Dawn did not really break this morning. Rather, some form of indirect lighting made it possible to observe a horizon that bordered the even, bland grayness that is passing for sky today. The outside temperature is 17 degrees. The inside thermometer tells me it's 43 in the cabin. Three "starving" cats greet me as my feet hit the cold floor, their plantive cries begging me to save them from starvation and the cold. I tell them they should feel lucky to live here. They don't know how good they have it. Millions of cats around the world are suffering this morning who would consider themselves blessed to have the food that I provide as well as this cozy shelter we all share. As I stand there in the kitchen, observing their completely full food dish they all crowd in, anticipating the fresh, wet, canned food they are all sure I am about to give them. They begin brushing up against my legs to show their approval and agreement. It annoys me when animals attempt to train me to do what they want. I am offended they think I am simple minded enough to fall for their transparent efforts. It is obvious I must remember to start kicking them more.
As on most December mornings, my first order of business is to start a fire in the tiny woodstove that heats the cabin. First I must empty the ashes from yesterday's fire. This allows an open airway for oxygen to reach the fire box. Once kindled, and with all of the air handling controls set in their proper positions, it doesn't take long for the fire to turn the little stove into a blast furnance. I am ever amazed at how much efficiency was built into this crude cast iron device made over 100 years ago. This is the second winter this stove has been my primary heat source here in the Chateau Tyvek and the more I use it, the more I've learned how to use it. Soon, the mighty little stove is warming the cabin to a point that even the cats have stopped complaining, resigned as they are to eating a breakfast of dry food. Within fifteen minutes the inside temperature is 53 degrees and rising. Then in a short time the temperature reaches 63 degrees. I sit down in front of the computer, with my toast and hot tea, to check e-mail and within the hour the cabin is a balmy 73 which is where I like it.
Cats fed, the fire stoked, e-mails read and answered. It's time for another cup of tea, or more accurately, another cup of caffiene, my current drug of choice. Now I'm ready to carpe this diem!