500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Winter falls early


We have inadvertently stepped through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia. After a brief hailstorm, the snow began to fall… not a flurry as we were expecting, but a blizzard which continued for days, not hours. The temperature dropped suddenly and rapidly… fortunately the day before we’d bought two new fire stoves – one for the bathroom (how nice, to have a bath alongside a wood burning stove) and another for our bedroom. With the old range in the kitchen and giant barrel stove in the upstairs lounge we have been able to keep all the rooms in use at a decent temperature – though the hallway is now down to 12 degrees c.
More worryingly, there are still green leaves on the trees here, and I have heard the sound of migrating birds taking a rest from flight through the blizzarding snow. As with the flooding early in the summer, the locals say that these kinds of weather conditions are seen every 5 years or so in the Czech Republic, but it certainly must wrong foot many species to have winter arrive mid October. I hope this is temporary (we have lots of trees to plant yet, and not enough wood cut by far) however the snow is still falling five days later.
Luckily, as well as chopping wood, we have been insulating in recent weeks. Rosie – a workaway visitor – put her carpentry skills to use by ensuring that all the secondary windows were able to close properly. I also had an idea to use the cheap Ikea Irja curtain poles (29kc) installed directly into the wall* around the windows to hang a secondary layer of curtain (behind the thin, decorative curtains we have in the rooms currently used. As insulating curtains we have used the cheap Ikea single Mysa Gras quilts (69kc) which fit perfectly into the alcove of our Vienna windows. They are lightweight, washable and allow some light through, but substantially thicker than curtain material. We can keep these curtains shut during the longer winter nights, when the temperature outside drops off as soon as the sun goes down. Claire and Emily did a sterling job on Thursday – putting up many more curtain rods so we are now as insulated as we can be until I next visit Ikea for more supplies.
Did I mention the number of pairs of socks the house came with? We have put these to use as insulators of the current (temporary) plumbing system. They look rather like an art installation… I need to think of a good title for it.
Yesterday morning I had to clear a path through the snow to the composting toilet outside… we moved it to the back of the garden because though it was convenient to have it close to the front door, you did feel somewhat exposed when trucks came past the garden. Now we have a fantastic view up the valley… currently a wintery landscape of frost and fir trees, and beautiful white scenes from every window. Definitely not what I was hoping for in mid October.

*The curtain pole goes in via a parallel parking type manoeuvre. We cut the metal curtain pole to 3cm longer than the gap, then on the left hand side of the window, with a masonry drill bit the same diameter as the poles, drilled a hole 3cm deep angled towards the corner of the wall on the right, then again in the same spot, parallel with the glass, and a 1cm hole on the opposite side.

One Comment to

“Winter falls early”

  1. On February 3rd, 2011 at 6:15 pm 500 Year Vision » Blog Archive » Keeping out the cold Says:

    […] the walls – hence this is where any condensation forms if the room is damp. To address this, in 2009 I put up the most inexpensive quilts from Ikea as an insulating layer under decorative curtains in each room. The evidence of effectiveness is only anecdotal – […]

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