Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Living out here on a mountainside with a woodstove has taught me, among many other things, that firewood warms you not just twice, as the old saying goes, but a number of times: once for each day you work to earn the money to buy the land the wood grows on; once when you and at least five muscled friends carry the large cast-iron stove into the living room from the truck parked out on the road; once when you assemble and put up the intricate snake of stovepipe and link it way up there to the ceiling; once when you realize that creosote is running down the outside of the stovepipe because you assembled it upside-down; once when you take down the stovepipe, clean it off, reverse it and put it back up again; once when you come within a whisker of being mulched by a falling tree; once when you cut the tree into sections; once when you cut the sections into sections that fit the stove; once when you split the sections into firewood; once when you just miss your foot with the axe; once each time you learn that firewood knows where your toes are; once when you stack the firewood; once when you restack the firewood where it won't be buried under the next meter of snow; once each time you re-cover all the stacks every time the wind blows the covers off even with those huge rocks you put on them; once when you put those huge rocks on them; once when you finally build a woodshed; once when you carry an armful of wood through a howling snowstorm into the house at night without slipping on the ice or tripping over the cat; once when you at last burn the wood; once when with your clean pajamas on and holding a drawerful of ash you open the door into a high wind; once when you clean the stove at the end of the season; once when you take down and scrub out the stovepipe; once when you nearly fall off the roof while reaming the chimney soot down into a plastic bag taped to the bottom of the chimneypipe where it enters the living room ceiling; once when you go inside and find out that the plastic bag came off the chimney at the first ream; once when you clean up the soot all over the living room; once when you take the top of the stove off to replace the combustor because you've been burning green wood; once when you have a stovepipe fire; once when you have to pay for the new combustor; once when you finally pay for the stove; once when you see the spark burns in the carpet, and I'm sure there are lots more but before it gets dark I've got to go restack the firewood where the wind won't blow it over.


Tabor said...

I paid a guy $130 to ream my chimney and check my chimney cap today. I guess I could have done it myself and gotten warmer...but he was charming in that top hat.

R. Brady said...

That's a very good price for peace of mind. To have it done here wd cost about $500. Plus you got entertainment.

bob said...

I had a landlady once who rented me a very old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, with a nice new wood-burner whose pipes ran to the chimney.

She was too frugal to pay a chimney sweep, didn't think that much wood had been burned in there to worry about any build-up.

Luckily they didn't have the chimney fire until three months after we moved out.

R. Brady said...

Good timing, bob. I clean our pipe and chimney every year, on the first day we REALLY want to use the stove. The proper stimulus is half the task.

joared said...

I know of some of that warming of which you speak -- the part about manually cutting down seemingly mile high trees and all those other steps 'til the split piece of firewood is placed in the wood-burning stove. Not exactly the life a teenage girl would expect to live for about five years of her life. Enjoy and appreciate!

Anonymous said...