Wednesday, January 14, 2009
What a winter they endure in New Hampshire! We arrived right after a blizzard and left before the next one. We were in between 'em, but my, it was COLD! Coming from Texas I was not prepared. Later, in Virginia, I bought a warmer coat and some boots, but the memory of those outings in subzero temperatures with a wind blowing are still vivid.
Here is Kevin showing how deep the snow was after the snow plow shoved it off the path.
The first thing I wanted to know about this residential ministry was, "how do you weather such weather?" I wanted details. I wanted photos! I got 'em!
There are are so many buildings to heat: dorms, chapel, staff housing, gym, guest quarters, greenhouses, dining hall...
Look at the roofs, where are the vents? Chimneys?
Ah! Here is somebody we can ask. He looks knowledgeable. He is standing in front of one of the greenhouses. He is approachable. He is obviously fit. This is no couch potato. This is a ...
Treehugger? Well, only in the true sense of the word. He obviously doesn't have qualms about chopping up trees! He informs us that their heat in the buildings is almost entirely wood-generated heat!
Here is just one of many pallets of wood which this fellow and a few select guys cut from some unbelievable number of cords (I cannot retain numbers; I'll see if Kevin remembers). In addition to the overflow outside, there is an entire woodshed (dimensions looked to me to be 20x40 or so) full of cut wood. They begin chopping way before they need it; actually, I'd think they'd be chopping year round to prepare! No grasshoppers in this group!
And this is one of many outdoor, portable wood-fired boilers. They are a bit bigger than port-a-potties. There are pipes (underground) running from these boilers to the buildings. Heated water goes into the buildings and heats through radiators (I think; again, I'll check with Kevin).
And somebody has to feed these boilers 24 hours a day. The survival of all who reside therein depends on them at this time of the year. Our hardy, faithful informant is one of two men who alternate stoking the boilers during the night. They go out at two hour intervals in sub-zero temperatures, while others are sleeping snug in their beds. They keep the homefires fires going!Now, that's what I call SERVICE!
We were impressed!
We were extreeemly grateful to go inside and reap the benefit of such labor!
And the animals? They raise their own beef, pork and chicken. There is an OLD barn on the place that houses the animals. We don't see barns like this in Texas. It was BIG and comparatively warm. Down in the lower level were cows and pigs and chickens. All seemed content and comfy.
They were pleased to have us visit. I will confess that I fell on the sheet of ice outside their 'digs'. Nothing was broken, though. Not even my camera!