The news this weekend has been about the severe winter weather across much of Europe, we had our first taste of winter in the mountains of Lucania last week. There was a week of temperatures at or just below freezing with two days when we had a small amount of snow. I enjoy snow…for a day, or at a distance. We had enough snow last year in Virginia (140cm) to hold us over for many years to come.
The cold weather has kept me busy hauling wood from our cantina to the house as our primary heating source is a caminetto. These are common in this area and are not much more than a small hole about 14” wide at floor level with a wide tile hearth. The fire is built at the opening, not back in the fireplace, and the smoke draws up the chimney while the heat radiates out. We supplement this with a stufa elettrica (electric heater) in the bedroom that has a timer so it is warm when we go to bed and get up in the morning.
Since our house has a southern exposure with large windows this set-up works well on sunny days. However, a couple cloudy and cold days in a row and we are huddled with Lucano under our wool blanket to ward off the chill.
My years of Scouting and fire building is getting regular practice and fortunately Valerie and I did enough camping and picnic grilling in New Mexico that she is no slacker at building and stocking the fire.
However, since winter doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, we may be looking at other heating alternative for next year.