Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Warmth of a Wood Fire

This is the wood burning stove that has been in the Jarvis House for many years.
I get a lot of complaints about the ugliness of this stove, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  After thirty years, it works perfectly.  The logs can be loaded from the side and the pull out ash tray is convenient too.
Out in the way back of the Jarvis garden I have been sorting fallen limbs and twigs.
  About a year ago I started separating limbs that had a diameter too large for my chipper to handle. I thought that my adult kids could cut these up with chain saws and use them in their stoves.
After reorganizing my small garage barn, I needed to re-position my vice so that my car wouldn't hit it as I pulled in and out of the building.  This is the first year that I have been able to put my car into a garage, and I wasn't good at doing that.  My friend Rich helped me attach it to the side of the workbench, well out the way.  Suddenly I could use a bow saw to cut up these limbs!
I found a very small electric chain saw at a sale that had never been assembled. My son, Kevin,  and my friend Rich got it together and warned me about the dangers of using a chain saw.  I wear protective goggles and gloves when I use it, and only on the largest diameter limbs, otherwise I use the bow saw.
 Since the limbs have been outside for a while, they are brittle and dry.  I can snap some of them between this forked tree avoiding cutting them at all!  A little leverage works well.
 I cover my wood piles and log rings with tarps 
weighted down by old window sash weights.  The wind has been really fierce this winter and the weights have worked to keep the wood covered and dry.
Even on the coldest days, you can pick up smaller twigs that have blown down from the garden's old trees. I pile them on a  patio table that has a round slate top, then I 
snap them into smaller pieces and store them in a covered garbage pail near the log rings.
Three of the most important tools that I have, when I am sawing wood in the barn, are two real hair brooms, one push broom and one fox tail broom, and a metal dust pan.  I think that these are probably 30 or 40 years old each.  They work perfectly and pick up the chips from the chain saw and the sawdust too.  I'll match these up to any synthetic and plastic brooms for excellence, and they last longer.  Grab them if you see them at a garage sale.  
I use old oriental carpets to protect the floors, and a canvas carrier to bring in twigs.  Yes that is a Chinese fishbowl that I put kindling and egg carton in to start the fires.
Henry Ford said:

“Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.”

when you pile it into your wheelbarrow,
and bring it in from the way back, 
when you bring it into your barn, or stack it in a log ring or wood rick, and just the idea of looking at a fireplace or snuggling up to the stove, even an ugly one, wood warms you.
  The best warmth is when you get your regular fuel bill from the natural gas company and it isn't quite as high as you thought it might be, and how you feel independent just in case of an ice storm or power outage which can happen even in suburbia.
I have been very careful about having my stove installation certified by an inspector and  I have my stove pipes and chimney cleaned out regularly.  When things were made in the good old USA, they were made to last and they worked well.  I just do not have the time or the money to buy what is now made out of country.  I say the money, because newer tools just don't last very long.  I hope that if I take care of my chain saw it might go for a while, I know that the brooms and the wheel barrow will be around a lot longer than that!



JC said...

Seems like the only thing wrong with your wood stove is that it's older. If it works, keep it as long as you can.

We don't have one in this house but we have a real fireplace. We had our house built about 15 years ago just a year or so before they won't let you put them in.

Now, it's gas fireplaces or wood stoves.

Willow said...

No wood fires here in Southern California, unfortunately. When I lived in Oregon, I loved toasting my feet by my fireplace and snuggling up to my brother's wood stove in his living room! Wood does indeed warm you many times, and it's a renewable resource!

willow said...

I've always wanted a wood burning stove here at the manor, since we have plenty of wood on the property. I happen to think the Jarvis House stove looks kinda cool and retro!

Elizabeth said...

I liked the bit about wood warming you up multiple times!

matthew houskeeper said...

I am intrigued by the map above the mantle in the top photo.