“Shawl Season”

By , May 6, 2014

We have entered another shoulder season. Or, considering its nature, it might better be called a “shawl season.”

The weather grows warmer daily, which means we’re all but done with wood heat for the summer. For a while, we got by with one fire in the morning to take the chill off the cabin. Usually, by evening, the stove had cooled enough that I could clean the glass (see Cleaning Woodstove Glass: How and Why) and lay a fire for the next day. Eventually, days passed with no fire at all. The laid fire sits until it’s needed.

What's left of the previous winter's wood (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

What’s left of the previous winter’s wood (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

This transition creates a bit of a paradox: as the days grow warmer, we find ourselves feeling chillier. Without the woodstove’s constant heat, we cool off sometimes, especially if we spend the evening reading or watching a movie. Occasionally, the bedroom gets a little cold.

These cool periods are too brief and localized to justify starting the fire. Most of the time, we get comfortable by putting on a sweater or wrapping up in an afghan. We seek shawls to warm the cold shoulder season.

We reached warmer weather with more than half a cord of firewood left in the woodshed. I’ve stacked it on a temporary rick to get it out of the way of this season’s wood harvest. Once I gather enough to fill the woodshed most of the way, I’ll top it off with the older, better seasoned wood. Since some of that actually comes from two winters ago, we should have some nice, dry fires next autumn.

In a week or two, the lengtheniing daylight will warm the cabin logs thoroughly. That, and heating water every other day for showers and washing dishes should keep us more than warm enough through the summer. After that, we’ll likely see another, shorter “shawl season” as summer gives way to autumn.

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