In the year and a half that we've lived in this house, I've never lit a fire in the fireplace! I had it inspected and a new cap installed shortly after I bought the house and it all checked out well. But somehow, I figured in an old fireplace like this, I'd probably lose more heat than I gained by lighting a fire in it. On a chilly day last week, when I couldn't get warm, I decided to light the first fire and find out. The kitties both spent time watching the flames. It did give off a little heat if you sat with your nose to the screen like they did!
But mostly, we enjoyed the light of the flames, the crackle of the wood burning and the soft campfire scent that it gives off. It really didn't warm the room much at all! I think that if we want warmth from the fireplace, it needs at the very least an iron fire back. For now, I'll enjoy it when I want the ambience of a burning fire and not when I want warmth!
I managed to get a little time to paint last week. Made good progress on this painting of Jacque Peak. Hope to finish it soon!
Most of my time has been taken up with various types of "home work" The insulation crew has been here every day this past week working adding insulation to my little house. The way my small house sprawls out actually makes the job more like a big house job, so it's definitely taking some time. I liked the way they removed the siding to drill holes in the sheathing underneath. They've still got a day or two of work to finish insulating the roof and crawl spaces. I've already noticed a difference though! The house is quieter and the temperature doesn't fluctuate as much during the course of a day! Should make a huge difference come winter! When they put siding back on, it looked like nothing had been done! They got it done just in the nick of time as we had torrential downpours of rain last night after they finished. Now it's all ready for the painter to arrive next week (hopefully - if the rain doesn't keep him from being able to work)! New gutters are coming soon as well!
The landscaping on the back side of the house has been a huge frustration for me. It has a lovely flagstone terrace, but it has heaved and cracked in many places and is getting uneven enough to be unsafe. The old flagstone fireplace is also cracked and not good for much except as a spider haven. This weekend, my sons are going to help me tear all of this out and prepare to re-lay the sandstone and expand the terrace behind the garage. At this corner, I hope to get a pergola in place as well as some new flower beds along the terrace! There will be some new fencing going in as well in the next few weeks. My daughter's wedding is taking place at the far end of the back yard here in July, so it's motivation to get everything done quickly!
Remember all those dandelions blooming around my house a few weeks ago? A huge flock of chipping sparrows has been here eating all those seeds! I've loved seeing the yard just hopping with them!