Saturday, December 18, 2010

Around the House

It's been rainy and cold for several days, and our central heat hasn't been working for a while. I finally broke down yesterday and called someone to come fix it, which they did with impressive speed, actually--like, within half an hour of my call.

(Are my husband and I the only homeowners who love our heating and air conditioning company? They've done a number of jobs for us since we moved into this house [and one in our last rental house, too, which is how we found them], and, no joke, I could write a whole entry on how lovely they are, from the owner of the company on down. They're super good people, and super good at what they do. [And for anyone local, that's Blake's Heating and Air Conditioning.] There's something wonderful about getting to support the business of people for whom you have that much respect.)

Anyway, it's not as if we were totally without heat--we have a room heating system (a mini split) for the largest room in the house, and most of the time, that's all we need to use--it provides ambient heat to the bedroom, the other room we use with any frequency. And then, of course, we have a wood stove, in which Brian started a fire yesterday, just before I broke down and called to have the central heat repaired. I was kind of miserable and unproductive thanks to the chill. The rain and the 40 degree highs don't sound so bad if you're living in a place with real winter, but even those temps can make it feel uncomfortably chilly inside--especially when it's wet outside--and the mini split system was having trouble keeping up. I love the cold weather, but I don't really want it creeping into my house.

Now we have real heat on and a fire going. And I still need multiple sweaters.

The fire is so lovely, I was inspired to play with the camera. I find the ash covered, red hot coals especially beautiful.

Not the best photograph, but below are the Italian cypress trees that stand in our next-door-neighbor's side yard, and I love to look at them through our skylights. They're incredibly majestic trees, and I thought they were tall when we first moved into the house, but every once in a while, I see them with fresh eyes, and I realize how alarmingly much they've grown in the almost four years we've lived here.

When we put solar panels on our house a few years ago, the solar company encouraged us to talk to our neighbor about taking the trees down, and she and my husband actually discussed it--she was totally willing to let us do it (she's a fantastic next-door-neighbor, and the tree thing is just the tip of the iceberg). But I wasn't having any of it. They barely block the panels, and it just wasn't worth it to take down such spectacular trees--especially since they amount to the only real view we have in this house. There are other windows, of course, but they don't really lead anywhere inspiring. (Want to see an inspiring view from someone's house? Check this out.)

These trees blow around in the wind, and they seem to be waving, or talking to me. They tell me whether it's windy or still outside, and they're accompanied by the music of these wind chimes my brother gave me. The chimes are large, and they sound deeply, nothing tinkly about them. More like actual bells. Dark, mysterious bells providing a soundtrack to windy days.


  1. You now have my eternal gratitude for publishing two of my favorite views from your home: the cypresses through the skylights and the chimes, the glorious, glorious chimes. How I've loved watching our little beanie grow up, from a newt who couldn't touch the windchimes (but loooonged to), to a toddler who could only reach if he threw his entire being into the process, to a full-on little boyish thing, who now strides right by the chimes (but Penn, it's the CHIMES!) and into your house, looking for his people... xox

  2. Sigh. Just a lovely post. Thanks, Amy.

  3. Lis, I totally thought of Penn when I was writing about the chimes--how we used to (not that long ago at all!) have to lift him up so he could make them ring, and how he doesn't need us for that anymore. (It's enough to make a half-assed auntie kinda teary.)

    And thanks, Suzanne! I just felt the need to take my camera and typing fingers out for some exercise. :-)

  4. I'm saving the picture of the fire. I will sit in front of my large new monitor Christmas day gazing at that fire and pretend...something Christmasy about somewhere. New York television comes to mind.