Jan 25, 2009

wood stove tile project update

We FINALLY got the tiling project started last weekend. It took a ridiculously long time to decide which tile to use. Originally I had planned an elaborate mosaic wall painting made of tiny little 1 inch tiles, but as time wore on, we just wanted to get the damn DUROCK covered up with something. First I thought I might paint it a nice color so while I waffled on tile style, but it turns out painting cement backerboard is a bad idea. The point of the cement is to absorb the adhesive for a stronger bond to the tile, and paint interferes with cement porosity. Thankfully we learned that before painting the walls the hideous peach color I picked out. (For some reason, I thought it looked nice at the Home Depot mixing station). I had done the hearth floor (with Amanda's help) over a year ago in 6x6 slate, but we thought it was a bit too dark for the walls. Mike and I finally decided on a tumbled slate called "amber gold" which is lighter and has a lot of texture. 5-6 weeks for delivery, and then -40 temps (which required the use of the wood stove) further delayed this project, but we finally got a wall done last weekend: before:

Jan 11, 2009

Brass Monkey Weather

I just learned of a new term for cold weather, which comes from the saying "cold enough to freeze the balls on a brass monkey". Well, it's definitely that cold here in Interior Alaska these days. In the last 15 days the temperature has ranged between -23 and -47 with only a handful of days getting over -30. BRR. Our thermometer bottoms out at -30, so we have only seen "--" on it for the past 2 weeks: Mike and I ventured out for a uber brisk walk on New Years Day:The cold weather does freeze in the prettiness of snow-covered trees, icicles, snow hanging off the edge of roofs, snow everywhere.We finally got out of town this past weekend to take advantage of the ice-fog free air and steamy hot springs of Chena Hot Springs Road. We hiked up to Angel Rocks with our poofy friends Heike and Ben:Cool sastrugi on the upper Chena:Blue shadows: