The heating contractor was here yesterday. He made it official. Our furnace has seen its last days. We knew we had some problems but they have now reached the critical state. Better to replace it now than wake up in the cold. Unfortunately, the hot water heater needs to be switched out as well. This is due to chimney problems rather than hot water problems but it to is also 25 years old and terribly inefficient. We hate to see them go, especially the hot water heater as it has a manual pilot and runs even in the absence of electricity. I sure we can find another model like that. As long as the contractor was here, he took a look at our gas parlor range and gave it dinosaur status. He says we can up the efficiency by 30% if switch it out. It’s a lot of money but I think we have to do it. In the spring, we’ll be getting the chimney rebuilt too. We want a wood back-up stove and that isn’t going to happen safely without the chimney repairs.

Just as I was feeling all gloomy about the huge expense, I checked the mail. My seeds have arrived!!! I spent a lovely 1/2 hour just sorting them out and reading the names, like a litany to good food and good weather. Spring will come again.

I’ve been reading some FEMA reports that states that they are looking to source 14 million meals in the event of the New Madrid fault letting go. It makes me very happy to know that in the event of a crisis, I will be eating my own home-canned chicken stew with home-made bread, pickles and applesauce rather than a cold MRE in a pouch.