Friday, December 31, 2010

Heating Adventures (Post 1 - Woodstove)

I'm sorry, but this post is going to be pretty long.  We want to document a lot of what we did in case we ever want to do it again.

During our time in Tennessee we had MANY adventures.  I will mostly likely blog about each of them here.  Even though these various adventures took us out of our "comfort zone" we somehow still enjoyed them and loved the fact that we had learned from them.  Here is a picture of one of our nice cold mornings (below).  The multi-room thermometer panel  was a gift I gave Kevan for Christmas last year.  I have to admit it came in really handy and I didn't want to get it for him.  lol!

As you can see from the picture our bedroom was 39 degrees!  The outside temp was 26.  I have to say that I am VERY thankful for our heated mattress pad.  I'm not sure I would've survived the night without it.  We love it.  It is so funny....we felt like we were camping each morning.  Our bodies were nice and warm under the covers, but our faces were FREEZING....just like when you camp.

To give you a little background, the "Sullivan House" was purchased at an auction.  It was not known at this time that 2 of the rooms (add-ons to the original house structure) did not have heating vents like the other rooms in the house and also the gas furnace that provided heat to the remainder of the home did not work.  A new gas furnace was purchased before the previous owner passed away, but was never installed.  So, guess what!  The auctioneer SOLD IT!  We did not know when we arrived from Florida that we would be freezing our TOES OFF for the next few weeks.  I was so glad I brought two pair of slippers!

After freezing for a week we went to Michigan for Thanksgiving and my wonderful big brother gave us his woodstove because he no longer needed it.  Below is a "before picture" that he took with his phone.  He had some water damage in his home which caused the stove to rust.  Sorry for the bad pic, but I forgot to take before pictures.

Once we arrived back to the Sullivan House Kevan and I began working on the stove after work to prepare it to be installed.  Kevan helped me setup a work space in the barn and I set out to sand all the rust off of it.  I used a 18-volt Dewalt Hammer drill with a wire wheel on the end.  I also used an angle grinder here and there, but it was so powerful I had a hard time keeping control of it.  They were both battery operated too so I did not have a lot of time.  The batteries ran down pretty quickly.

When we were finally finished with the sanding we bought stove/BBQ paint and Kevan painted the stove.  It only used one can.  On the doors we used "William's Stove Polish".  The stove turned out lovely.  I think it looks so much better.

We waited about 24 hours after we painted it and then Kevan and his dad purchased a chimney kit from Tractor Supply and an extra pipe, then installed it in our sunroom.  They had the stove and chimney installed in about 5 hours.  We actually had to record the SEC Championship game because they were not yet done with installing the stove so we paused the game until they were ready.  I'm such an awful wife for making him wait to watch his game, but I wanted heat!


This is a picture of the room and the woodstove.  Yes, that is an air conditioner behind the woodstove.  It also includes a heat option, but it uses 3 KW's.  Wood is much cheaper.  Also, please excuse the junk all over the floor!


A few things we have learned since getting this stove. 
  1. Size matters - it is too small to heat more than the two rooms adjacent to it
  2. The stove board (black mat under the stove) is too small and we have burned little holes in the floor because coals or debris have fallen out of the stove when we open the doors.
  3. The type of wood you use is VERY important. 
  4. It takes a lot longer to create a hot fire in a cold stove than I initially realized.  One of the most important things to do is to try and get the stove warmed up as fast as possible (by burning kindling, paper, etc)
  5. When you have a tiny woodstove you have to get up every few hours during the night and refill it with wood if you want the house to be warm when you get up in the morning. 
  6. When you go to town you make sure you aren't gone more than 2-3 hours or your fire will be out and your house will be cold when you get back.
  7. We are hoping if we come and stay here next winter that we can get a chimney reclaimer (chimney fan).  This will help us use the heat we are wasting when it goes up the chimney.
Overall, we love our little woodstove and I am sooooo thankful that my brother blessed us with it.  It has been a great experience too and we have learned a lot about wood heat.  Stay tuned for our "gas furnace" adventure.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Reading List

Pride And Prejudice

Below are the books I have read during 2010.  I read a lot of "girlie" books this year and enjoyed them all.  I didn't read as many books as previous years since I started reading only the Old Testament the last 4 months so it has stopped any other reading.  Also, I took 5 classes this year so that also cut out a lot of my personal reading time.  All books with an asterisk (*) were read on my kindle.  Click here if you are interested in last year's list.

They are in the order of Most Current to Oldest Ones Read:
  1. Old Testament * (The Bible in 90 Days) - I started on September 4th and I am almost finished with just the Old Testament.  It has taken me a lot longer than 90 days, but it has been a great experience.  I read it on my kindle so it is easy to carry my bible with me to the doctor and read while I'm waiting, read in the car while Kevan is driving or read at night while I take my bath.  It takes me about an hour or so to read the full days reading.
  2. The Contrary Farmer (Gene Logsdon) - This book was okay.  I'm not sure I would recommend it.  He does not have the same political views as I do so it was hard to get through some things, but the farming information was pretty good.
  3. Sense and Sensibility * (Jane Austen) **
  4. Persuasion * (Jane Austen) **
  5. Pride and Prejudice * (Jane Austen) **
  6. Emma * (Jane Austen) **
  7. Midnight Sun * (Partial Book by Stephanie Meyer)
  8. A Passion Denied * Book 3 (Julie Lessman) ***
  9. A Passion Redeemed * Book 2 (Julie Lessman) ***
  10. A Passion Most Pure * Book 1 (Julie Lessman) ***
  11. The Confession * Book 2 of The Heritage of Lancaster County Series (Beverly Lewis)
  12. The Shunning * Book 1 of The Heritage of Lancaster County Series (Beverly Lewis)
  13. Coral Castle The Story of Ed Leedskalnin and his American Stonehenge (Rusty McClure, Jack Heffron) - I really enjoyed this book.  We traveled to Coral Castle in Homestead, FL to view it in person and that is where I purchased the book.  Ed was a very interesting man.
  14. Core Christianity: What is Christianity all About? (Elmer Towns) - This was a book I had to read for a class at Liberty.
I love to read so I enjoyed all of the books. 

* Read on my kindle.

**Jane Austen - It is hard to say which Jane Austen book was my favorite (this was my first time reading them).  There were so many parts that I loved about each of them.  My favorite characters were Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) and Emma and Mr. Knightly (Emma).  I would have to say Pride and Prejudice was probably my favorite, but Emma is very close behind.

***The Julie Lessman's books are Christian Fiction Romance novels and I would not recommend them to someone that is younger than 18.  They aren't x-rated or anything (of course!) and they are not that graphic, but I feel certain topics were too mature for someone under 18.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

My parents, sister and my sister's boyfriend traveled down from Michigan to Tennessee to visit us over the holidays. We have been staying in an old farmhouse from the 1930's on 8 acres that Kevan's dad purchased at an auction back in July. It is known as the "Sullivan House".

It was a wonderful visit with family and I will cherish all of our memories together. We ate, talked, laughed, worshiped God, played cards and played the Wii (wish I had pictures of our bowling scores...after several nights of playing against my dad I FINALLY beat him at bowling Wii). It was a really great time and I was so blessed to celebrate Christ's birth this year with my family and Kevan's family all together in one place.

We all played lots of games and everyone participated! Dad watched football with Joe and Kevan. Joe was a great help with chopping the wood we needed for our woodstove. My mom and I enjoyed preparing Christmas dinner together. It was a really special time and I look forward to another Christmas when they can visit us (maybe with my brothers and their families too).

Tasha and Joe playing the Wii. The little Christmas tree was my very first tree when I lived by myself in my 20's. It is so cute. The feet belong to my dad and Kevan. :o) I'm glad they are nice clean socks with no holes. lol!

Here is a picture of the living room at the Sullivan House. We do not have furniture in this room so I decided it would be nice to have Christmas dinner in here with the fireplace. It turned out really well. The only thing was that all of the chairs have wheels (except one) and since this house was built in the 1930's the floors are not level. Everyone kept sliding all over during dinner. Kevan had to put his foot under my chair to hold it in place because I just couldn't stop my chair from moving. lol! It was funny. Also, all of the junk in the top right corner was my sewing supplies. Please pretend that they aren't in the picture. I forgot to move them before dinner.


The kitties loved having visitors and Stormie enjoyed playing with everyone's tissue paper. She was tired after all of the play and needed a nap.


Messy family room where everyone gathered to relax, watch TV (mostly football or foxnews) and play games. We were also blessed with 2 beautiful couches by Kevan's cousins. They no longer needed them and gave them to us for FREE! Thank you Jenny & Chris!

Another view of the messy family room (that is my dad sitting on the couch):


Kevan and I slept in the woodstove room so that my parents could have the bedroom to sleep in. They had their own bathroom (which they do not have at home) and I'm sure they enjoyed their master suite even if it was from the 1930's. :o) This "blue room" was the old porch on the house that the previous owners turned into a sunroom. That is why there are windows between the two rooms and not a wall. It is great that it is this way as it allows the warm air from the wood stove to flow into other areas of the house. Also, the cats love going through the windows to the other rooms. We were also able to chat with Joe & Tasha through the windows as they played video games in the next room while we were trying to sleep at 2am. ;o) Mostly, we were telling them to go to sleep or to turn the TV down so we could sleep!


Lastly, Tasha is turning 18 in January and I won't be there so I planned a special dinner to celebrate her birthday. Of course her birthday cake HAD to have Edward on it. :o)


Dad, Mom, Tasha & Joe....I miss you guys already! Sniff sniff.

Rock Island State Park

I recently took my family to see Rock Island State Park while they were visiting. I did not take very many pictures so I will be including pictures from October this year as well as pictures from December. This post is to document my family's visit during Christmas 2010. We had a great time, but my mom fell because it was so slippery and it is such an awful feeling to know that your mom has fallen and injured herself. She is going to be fine. She just scraped her palm and knee pretty good, but we got her all bandaged up when we arrived back home. She will be good as new in a few weeks.

Here is a picture of the dam.

Below is a picture of where the local kids cliff dive when it is warm. This picture is from October. No one was cliff diving when we were there. It was way too cold. If you are a Twilight fan...I'm sure you can imagine that it is Jacob jumping from the cliff. Hee hee!

Another picture of another group of falls farther away.

Close up of the falls.

Tasha and Joe walked up to this little building. We were unsure what it was, but it was across the street from the old mill.


The Riley Farm

These string of posts are for my dad. He wanted a bunch of pictures of the Riley Farm after he visited over the holidays. So, I'm putting these posts together for him to document what he saw when he was at the farm and visiting us in Tennessee.
Driveway leading to the farm. This is a picture from earlier in the year. It is much more brown and dreary during December.

Here is a picture of the original homestead. It is an old cabin from about the 1880's. The fireplace is still entact and Kevan's dad is restoring the cabin slowly when he has time.

This is a picture of the side of the cabin and the upstairs window. You can view all of the cabin pics on our flickr page here.

We said hello to Bear while we were there. He followed us around the farm and kept the cows in order while we were there. He is only about 9 months old now and he is soooooo sweet. Just look at that face.
Dad, here is the view from the hill where we will be building our house someday. Kevan's father owns all of the property you can see in the photo. The total acreage is 80 acres. It is beautiful and calming when you are there. You just have to make sure when you are walking around that you walk AROUND the cow pies. ;o)
The main barn up close.
Here is a picture of me standing next to a huge sinkhole on the property. Here is a link to more pictures of the farm.

I will leave you with this photo. She wanted to come home with you to Michigan.