Farm Accommodation, Farm Life, Highland cattle, highland landscapes, Uncategorized

Warmth at the core

The fire is ticking – something to do with constant heating and cooling: constant because this is the only heat source in the house. It is a Jotul woodburner, a monopod – beast with a single foot around which it can be made to rotate so that the lit logs are always seen. Nice idea, but little used.
It is a companion in much the way of the Nog – though quieter. I light it first thing and stock it last. It supplies warmth and cheer. The underfloor heating is expensive and dehydrating : I use it if temperatures drop- at the moment they hardly fall below freezing. The winter before last we had ten weeks sub zero – approaching minus twenty and the heating system failed – the woodburner sufficed.
It provides an axis for living in winter months. Functional tasks are made more pleasant by proximity and almost any domestic or social interaction occurs under its presidency.
This morning I leave the house after ensuring a sustainable flame. I take the quad from the garage to the west, travel in a wide loop south of the house due north to the yard. Feeding the grumbling stotts and placid Angus Halfhorn and his two girls takes me out east. All points covered.
Returning up the hill, the house is elevated on the skyline like a rock grown mushroom, the cupola umbrella-like opened under low cloud. Drifting between the roof green and sky is the thin plume of white smoke. It tells me which way the wind blows and how hard; what I may expect from the weather.
But this wisp also tells of continuity, a connection between outward manifestation and the life indoors. Its offer of comfort increases in direct proportion to the harshness of the winter weather.
It is the banner of ephemeral life in the dead time.


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