Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It's that time again

Time to fire up the woodstove, that is.

We recently cut down 2 black locusts, which were perilously above our house. Thankfully, they came down without a hitch, and now I have a ton of future firewood to cut, split, and stack outside. Black Locust actually burns well green, meaning it will hold a flame and produce heat, but not as much heat as if it were seasoned, of course.

Still, it will suffice for the early part of the season. I called my first order in on Friday and it should be here about this weekend. It's a mix of hardwoods: ash, walnut, locust mostly, with possibly a little bit of oak. I may decide to call in a cord of fully seasoned oak at some point to get us through the coldest months, but it will just depend.

I meant to have wood brought to me at the end of the last heating season, to dryout and be ready for the winter, but alas, my funds didn't allow it. Next year, perhaps.

Heating with wood is a mixed bag in some ways. There's nothing like a fire to sit around, but the romance wear's off somewhat when you have to go outside with a chainsaw in the snow to make a piece fit in your stove, or when you are ass-tired or sick and have to start a fire from scratch. It can be a royal pain, but in the end, it's still pretty awesome.

Back when we lived in our D.C. apartment, the heat was controlled by an old steam system and a boiler. This heat was easily ideal. We never froze, but if the power went or gas out we would have been shafted mega. It never happened while we were there but it could have. Still, snuggling up next to those radiators was pretty damn wonderful.

My own opinion on the best system is that self-same steam heat--through radiators--combined with a woodstove. It also depends on the design of the house. Stoves do better when the heat can rise upwards, but radiators are more effective with a sprawling or awkwardly laid out home. We have a propane furnace as well to fight off the sub-zero weather, but I would gladly trade it for those radiators, especially when it comes to the bill.

So, yes, it's heating season. I'll be spending my weekend stacking wood and kindling to get us ready for the cold. I've learned my lesson well last season that you want your wood ready and your house sealed against the cold.

Until next time, peace out!



Martin Schap said...

I really need to get my woodstove installed. I find it slightly embarassing that I've now owned the thing for almost a year and it is still in the box. I built a fire in the woodstove up at Annie's parents cottage a weekend or two ago and it was glorious. We did not turn on the furnace that weekend.

Nick-dog said...

Somehow I missed this.

The way I understand it, it can be ass-expensive to get a proper flue installed, so there is no embarassment about it when it comes to such an upgrade.