Thursday, October 20, 2005

Isn't It Good, 4 Cords Of Wood 

The new house comes with a plethora of options for heatsource, allowing us to pick and choose our poison to some extent. Which is pretty good, because heat's expensive, New England winters are long and chilly, Darcie's not working, and I'm a public school teacher. Oh, and my wife likes to sleep with the windows open.

Up until now, we've been hitting the pellet stove pretty hard; the roaring fire is nice to wake up to, and the stove itself doesn't get hot enough to burn the kiddies. It takes a few days to go through a 40 pound bag of pressedwood pellets -- they look like the alfalfa pellets we used to feed the bunnies when I was a kid, but they taste and smell like...well, wood. We've ordered two tons. They'll deliver 'em in a few weeks.

But well-insulated house or no, one tiny stove up against an outer wall farthest from stairs and bedrooms isn't going to cut it once the temp drops below freezing. We moved in far too late to lock in oil prices for the winter, and the tank's pretty small; right now, oil's going for three bucks a gallon plus, it usually takes something over a thousand gallons to heat a house this size for the season, and I really don't want to do the math from there because it will make me cry.

Luckily, the furnace is a combo wood/oil, something I'd never seen before. There are two thermostats on the wall, so you can set the wood to kick in when it gets cold, say 64 or so, and then drop the oil settings to 60 just to keep the kids warm at night.

Unluckily, that means trucking wood in all winter. We've got a nifty drop from the garage down to the cellar, but we'll still have to drag the split stuff in all winter. Things don't look good for the herniated disk.

Of course, you've got to stack the wood first. Today a delivery truck pulled up and dropped four cords in our driveway, a mound twice as tall as an SUV and perhaps twice again as long and wide. We stole some pallets from the dumpster at the hardware store and cleared a dirtway for 'em out front. I figured I'd stack the first cord or so, clear the driveway enough to get the cars out, tonight while the kids went to bed.

Fat chance. Though I learned a few things -- for example, it's not a good idea to pull wood from the bottom of the pile if you're wearing soft-toed sneakers, and probably not a good idea to do it at all if everyone else is out of earshot -- five hours later, I've made a dangerously crooked stack about thigh-high on a single pallet, made no noticible dent in the grand pile of splitwood, and severely disturbed my back.

Hauling one piece of wood at a time.

In addition, I'm severely dirty, ended up spending about ten minutes with the wee ones this evening, and never managed to correct those papers I promised my students.

On the other hand, in one form or another, we now own enough wood to heat the whole house for the winter. For someone who didn't own more than what could fit in the trunk of his car just three months ago, you gotta admit, that's pretty cool.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:16 PM |

Or, ideally, hot as it were. congrats!
dude - its not a good idea to pull wood from the bottom of a pile PERIOD, no matter what shoe you wear.

After spending many moons in Maine with a wood stove, believe me, I learned that the hard way...
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