Ivaan Kotulsky left the planet on 6 December 2008, but so much of him remains here on earth - his art, his humour, his photographs, his huge personality, his generous heart, his optimistic spirit, his boundless love, together with our memories of him - that this blog is a virtual Museum of Ivaan.
One of the beautiful things about winter at Five Acres is that the snow, when it falls, tends to stay in place, perfectly clean and neatly draped over the landscape, until spring comes and thaws it. One of the less beautiful things about winter at Five Acres is that some of the snow, when it falls, tends to land on the driveway. Driving off the property is easy: it's downhill. Getting back onto the property can be a challenge. You need to gear down to first gear and then gun the engine a bit, praying you won't slide sideways into one or the other of the large wooden gates that I never bother to close. I like shovelling, for about five minutes, so it may be spring before I ever get the driveway shovelled.
Before it snowed, I had bought batts of insulation for Bleak House. They were huge and heavy, and I left them in the carport. But as the snow started coming down and the temperature dropped, I began to worry that chipmunks might take refuge inside the batts and be unable to get out again. So I started to scheme about the best way to get the insulation down to Bleak House. Realizing that there's a toboggan in the garden shed, I thought I could slide them down one at a time on the toboggan. I got the toboggan out, loaded one of the bags onto it and slid the toboggan over to the top of the first hill, just beyond the driveway.
I hadn't counted on the fact that, just before the snow fell, it had rained heavily for a couple of days. I pushed the toboggan out onto the hill. Naturally, as it descended, the load of insulation tipped to one side and landed on the snow. I headed down the hill to load it back onto the toboggan. That's when I found out about the sheet of ice covering the hill, about one foot below the snow. I descended more quickly than I had intended, and only partly on my feet. By the time I'd reached the bottom of the hill, I was splayed out on the snow like I'd been involved in a tragic but not fatal skydiving misadventure. Some of my language was not fit for the ears of small children. I looked longingly back up the hill at that nice, warm house, and that's when it occurred to me that eventually I'd have to get myself back up the hill, and if I needed help doing that, my mobile phone was inside the house on the dining room table.
I reloaded the insulation on the toboggan, made the executive decision to go the long way around Pond One, where the ground was flat, so I wouldn't have to wipe out on the next hill and possibly end up in Pond One, which is not yet sufficiently frozen to support me.
I made it into Bleak House with the insulation, and without further injury, brushed the snow off me, and surmised that if I insulated quickly, I could always shelter in Bleak House till spring came and melted the snow and ice. And that's when I discovered I'd bought the wrong width of insulation. I'll still be able to use it, but I'll need to cover it with vapour barrier.
However, Bleak House is starting to look pretty excellent, at least on the inside, and once it's insulated I think I'll be able to continue working on it during the winter. I just have to string a rope between the trees to enable me to pull myself uphill if needed. Stand by for photos.