Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Little House on Runners
The Cornell University Physical Anthropologist, Dr. Phillip Merman, who studied me in the nineteen fifties, recorded my body temperature as once staying for six hours at sixty degrees, without obvious brain damage. I don't hold with the syndrome he identified for my condition (and put his name on) but I am sure the temperature record was accurate. I wouldn't know about the brain damage.
Even nowdays I am often down around seventy two degrees at night, but as I have gotten older, my metabolism has become less tolerant and flexible. It has been years since I actually lived with beavers, or in dugouts, or estivated anywhere for any length of time. To keep my temperature up, I need something like a house.
So this Spring, I made the little house you see here. It is a little less than eight feet long.
I built it on runners so it can be moved, and I left enough room between the bottom of the runners and the floor of the house, so I can fit some standard foam floatation billets in there and raft it away.
I used materials my brother David had left over from building his chicken house . It is fairly lightweight, because the walls and roof are without joists, studs, or rafters: just two-inch thick rigid insulating foam, wrapped once around with discarded window screening, mortared once to embed the screen, then parged again, and finished with crushed oyster shells thrown at the wet mortar. David's chickens wouldn't eat the oyster shells he was told to buy for them, but they love styrofoam and had been eating the pieces stowed under the deck, like it was pop corn.
I enter my house through the roof, as the two slopes of the gable roof are on rubber hinges. As you see it in the photo, one slope is propped up with ski poles.
I made a small door at floor level so that I can sweep my litter out (and my house chickens can enter in cold weather) plus there is a small trap door in the floor so I can just roll over and piss out - my greatest invention. For windows I used Rubbermaid food-storage containers.
I am comfortable here and limber enough to type, even without the chicken heat. I just like to have them around. On a three hen night, even in very cold weather, I usually have to prop the roof up some. Other times, the one four inch vent through which I also bring the extension cord, is enough.
So this is where I write the blog and keep me and my handmedown IBook dry and charged.
As a matter of fact, the white heat of that last long posting about Aunt Sammy kept me warm through a day and a night, but I got cramps in my neck and back. That too is age related no doubt, but I was writing too much at a time and , worse than that, I was twisting to work on the IBook which I had set beside me because I had a hen on my lap.
Rusty, who looks a little like the deceased Miss Kitty, laid two of her usual chocolate brown eggs in my lap during our one long sitting.
I think we will skip a day or two now.