wood warms you thrice

There is a saying that wood warms a person three times; once when you cut it; once when you stack it; and once when you burn it, but we are quickly learning the other benefits of heating with wood.

Mike and I both have fond memories of wood heat in our childhoods, but there was a long stretch of time in which we lived without one.  When we moved into this house it was early spring and shortly after, we had our insurance adjuster through for an inspection.  He found that the WETT certificate we received during the purchase of the house was in fact for a different stove.  He told us it would need upgrades before we could safely use it.  It was going to cost over $500 dollars to fix it, so we decided to wait and simply use our propane furnace.  After our first $600 tank refill in November we decided we needed a new game plan.  We hadn’t ordered wood so we only had what the previous owner had left.  We were paying through the nose to keep it at a chilly 64 degrees.  The windows and ceiling upstairs was getting condensation on it due to poor insulation.

In January we shelled out the money to have it fixed and WETT certified.  In February we ordered our $825 truckload of logs.  In March, we paid $450 to have our furnace fixed when it conked out in the middle of the night.  We ended up spending $1600 in propane last winter.  We were using approximately 1% of the tank each day and refills usually cost about $400.  It was an expensive winter to say the least.

In an effort to save money this year, our goal is to not turn on our furnace until we absolutely must.  So far so good,  though it has been a mild Fall.  We still have some late winterizing to do such as creating a room around our water tank in the cellar basement, putting plastic over our drafty front door, and adding insulation under our floor.

Yesterday, my step-mom came to take care of the kids so Mike and I could get out for some Christmas shopping and time to ourselves.  It was so very much appreciated.  When we arrived home she told us she cooked supper (potatoes and sausage) on the woodstove.  I was thrilled.  After all, I had been meaning to try it, but thought it would take hours just to cook some potatoes due to the double plate on top of it, so it hadn’t been a priority.  Today was a rainy day and it felt fitting to heat our lunch on the woodstove.  It worked brilliantly.

It occurred to me how intricately wise the old ways can be.  Our wee, basic, and rather inefficient woodstove warms our house, dries our clothes, resolves the humidity/condensation problem, and now cooks our food.  At first glance one would think that technology has streamlined and simplified our lives, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here does it?  For it has effortlessly replaced or reduced the need for our furnace, our dryer, our dehumidifier, and our stove.  Depending on the type of day we often hold temperatures around 70 to 75 glorious degrees.

Over the winter I will be making it a new habit to turn our electric stove on less and using the woodstove to make what I can.  I am thinking morning oatmeal, Christmas day cider, and hearty soups.  The one “issue” would be that it is at the opposite end of the house to our kitchen so it means a lot of running back and forth.  It also requires a bit of counter space.  To fix this, I will be digging out my cast iron frying pan, creating a makeshift counter top on top of the woodbox, and gathering a few essentials such as a cutting board, oven mitts, salt and pepper, wooden spoons and a flipper to hang on the logs for easy access.  Someday, we will upgrade our stove and I think a small cookstove will be in order, but that won’t likely be anytime soon.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a rather perfectly rainy December Sunday awaiting me.  Lasagna to heat up, crocheted washcloths to make, and two wee ones to cuddle.  Perhaps we will end off with a little more Christmas caroling as Mike learns new tunes on the ukulele.

Happy Sunday, friends.


go gently + be wonderful





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  1. Posted December 3, 2012 at 8:07 am by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    I had never lived with wood heat until we moved to our farm. I can’t imagine ever being without it now! There’s the security that your pipes won’t freeze (nor will you!) during a winter power outage (which is a frequent occurrence hereabouts); you can heat water to humidify, and do all the other things you mentioned…warm coffee, warm small hands and feet, cook food (I think spaghetti is the fanciest thing we’ve done so far), and just sit beside it. It’s a primal need, to sit near a fire. I used to always be cold…cold feet, cold hands, cold bum (!) but not since we’ve lived here. And there’s always a cat to be found stretched out under the stove! Nothing says security, nourishment, warmth, and HOME like a wood-burning stove. Great post, as always!

  2. Posted December 3, 2012 at 8:30 am by emma | Permalink

    Glad you are enjoying your wood stove. I find that when mine is lit I seem to go about my day slower and more purposefully!!
    When I remember to, which is not as often as I should, I like to put a pot of soup to simmer there all day. Never thought of making oatmeal on it!! I think tomorrow I shall get up for some early morning quite craft time and make some ‘avoine’ (as we say here) for my boys!

  3. Posted December 3, 2012 at 9:11 am by Michelle | Permalink

    How rustic and how completely wonderful.

  4. Posted December 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm by Chandelle | Permalink

    This is so wonderful. I love having wood heat.

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