Friday, November 18, 2011

Who needs a gym?

So, I've figured out one of the best work outs there is.  Wood stoves (or fireplaces).  Really.  During the past summer, we picked up many, many pieces of wood either from free listings on Craigslist or dumb luck (driving by as someone put pieces of their cut up tree out to the curb).  We figured (mostly) free heat is good.  Generally speaking, most were about 16"-24" long and range in width from a few inches to are you kidding me (a few feet-very HEAVY in other words).  We brought them home in our truck and "stacked" them next to the driveway.  From there, we cut the bigger pieces with a saw (by we, I mean I moved them into a cutable position and DH ran the saw).  Then we took all the log chucks and split them into firewood size (again, by we I mean I brought them all over to DH who ran the splitter).  THEN I got to wheel barrow them over to our stacking area and stack them all.  We put up several cords to season.  And bought several more face cord (a common way to sell firewood in these parts.  Face cord=4' high x8' long x 16"-18" deep whereas a regular cord is 4x4x8) of seasoned wood which we loaded into the truck, then unloaded and stacked. 

If you are new to wood burning, seasoning simply means what it sounds like.  Leaving your freshly cut wood to dry for a season or two.  Burning unseasoned wood isn't good.  First, it burns cooler so you get less heat.  It's also a pain to get lit and keep burning, especially if you're going for a long burn time and damp down the stove or fireplace (which is really good for EPA type stoves to get a secondary burn going-meaning, you burn the smoke and get more heat and less creosote).  Speaking of creosote, that's another downfall to unseasoned wood-you'll get more of it.  Which is bad because it can cause a chimney fire and that can burn down your house.  And nobody wants that!

I also ran across something called Eco Bricks while reading about good wood burning techniques and how to get the longest over night burn (we are using the stove exclusively for heat right now and we've had some nights in the 20s already).  SO, we bought about 100 packs of them too, which needed to be loaded, unloaded and stacked (easier than cord wood though, 24 pound bundles wrapped in plastic, and in neat little rectangles).

And today I sent DH out to collect several truck loads of free wood again (I had to work, darn).  I decided I didn't need a gym membership.  I just needed a wood stove!

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