with roofs for the year, I can slow down a bit and smell the firewood burning. Mountain girl, logging off.