We hit the cabin for the New Year’s weekend. With the “Once in a Blue Moon” new years eve event… I don’t think the girls realized what it all means, or how rare it is. The next time New Year’s Eve will fall on a Blue Moon is in 2028: at that time there will also be a total lunar eclipse, and we hope to watch it again then at the ranch. The First of the year rang in cold and clear, but lucky for us there seemed to be a snow free zone about the cabin. I think this was due to the solar gain and radiation from the cabin itself. The black of the tar paper on those sides does feel quite warm in the sun. We struggled though a few snow drifts to get the truck to the cabin, and were surprised by how warm it was when we first opened it up. Later in the weekend we would see just how well the passive solar design was working. By our second cup of coffee we shut the wood stove down and even had the windows and door open. Temps outside were in the teens, but inside we were in t-shirts. This solar warmth would hang all day, and we did not need to fire up the wood stove until the sun was dipping below the horizon. Right now we only have a minimal amount of thermal mass in the cabin: we did add about 300 pounds of granite slab in the “kitchen”, and only have 3 sheets of wonder boards about the stove area. Eventually, the whole floor will have backer and tile. I’m guessing over all the thermal mass in the floor alone will be approaching 2000 pounds. Backer at 4# sq foot, and tile, Thinset, and grout bringing up the balance to close to 10# foot . Watching the sun track a path across the floor, all the way from the front to the back, was one of my weekend highlights. If I miscalculated my roof overhang, we will need to add some window coverings in the summer to keep from over-heating… but then running the windows wide open to hear the coyotes would not be a bad thing.
I got some help from Sierra in moving/stacking the rest of the fire wood we had delivered on Thanksgiving… and at a nickel a log, it was worth the 4 bucks for the daddy/daughter bonding time. We got out for a couple of small walks along our road but were reminded once we got out in the wind that it was early January. The crisp air held some cool cloud formations, and the views back to the NE were 5 star. Miss Greta had a great time running in the wilds as did Maybelle and Cracky. This was our first visit with any real snow on the ground and we were surprised to see so many signs of wildlife in the area. We saw hundreds of trails of bunnies and coyotes, some larger tracks and even little mice and chippy tracks. We read a lot in the tradition of what we call pioneer night at home… but here at the ranch every night is pioneer night. A few hours after sunset we heard a nice chorus of coyotes in the canyon in front of the cabin. A reminder to get the animals in by nightfall. We will have to use extra caution this summer as our new addtion, Miss Greta, is just about the perfect size for a coyote snack (5 lbs).
Tori will be home soon so I need to get dinner going, also Sierra and Natasha have Eden over tonight for asleep over–the last of the holiday visits and a return to some normalcy will soon be here.