New green ceramic wood stove

New green ceramic wood stove

This week I realized an aim I’ve had for several years – to have a wood stove which cooks and heats. When we first bought the house it had one of the old, traditional brick and ceramic sit-on stoves, a giant contraption. Unfortunately, I tore it down and replaced it with a modern fireplace which heats part of the house via tubes.

We also have a ceramic and brick heating stove in another part of the house and a propane cooker in the kitchen. What i really wanted was something that both heated and cooked and kept its heat. This new stove is extremely, back-breakingly heavy as it’s made of cast iron, ceramic tiles and the interior is clay. We also had to have a new chimney made to use it due to new regulations. Hopefully, it doe sthe job as room temperature in my house at the moment is a balmy 6 degrees Centigrade and winter hasn’t even really started.

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Parasol Mushroom – start of mushroom season

Parasol Mushroom – start of mushroom season

Last year we had a historic mushroom season. Edible and other fungii grew in unbelievable abundance from the beginning of summer until the start of winter. however, this year is not the same. There are virtually no mushrooms about and it has been forecasted that there won’t be. This is due to two factors – last year it rained all summer and also the fungii basically spored themselves out. it will take years for them to recover in number and strength.

This parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) stood alone where last year there were hundreds.

It’s cold already….

It’s cold already….

This season is somewhat like Limbo – the colours of Autumn have gone as all the leaves have fallen, yet the white of Winter has yet to arrive. Instead, the temperature has dropped uncomfortably low (-8 C in the mornings) and the land looks dead. It takes a huge effort to even venture outdoors. I’d wanted to photograph the stark white of the frozen forests on the hill tops but the blue sky quickly disappeared and was replaced by a grey, freezing fog which hid them.

This impressive log pile is just over the border into Poland, in the Magura National Park. We went again over the weekend, planning to take the kids for a walk in the forest, but the ambient just wasn’t inviting. In another month or so, when everything will be under thick snow, it will be more appealing. We passed a couple of beaver dams beside the road, and the artificial lakes the animals had created, and which had swamped parts of the woodland, were frozen over. no sign of the beavers though.

We switched off the water at the house and emptied the pipes as the temperature is plummeting too quickly and we don’t want to have to deal with the mess in Spring. I’m sure we’ll still have to replace the odd tap (faucet) or two but it’s the underground pipes which are of greatest concern.

Winter is a different world and this year looks like it’s going to be a nasty one.