Several years ago I realized that my wood stove was becoming dysfunctional in a couple of important ways. I thought that I should probably change to having a gas fireplace insert, now that I am older and my back is not as strong as it used to be, for carrying the firewood and bending over the stove to build and tend the fire.
I also thought, mistakenly, that I was not allowed to install a new wood-burning insert in our area. When I learned that it was only for new construction that the building code forbids them, I was elated.
And during that time my housemate Susan began to carry wood and build fires, too. Many times when I came home from a trip or just a late-afternoon outing in the winter, I walked into a house that had been all cozied up by her ministrations. These various factors persuaded me to buy a new wood stove, with the help of my son who shopped all over town with me.
I’ve been enjoying the fires very much this past winter, and my back has been up to the work involved, because I’ve been doing my “strengthening exercises.” (Isn’t that what Tigger also does?) The recent rains came with milder weather overall, and I haven’t had a fire for a week — until this cold, cold evening of the beginning of spring, when my feet would not get warm. It was late before I got on task, but now the logs are blazing and my toes are toasty.
For the last two months, though, I have been the only wood-carrier-fire-builder around the place, because my last housemate has moved out, and I am living alone for the first time since the summer just after my husband died. God brought me three housemates during those years, and they were all wonderful people to have around. For awhile there were three of us women living here. But now it seems it has been given me to live alone (with God) in my house, which has been more of an adjustment psychologically than I expected. I got through the transition and I am loving it.