Sometime in the night the chimney started leaking into the basement. I woke up to the strangest beep-beep noise. Strange, because without the constant hum of electronics, it was so out of place. It took me a bit to figure out it was the carbon monoxide detector. I ran down and checked the fire, it was nearly out anyway, so I left it to die on it's own. I opened the basement window to let in some fresh air, and let out the smoke.
This morning it's frigid in here. The carbon monoxide detector has stopped beeping. I can't believe the boys and Husband slept through that. But I'm not lighting a fire, not even in the sunroom. We'll be cleaning chimneys today, and for that we'll need them cold.
Too bad we didn't think of it while the weather was still nice. Oh well. It needs to be done a few times a year anyway.
I have a sore throat this morning. I think it's from the smoke last night, but I don't want to wait and see. I dig out the little propane camp stove and make a pot of green tea with yarrow. It's the first time I've used the little stove in years, and I almost don't remember how.
When the tea is ready I grab a book, wrap myself up in a blanket, read and drink tea while I wait for daylight or everyone else to wake up.
Daylight comes first. They're probably awake, but unwilling to get out of bed and face the cold. I yell from the bottom of the stairs. "Wakey-wakey, boys".
They slowly join me in the kitchen, rubbing their hands and arms. I tell them what they slept through last night. #3 says he heard it, but he thought he was dreaming. Then he tells us about a wonderful video game he invented in his sleep. He's going to have a bad day.
Husband and the boys drink their coffee and then get started on the sunroom chimney. It's pretty simple, straight down and empties into the firebox. I empty out the ashes and soot, then start a fire. We warm up and make breakfast before they get started on the basement furnace.
The basement chimney itself isn't too bad. It's the pipes from the back of the furnace to the chimney that clog all the time. They're on an odd angle with two elbows. They all have to be unscrewed, taken outside, and beaten out with a stick and a brush. It takes a couple of hours before they finish, and they're all filthy afterward.
I melt and boil snow in the sunroom so they can wash up. I tell them to leave their clothes in the tub for me to wash.
After lunch they go out to work the horses. I use their dirty water to wash their clothes, then boil clean water for a second wash. Soot is very messy, so I use real laundry detergent. Eventually I have the worst of it beat out and I take their clothes out to hang on the line. My fingers are froze by the time I finish. It's hard to believe I was outside in a t-shirt just a few days ago.
Supper is roast beef, but I'm late peeling potatoes for it. Husband and the Bigs are done with the horses and figure that's enough for today, so they're in early. Everyone's a little cranky. We eat supper without saying much. I really don't want to say it, but we really should do Brother's, Dad's and Diego's chimneys, too. The weather should only get worse from this point forward, so the sooner the better. I think they're all easier than the basement though. Ah, I'll surprise them in the morning.
We play cards for a bit, but the Bigs are squabbling. I've had enough. I take my book and go to bed.