Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Closing the doors at Bailey Farm...

The farmhouse was built in 1790 and it had “central heat” right from the start… that is warmth from the five fireplaces emanating from the huge stone central chimney.  Heat came from the core of the house while cold seeped in from the edges. The floor plan is designed to allow rooms to be closed off so heat can be conserved in the areas where cooking and gathering occurred.


As the weather gets colder, we do the same.  

We begin keeping the pantry door closed in autumn.  There are no water pipes in the pantry we might worry would freeze.  The pantry is transformed into a walk-in refrigerator. 

pantry door

Just two closed doors keep most of the heat from our woodstove from escaping upstairs or into a side room. 

closed door

Two more doors close off the two parlors and the front hall. 

Warm hearth closed doors

Cold and stormy nights draw us to the keeping room, with its seven doors all closed. The small couch in front of the woodstove is protected by a heavy linen sheet, so dogs are allowed.  If they are ousted in favor of people wanting seats, we draw a big dog bed in close for them.  Kitty Meg is an indoor cat, a self-defined upstairs cat to be specific, but when it is cold, she condescends to curl up near us downstairs on the big hearth which becomes the center of our universe. 


This is our port in the storm. It’s the perfect place to read or chat, to have a glass of wine, to dream.

The rooms that remain closed stay tidy.  Without foot traffic, they need little cleaning.  Less to worry about.

January is like that… daily chores of no concern now: weeding, fence scrubbing, outdoor painting.  Sleepy Moon’s pace slows.  Running the winter farmers’ market is a snap. 

For me, January is a port in the storm.  Batteries recharged, and from this safe harbor, it is time to make grand plans, learn new things, and take on new projects. 

A good January can last me a whole year…


  1. Sounds very cozy, Winter. Love the photo of the dogs on the sofa!


  2. Another wonderful post on your new blog. It's so great to read about how the old houses were, in their own way, much more efficient than the homes built today.