Suburban Homesteading in Southwestern PA

By Stacy Artis

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December 1
       No school for the kids (or me) today.  It's the first day of deer season here in Pennsylvania and many of the schools have the day off.  Tim couldn't get off work to go today, but Matt is out with my mom's husband.  I hope he gets something.  I'm just enjoying the time at home to rest up from our weekend.  Tim and I drove north on Friday evening to celebrate our anniversary (a couple weeks late).  We ran into quite a snow storm the further north we went.  We were awfully glad to reach our hotel, but the power went out in the whole town during the night!  We ended up moving to another hotel in a town about 15 miles away for Saturday night, but we still managed to enjoy some antique shops and a wonderful Christmas dinner theater show.  Things were clearing up on Sunday but still cold.  We stopped on our way home at a large Christmas shop and an outlet mall.  All of that and I only found one Christmas present!
       Megan and I ran some errands this morning, including a trip to the cemetery to put a wreath on Tim's mom's grave.  Brrrrrr, was that ever cold!  The wind is really blowing out there today and the windchill is down around 20.  We've been working on getting the tree up and decorated this afternoon so I can get all these boxes out of the livingroom.

December 3
       Matt's girlfriend got back from a trip to Ireland last night.  I had to drive the speech team to an event this evening so she came over and stayed with Megan until I got home.  It was nice to hear all about her trip and see her....and she is so good with Megan.  When I got home they'd eaten dinner, done their homework and Holly had gotten Megan started on a ceramic project.  When Matt got home from work he went over to Holly's to see her pictures of Ireland.

December 5
We ran out of propane last night....too late to get the tanks refilled, of course.  Tim couldn't miss work this morning to take care of it, so I was getting a little worried.  Thankfully, Tim remembered that his boss had given him a kerosene heater a while back.  He cleaned it all up and put a new wick in it and it is working fine.  The house is actually warmer than when we run the furnace!  It's a balmy 84 degrees in here.  Actually, too warm for my tastes.  Tim is thrilled, but it makes me nervous.  I don't want to run it a lot.  I hear so many horror stories about fires and carbon monoxide poisoning connected to kerosene heaters.   Oh well, it sure came in handy in an emergency and our older dog, Abby, sure likes it.  She gets pretty stiff and doesn't move around well.  She has been basking in the heat since Tim lit it.
       We are expecting to get hit with a big snow storm tonight with anywhere from 5-10 inches of snow by morning.  We got a little taste this morning with some snow mixed with ice.  It could have been a real mess to drive in but I got very lucky.  Some of my bus route was already salted when I got to it and on other parts I actually followed the salt truck.  I didn't have any problems at all.  It isn't doing anything right now, but they say it is the lull before the storm.  I am praying it holds off until after I get all the kids delivered home safe and sound.....and get myself home, too.
       Well, I have to run to the store before I head to work so will have to cut this short.  Hope you are all warm and safe tonight.

Carpe diem!