It's been well over a week since one of my hen ducks started laying. I believe only one is laying as I am getting just one egg every morning. The currant tally is Ducks 9 Chickens 0 as the ducks are pulling to an early lead. I have other breaking news on the poultry front. I was pretty sure one of my chickens was a rooster some time ago. He made an official announcement to that effect as I went out early this morning to feed the animals. The rooster was up on top of the duck pen crowing for all he was worth. That means he will be chicken and dumplings before summer. On the other hand, it gives me the opportunity to try my hand at incubating some chicken eggs.
We made great progress with our new fireplace insert this week. The stove is no longer living in my van but has taken up residence in the fireplace where a stove belongs. I had to buy some hardware used to level the stove since our hearth is sunken a few inches. The stove won't fit into the fireplace far enough to drop down into the slightly sunken hearth area so we had to add little leveling legs to the back end of the stove. Then as the stove was missing its firebrick I had to spend about $85.00 on new firebrick. I only paid $75.00 for the stove so even with the hardware, we're only at $165.00, a fairly reasonable price. We still have to make a modification to the shield due to our fireplace's somewhat irregular shape. I also have to cut and shape the firebrick to fit before the stove will be useable. It may not make much difference in the short term, but I'm sure it will make a very big difference next winter. It will be a good feeling to know we will be better able to stay snug and warm the next time we are left without power for 5 days.
The particular stove I purchased (on craigslist) is the Colony Hearth model made by Earth Stove. It can be retrofitted with an electric blower which will be very helpful as long as we have power. With or without the blower it should be a major improvement over the open fireplace. If we are in the mood for an open fire, the door can be removed and temporarily replaced with a fireplace screen. One feature I really like is that you can also cook on top of it if necessary, just like on Mom's wood stove down stairs.