I am happy to announce that we officially have three warm rooms in our house.  Not one, but three.  We have a pellet stove in classroom number one and two, plus our beautiful wood stove is up and running in the gym.

I would now like to take this vow:

I, A.E.H., do solemnly swear that every future blog post will not have a reference to my existing heating situation.  I also swear that I am not clinically obsessed with heat in general but simply have a healthy reverence towards Canadian winters and am therefore reasonably interested in ways to stay warm.

And let me just add that you, my trusted reader, would be equally obsessed with your heating system if you currently had none.  Well now that we are back on even ground and cleared our emotional plates, let’s continue with the update.

We spent a lovely, sunny Sunday morning stacking our two cords of wood that we ordered.  We are thinking about ordering two more cords to get us through the winter.  We envisioned the whole family helping to stack and enjoying the outdoors together.  Turns out my children couldn’t see the point of it all and went about their lazy ways.

Today is my husband’s 40th birthday.  He is spending several hours driving to the border to pick up our tubing for our radiant heat.  My mom and mother in law are en route, and we are all looking forward to have a yummy roast beef dinner (a la mother in law) and hanging out with our moms.  This weekend we have several dozen friends and family coming to stay to celebrate Jess’ birthday.  We have a baseball and croquet game planned, as well as a delicious BBQ, and many hours of jamming on stage and just plain hanging out.   I can’t wait for the festivities to begin!


The Warm Room


This is a picture of our ‘new to us’ pellet stove.  We had a couple of cold days over here.  The other night it got down to 2 degrees Celsius.  I was damn cold.  I was too cold to change into my pajamas and went to bed shivering.  Two degrees is tolerable when you live in a fairly well insulated house.  We have no insulation, terrible windows and concrete floors.

The next day Jess hooked up our pellet stove that we bought from a neighbour back in July.  It heats one classroom quite nicely.  Classroom number two has been called Grandma’s Room, and then the Guest Room, and now it is the Warm Room.  We’ve been spending most of our evenings in the Warm Room, and have invited our dining room table and our couch to join us in there.  The other class rooms are now mostly used in the day and shunned at night.

We are experiencing some lovely weather at the moment and predictions are for temperatures in the double digits.  We have a few more days of grace before we really have to get our act together.  Jess is off buying chimney pipe and the hope is our large wood stove will be connect and ready to use by tomorrow night.  Our order has been placed for 5000 feet of tubing for our radiant heat.  We ordered it from the States for a better price and have to drive across the border to pick it up.

If our plans all fall apart, we have the Warm Room.  I can always drag all our beds in there and we can hunker down until we get this old heating thing figured out.

The Fair


This past Saturday was our town’s annual fair.  It is big excitement for our little town.  It is especially exciting for us because for the last 60 years the parade has always started at our school.  The fair board contacted us back in February to insure that they could still use our property for all the floats and animals come September.  We said yes since it was hard to come up with a reason to say no.

My kids got up at the crack of dawn, and started peering out their bedroom window looking for some action.  They had to wait until after breakfast for the action to begin.  Soon enough, our field was full of floats, horses, antique cars, clowns, bagpipers, and a great big old fire truck.  After meeting several new neighbours, we started finagling our way onto a float.  We wanted to experience our first fair like royalty and enter the fair grounds aboard a luxurious float.

Our only invite was the Sunday school pioneer float.  We were happy to be invited.  We donned our Sunday best, borrowed a few bonnets, and off we went.  We were a little overshadowed by the rowdy beach float with their noodles and beach wear, but we kept our backs straight, our waves precise, and our expressions stoic.

The day was spent playing games at the fish pond, drinking milkshakes and marvelling at the giant tomatoes.  The only disappointment was that Ernie didn’t place at the dog show.  We had forgotten to brush him but we did give him a pink bandanna to wear that we thought was sure to overshadow the lack of grooming.  But alas, those country judges are more sophisticated than we had imagined.  Next year Ernie will be a triple threat with his coat brushed, bandanna ironed, and he might even get a bath.

Farewell Hotdog


Our friend and family member Hotdog Jubejube Mustard finally hatched.  Do butterflies hatch or do they simply emerge?  As soon as National Geographic hires me to be their new up and coming photo journalist, I’ll get all that mumbo jumbo naturalist vocabulary down pat.

Until then, please enjoy this photo montage of Hotdog’s journey south.

We wish him well.





The Drill


PULL IN CASE OF FIRE.  Well, last night we decided to pull.  It was loud, and alarming, which we should of expected.  One of my children started to cry.  We couldn’t turn it off.  We ate our dessert outside.  After about half an hour, Jess figured it out and turned the alarm off.

The next fire drill has been postponed until further notice.

We plan on checking out the fire hose next.

The Beginning


It was the first week of school and there were plenty of nerves, mostly on my part.  All my girls are off to school all day this year.  I drove them to school and walked them into their classrooms.  My oldest two already had friends in their class, but my little one went in fresh.  She put on a brave face when she sat down at her desk, but she held on tight to my hand and I had trouble pulling it away.  I would of stayed with her the whole day if I wasn’t new in town.  But since there is already a rumour that we have started a cult at the school, I thought it best to leave her to fend for herself.  I got in my car and cried all the way home.

She spent each recess of that first day, adjusting her leg warmers, by herself under the slide.  The rest of the week was filled with nightmares, a hospital visit and strep throat.  She was back at school on Friday and came home with a smile on her face, and names of new friends.

We went to our local fair this weekend.  It was an afternoon filled with barn yard animals, pulled taffy, and topsy turny rides.  After going in the poultry barn, Jess is convinced we should get chicks.  I think we may need another dog.  The girls are campaigning to each get a dog for their birthdays this year.  Although we have the room for them here, I’m quite sure we would be hard pressed to find somewhere to stay in Toronto with five people and four dogs.

Other exciting news is that our boiler from China arrived on Friday with minimal damage.  The thought of having some heat this winter is very appealing.  Jess is outside insulating the exterior of the crawl space as I write.  Once that is done, they will start work on the radiant heating system.


 I also ordered my wood stove this afternoon, so we should be right as rain for this season.

Kijiji has been my best friend this past week.  We had a guy drive 4 hours to see our old boiler.  We charmed him with tales of peak oil, high heating prices, and climate change and it seems to have worked!  We are currently negotiating price and really hope it works out.  A couple came by and acquired two large salmon coloured carpets that have been living in the library for the past 40 years.  They said the carpets would be perfect for their fixer upper.

We still have some outstanding urinals if any one is interested.  As the ad says, they would make a great gift!