Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oh Pioneers!

Call us homesteaders
In my mind, I can hear Ma and Pa Ingalls, Caroline and Charles, at the end of their pioneering days. The couple is arguing.

Here's Ma: "Charles, I'm sick and tired of the hardships. I just can not be out there anymore in the winter blizzards trying to get to the barn and clinging to the rope. Mary's blind as a bat. Laura is off with Alfonzo. Grace is grown. It's time we spend some of our savings and get this old cabin warmed up."

Here's Pa: "Oh Caroline, honey, you want some heat, come to Pa."

Caroline: "Charles, if you think I'm going to spend another night snuggled up to a hot baked potato, you've got another think coming."

Charles: "What do you want from me, Caroline?"

Caroline: "Pa, I'm sick of Pepco's power outages. I can't bear the cold and the not-knowing. The certainty that the slightest weather disturbance means the Ingalls family must shiver in uncertainty over when the power will come back on. I want a fireplace insert, Pa. I want warmth on demand. The press of a button. . . .

And that's what Jim and I did today. We bought a natural gas fireplace insert that throws off enough heat to warm our house, even in a power outage. I'll be able to come down in the morning and with the toggle of a remote control button, I'll have my fireplace glowing even before the coffee is ready.

We are ready now. Oh Pioneers, we urban homesteaders, landscaping with food stuffs like swiss chard and herbs; tomatoes and potatoes. Maybe, I'll start wearing gingham and raise a few chickens. Hell, maybe even a cow and a goat. The Putterer


  1. We installed gas logs about nine years ago. I will be the first to admit that we really miss the smell of the wood burning fire. But our chimney drew so well that it drew all the warm air out of our house. The gas logs had added substantially to our comfort and both reduced heating bills and extended the life of our ancient heating systems. And, as you point out, there is the advantage of having heat with the power goes out. If you have an open system, though, you do want to air out the house regularly to rid it of the gas odor and moisture.

  2. I know. Difficult to give up the authentic, but our fireplace is fairly useless, since we can't use it (because it draws out the heat) when it's cold and wouldn't use it when it is too hot. I sire hope it doesn't cause a gas odor, given what we paid for it.