January 5, 2010
Feeding the Fire
R's hands are cracked and red and raw. They often burn and sometimes bleed. It's because of the firewood. We didn't get our firewood in the house before the snow arrived. I say "we," but I didn't help at all, which is probably why it didn't get finished.
So R digs under the snow every day, loads another pile of frozen wood into the wheel barrow and hauls it into the basement to dry. It doesn't really dry out, though, so our house is usually filled with a light haze of smoke. R is certain the wood is green, too, even though our supplier swears by its seasonedness.
Today I decided to haul the wood myself. It was a day of firsts (I also made chocolate mousse and pastry puffs). The whole wood thing is a miserable process; I nearly broke my leg and damaged our car. Don't ask. I also didn't wear gloves because when I realized I didn't have them I was too lazy to go back.
The snow is cold, as you might imagine, the wood is frozen, as I mentioned, and it's full of splinters! By the time I was finished my hands were on fire. Who needs a wood stove?
After all that, I still didn't arrive at a roaring blaze until 3 p.m.
I had already cast my vote for moving the pellet stove to the upstairs, but now I'm recasting it with extra oomph, although that does mean moving out the gas stove, which is a handy thing to have around in case of an electrical outage, as the pellet stove requires electricity to get it started. Seems like a flawed design to me.
You might be thinking: "So many sources of heat?" There are more. We also have forced central heat (oil) and a wall heater we've never used. R plans to remove that one day.
I was lamenting to Grateful Papa recently that what we really need in our house is insulation. Our house is a sieve, really. If I sit by the window on a blustery day, my hair blows in my face. Grateful Papa informed me that houses are far too well insulated these days, and there's no way for home pollution to escape-- it's all very hard on the lungs.
I suppose this means we should wait to insulate until we're burning properly seasoned wood. There's such a big learning curve to this whole home-heating business, so I guess we'll just throw on another layer and keep trudging to the top.