December 9, 2009

Darwin Award Runner Up

My husband can't win a Darwin Award* on two accounts. First, he has already reproduced. Second, he hasn't died in a hare-brained accident.


But that doesn't stop him from trying. And if he takes the children with him in some bizarre fiasco, he may just win the coveted (cough) award.

It's turning a bit chilly here in the Midwest. Today's high is 7 degrees Fahrenheit. (No, no digits are missing. It's really just 7.) Most of us simply turn up the heat a bit in the house. But, at the farm, we don't have that luxury. We do have a wood-burning stove, which can heat up the house in about half an hour. But, it takes the work of chopping wood, starting the fire, tending it until it's going on its own, and then keeping it going through the night at intervals of about three hours. I think it's part of the charm of the cabin, but, of course, I'm not the one doing the work.

Needless to say, Hubby is always on the lookout for a simpler, faster, cheaper way to heat the house. So, when our dear neighbor, Marlin, was down to visit last weekend, and heard that Hubby was less enamored of the rustic life than previously thought, he offered to help.

"You can take my 150,000 BTU, kerosene-run, forced air, BARN heater that I got at an auction for $5 and haven't ever tried. If you can get it to work, it's yours."

Well, a new one of these puppies goes for about $400. Marlin's was no where near new. It could have been sitting, easily, for 20 years before Marlin even bought it. But it was free! Hubby was tickled and I was happy for him...thinking he was going to have a way to heat his barn a bit now.

But no.

The barn can wait. It's the house that needs the heat! So, Hubby spent the better part of a day opening it up, cleaning it out, attaching frayed wires that looked to this novice's eye like they should be replaced, and filling it with kerosene. I had to put my foot down when he wanted to fire it up inside the 600-square-foot cabin.

He was happy to compromise. Besides, this way, the cabin got heated up!

Of course, the net gain was close to zero since the heat from the fireplace was escaping through the open door. But no matter. The heater didn't blow up! It was flaming and blowing and heating!

*Honoring those who improve the accidentally removing themselves from it.