First question here is, how old is America? Depending on who you are, there’s the what you consider or what you theoretically consider when it concerns the birth of the great U.S of A. Oh and of course, there’s the what the government claims the birth to be.
The most popular,
– If you measure from 1776, the year we declared Independence, we are almost 237 years old. (This year is what the government considers the birth of America to be, as so do I)
There are other years people consider the birth to be, Great Britain considers the birth to be a different year along with a few Americans that consider the day The Constitution was made to be the birth. Blah blah.
Either way, it still makes this WWOOFing house that I reside in for a month, older than America. Parts of this house are nearly 350 years old.
Hot water project: Making your shower water hot via firewood.
I have grown accustomed to, along with the rest of America I’m sure, to turning on a faucet towards either the letter H or towards the letter C, whichever tickles our fancy at the moment. All we have to do is to jiggle that handle of the faucet and hop on in and enjoy a warm shower. Easy? Right?
Well, there are a few more steps to the obtaining of hot water, or even luke warm water, here at my WWOOFing location in Marcellaz, France. (French Alps)
Of course the first thing to do is to make the decision whether you want to shower or not. Trust me, it’s an everyday thing after having sawdust, dirt and manure inside my jeans and inside my shirt. (And I even thought beach sand was uncomfortable to have under my clothes. Sawdust trumps beach sand, 10 to 1. It feels like a hundred little splinters yearning to prick your skin)
Once you’ve made you decision to take a shower, and you haven’t been beaten to the bathroom by a fellow WWOOFer (Oh how that sucks), you must check the fire heater thingie in the cellar. (Well that’s what I call it, it’s a giant metal stove thing that has fire raging inside of it that heats the house’s water during winter, so the name fits, okay?!)
Checking the fire heater thingie consists of a few steps, first is the checking of the temperature gauge. That gauge must read above 40 or you’re in for a freezing and numbing surprise once you hop into the shower. My hosts have told me above 40, but I like it to read over 50 – that way I know I’ll have a hot and steamy shower.Not quite sure why it goes up to 130, I can only imagine a fiery explosion of 350 year old antiques bursting up in the air, if that number were to ever be reached. The chickens an acre away would be fried, no pun intended)
What do you do if the gauge reads below 40? Or below 50 in my case? Toss firewood into the fiery stove of course! It’s a foreign topic for me, I don’t even think I have ever managed a fire before WWOOFing. So, I was quite hesitant throwing a ten pound log into a blaze of flying embers. Next step, once you grab your wood, you then must open the stove thing.
There’s this safety precaution to it, when you try to open it, it gets stuck and you must slide a metal piece up to release the door. That is so you don’t open it automatically and get face bashed by a wave of flames or a burst of hot air.
This is where it gets to be a bit scary for me, I am a woman after all. Sometimes there are just small flames and sometimes there are insanely growing flames. So, I grab my wood and do a quick aim check before tossing it in, in hopes to get it parallel to the floor and not crooked – all the while I am closing my eyes and making a wish that I do not burn myself somehow.
My first week here, I had done the newbie thing and hopped into the shower before checking the gauge AND I had checked the gauge and hopped in without allowing the water run for a minute, you must let the water run for at least three minutes. I’ve learned my lessons.
It takes about 30 minutes before the water feels the affect from the wood, so you must keep an eye on the bathroom. Stalking the door or even the full hallway to be sure no one comes and uses the water you just courageously made! (Yes stalking, come WWOOF in some freezing weather with sawdust in your bra, and you’ll understand why I stalk)