Monday, May 4, 2015

How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck . . .

My hard-working husband sharpened up a chainsaw and a spare, put on his protective gear and finally started working on our wood supply today.


It's not that we don't take seriously having a good quantity of dry, seasoned wood under cover, ready and waiting to be used.  We've talked about getting going on the wood for a couple of months now, but there have been plenty of other tasks that seemed more important.

Although we heat with wood, we also use L.P. gas in the house, too.  It fuels our water heater and kitchen stove and we have a gas wall heater in the main part of the house as a back-up.  Plus, this past winter Papa Pea spent many hours in the basement installing a medium-sized gas furnace there that we could use if we were to be gone from home for any length of time.

I'm sure another reason prepping firewood hasn't been at the top of our list is because we have a good amount left that we put up last summer.  Matter of fact, hubby has guesstimated we might have enough for two years of heating completely dried and ready to use.  (We may have gotten a little carried away in the wood working department last year.)

Believe me, it's not a usual happenstance to have so much wood remaining at the end of a heating season.  So why do we this year, you ask?  (Didn't I hear somebody ask?)

Well, this past winter we experimented.  We decided to try keeping the temperature inside the house lower than we had before.  I can't truly remember whose idea it was or why we made the decision to do this, but boy howdy, did it ever make a difference in the amount of wood we went through.

But, aha!  Were we uncomfortable?  Suffer from chilblains?  Have to wear our outside clothing inside?  Nope, not in the least.

The temperature was kept in the range of 64 to 68 degrees and unless we were spending a couple of hours in a sedentary state (which doesn't seem to happen often around here), we were always quite comfortable.  Actually, the few times when we stoked the wood stove a little too vigorously and the temperature rose to 70 degrees or so, both of us were too warm, complained and a window got popped open.  In previous winters we kept the house heated to about 70-72 degrees so there certainly wasn't a huge divergence in the lower temperature this winter.  We've talked several times about how much less wood we burned this past heating season and are pleased as punch it turned out to be so much less.

Needless to say, we can't see any reason not to continue following the same plan next year.  But that doesn't mean we won't continue to put up enough firewood so that we have no worries . . . no matter what comes our way.

27 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good plan. I'm guessing we burned maybe a dozen or so logs this winter. Haha! It just doesn't get that cold. But now that we have the lake house in the upstate, I'm guessing we may get to burn a fire a little more often. Makes me feel like a pioneer.

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    1. Laurie - Yep, we folks in different parts of the country have to do things differently, don't we? We have no air conditioning up here (just don't need it) so don't have to spend the money on that. But we do have to think about the cost of heating much of the year!

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  2. Mama Pea,

    I say keep putting up wood, even if you don't use it. Better to have too much than not to have enough. It's good to keep the temperature a little lower. It helps with the sinus' too. To hot will dry a person out to much.

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    1. Sandy - Folks up here say having a wood shed full of wood is better than money in the bank! Happily, neither one of us has ever been bothered by sinuses, but the climate here in northern MN does draw people because of the fresh, clean, relatively pollen-free air.

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  3. We always keep the thermostat set at 68 during the day. We shut it off at night, but having a stone house, it only drops to 63 at night---good sleeping temps.
    I guess it's all in what you get used to. I'd die at 72--which seems to be the average that neighbors keep their homes at.
    We also have NEVER had AC---even in Hellinois--where it was 90+ most of the summer. Again-I think it's what you get used to. I despise AC and dread summers having to go into stores that feel FREEZING to me.
    Is installing a small furnace a sign that someone might start spending some of the winter more southerly????

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    1. PS--You'll note I'm up at 2:20. Damn Ice Cream. It was good, though--and I'll do it again next week too!
      Ha!!

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    2. Sue - I'm betting your beautiful stone house stays cool in the hot summer time, too! The best of both worlds. These days there are many, many people who go from air conditioned homes, to air conditioned vehicles, to air conditioned work places, then back to air conditioned homes. Ain't normal, is it?

      No, both hubby and I are not travelers and love the winter time (and even cold temps and snow) right here. The basement furnace is just a precautionary measure to cover all bases.

      I've been staying away from sugar (and even my beloved ice cream -- sniff, sniff) in an effort to help a couple of "problems" including my winter hibernation FAT which is hard to hide when changing from baggy, cozy sweats and fleece tops to shorts and tank tops for summer. But, oh how I do miss it.

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  5. We also kept our house at a cooler temp this year but ran out of wood. I've been told that's what happens when you have three floors to heat. Darn it, anyway. I'm glad you're getting started on the cutting. As far as I can see, you can never be too prepared!

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    1. Amy - But how wonderful it must be to have your lovely farmhouse. On your own farm even! I think we all strive to be prepared . . . for what may come, but oh gosh, what a lot of hard work to get there! Good thing we love what we're doing and where we're living, huh? :o}

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  6. Am always envious of your awesome wood pile(s)! and how you and your husband conserve and use energy. We only use our wood burning fireplace as supplemental heat for our 30'+ soaring hearth room ceiling(s) area. Well, the ambiance is nice too!:) Anyway, this winter we had a flue fire.... very scary let me tell you.... and our flue had been cleaned not too long ago... but that sort of kept us from burning wood anymore this season. Interesting in that we depended solely on our heat pump, and our heating bills seemed lower than usual. Scratch head here.... toyed with the idea of converting the fireplace to gas, but we missed the ambiance of a wood fire and with our age(s) figure we have a few more years to handle wood. Sooooo, husband has a flue cleaning kit ready to use and look forward to next year's winter using wood again..... safely.

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    1. Lisa - Yes, a chimney fire can be the scariest of things! All heating season, my hubby climbs up on the roof to clean our chimneys to make sure we don't have any creosote or too much soot build-up that could cause a fire. All my life I wanted a fireplace in my home but hubby won't have one. He says they draw too much warm air out of the house which negates any warmth you get from using them. He's very prejudiced about that. Darn. I love the way they look, smell and feel.

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    2. He is right!... and you are right too! :)

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  7. We've finally started to get wood re-stocked too. We have several trees here on the property to cut up this summer. You can never have too much, that's for sure.

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    1. Kristina - Can you burn wood in your pellet stove? I'm (obviously) not informed on pellet stoves. We're talking about taking down some big trees that give too much shade on the lower part of our gardens. Not looking forward to that task, but they will give us more free firewood.

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  8. Ah....the "warm" feeling of having all that extra wood after woodburning season is over. It's like full canning jars in the pantry!

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    1. Carolyn - Love your analogy. Like having money in the bank AND full canning jars in the pantry!

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  9. That is a bunch of wood! We keep our thermostat set at 68 during the winter for daytime a dial it back a few degrees when we go to bed. On an exceptionally windy day we may break out the throw blankets, but are always quite comfortable.

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    1. Mark - It's all in what we get used to, isn't it? (While still remaining comfortable though!)

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  10. I keep my thermostate set between 55-58 all winter long. The dogs all huddle on the sofa and stare at me, alot of dramatic shivering. My friends and family all bring layers when they come to visit. I tell them you'll live longer if you keep cold. It's like putting the old bod in the fridge.... :)

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    1. Susan - Wow, you do keep it cool at your place. I can understand because you're gone all day . . . and the animals do have built-in fur coats and all . . . but aren't you chilled when you get home at night after your long days? But as I said to Mark above, it's all in what we get used to. (You be one cold . . . I mean . . . tough cookie.)

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  11. Papa Pea is amazing, that's a lot of work!

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    1. Erin - You know he wouldn't work so hard if I didn't force him to! ;o]

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  12. Sounds like tinkering worked well! People laugh at us but we keep the house between 64-68* year round!

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    1. Hello, Sarah - I've been hearing from so many folks that keep their homes (sensibly!) cool that we may try to keep ours even lower next winter!

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  14. It's good that you have multiple sources of heating around your house. It's even better that you're rigorously maintaining temperature levels inside. That's the good thing with having furnaces and thermostats; they help you keep the bad weather out. Though it would be good to have a bit of fire wood on standby.

    Henrietta Fuller @ Bri-Tech HVAC

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