Waiting for warm weather

A story about wood and warmth.
I’m heating primarily with wood. It’s been a year where I’ve been going through a lot of it. My friends and neighbors who use wood tell me I’m not alone in this. My wood is delivered by the truckload. Typically it’s a regular size dump truck. The men who bring wood around these parts count on me and other folks for their livelihood.
I have done enough of my own hauling of wood and splitting it to know their work is beyond hard and demanding, and possibly dangerous. I admire them greatly and I depend on them, because, while I’m living on a mountain on property mostly covered with forest, bringing down trees is not and never will be in my skillset. My capabilities bottom out at hauling fallen deadwood of a max of 2-3” diameter and sawing it into lengths with my trusty Stanley Fat Max hand saw. I know I could get a little chain saw, but they can buck and I live out here alone. We have volunteer rescue, the nearby hospital recently closed and there’s that. All in all, I’m erring on the side of caution concerning a chain saw. I wish to spare my loved ones the news their mom and granny bled out and was eventually found in who knows what condition given the amount of scavenging wildlife and Turkey vultures in these parts.

There’s a skill to setting a good fire in a wood stove. It takes forethought and planning . Weather watching is an important part of this planning because, obviously, wet wood doesn’t want to burn. If you must use dampish wood, you’ll be forever tending it to get up a fire hot enough to be of any value on a really cold night.
It takes more than those nice dry hardwood split logs that I have delivered to have a fire. There’s need for tinder and kindling and smaller, maybe softer wood lengths of not much diameter. You can use some poplar or pine for this but poplar burns fast and doesn’t give much heat . The burning of pine is not recommended except to use in small pieces to stat a fire. Too much pine and you’ll get a build up of residue in your stovepipe and chimney that could start a fire. If your stove is drawing smoke really well and giving a good hot burn, you probably haven’t too much to worry about in terms of chimney fires. It is, however, good to have your chimney and stove pipe checked and cleaned every season . You might skip one year, but I wouldn’t let it go past two.

Hunting, gathering, spilling, hauling and burning wood is one of those learn by doing life skills I’d never have imagined mastering ten years ago. Now, it’s just part of my lifestyle. I get some pretty good exercise In these winter months.

It’s lovely to sit in the evening and watch the flames dancing through the stove window, dogs stretched out. on the floor, maybe with a cup of tea or glass of wine, knitting, listening to an audiobook or binge watching a British TV series. That’s what winter evenings are all about, taking it easy, after the hard work is done.

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