Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fire Good

Fire Good Well, a long year's worth of chopping and carting and carrying wood to the basment has finally paid off. We are the proud owners of a wood burning stove. Just this year we upgraded to a larger, more energy efficient unit (www.Englanderwoodstoves.com )in our basement/indoor wood emporium. We have a tremendous wood pile out back, well actually, truth be told, several wood piles. There is the sliced and diced wood stacked neatly on skids behind the garage, waiting to be loaded into our handy all purpose cart for deposit into Wesley's Wonderful Wood Emporium. Then there is the wood that has been split and is positioned all the way to the rear of the yard, drying and seasoning itself for next year's winter. And finally, close to our handy dandy Monster truck of wood splitters, sits huge tree trunks waiting to join the not quite ready for prime time (unseasoned, if you wood/would--haha) waiting to simmer and season for future cold snaps.

It's a tremendous amount of work, this Little House on The Prairie home heating system of ours. We simply don't think of heating and the high cost of oil only when the weather turns to freezing. Nope, not us. We get some of our best tanning (our hides, not those of wild animals--although I guess it's about the same thing, isn't it?) Anyway, we spend oodles of time outside in the summer months splitting and hauling and seperating and squirreling away our winter stash. Think of the ants scurrying around in A Bug's Life- That's us, the prepared ANTZ. Nope, no slackers in THIS ant hill.

Fall finds us hurriedly trying to finish up as much wood storing as we can, before the crisp fall weather turns to finger numbing temperatures. And finally, as winter's brisk breath falls upon us, we are ready to fire away.

The actual lighting of the first fire of the season itself is of great importance in our home. The tradition was passed along to our youngest son this year, who at the ripe old age of eleven, was finally bestowed with the rights to the "clicker" (think bar-b-que lighter), as well as countless hours on how to fill the wood stove, carefully tucking the newspaper around the edges for MAXIMIUM FIRE EFFICIENCY. Tom Hanks in Cast Away was not nearly as proud as our own little fire starter upon the first swoosh of his virgin fire.

Why, you ask, would a family in this day and age, with access to all sorts of modern home heating devices at our disposal, choose to put so much time and energy (and sweat, lots of sweat!) into a task that can be accomplished as easily as turning up a thermostat....

Ahhh, dear reader......This past week we received our first and only oil bill since last January 7, 2008. And do you know what it said? It read that in order to top off our oil tanks for the first time in eleven and a half months the good old oil man had to replenish one hundred gallons of fuel oil, at $2.47 per gallon. Our total annual usage for a family of five was less than $250!!!!!! If you know anything about oil and fuel prices in New York this year, you would certainly realize that THIS WAS CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION!

So, after Pa Ingalls and the young-uns and myself finished dancing around the town square leaping for joy, we did the only thing that comes natural to a fuel conscious family such as ourselves....

We took said oil bill, and with much fanfare, we promptly placed it into the wood stove....Burn Baby Burn!

1 comment:

Christine said...

We actually have two fireplaces in this house and while we don't use them for heating, we have enjoyed some fires with all the cold weather we've been having. Jim (my he-man husband) dabbles in a little wood working so we've had some great fires with some different untreated woods. Cedar was fun and so was oak. Thankfully we don't really have to rely on them for heat, because we're just way too lazy to be chopping wood all summer, but that oil bill might give us the motivation if we were still up north!