Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Cat and Her Stove

Our big purchase this year was our wood burning stove.  It has been installed for about a month now, and we've used it exclusively for our heat.  As a matter of fact, our thermostat is turned off.  Not having burned wood before, I didn't really know what to expect, and I had many questions floating around in my mind. 

Would we have enough wood for this year?  Maybe, but probably not for this year unless we buy some.  If we had known we were going to take this step, we could have planned better last year.  We have some wood from the trees we cut down earlier this year, and most of it was split at the time and stacked.  We've been burning this wood, but the stack is dwindling.  Now that we have a designated wood area, I have been working on splitting wood and stacking it, but that wood is earmarked for next year so it has plenty of time to dry.  We have been fortunate in that the weather has been very mild lately and we haven't had to use the insert daily.  This has helped make our wood last longer. 

Would the stove really heat the whole house?  I think we have a disadvantage because the insert faces away from the majority of the house.  If our fireplace were on an outside wall facing into the house, I think the air would circulate better.  So, no it doesn't heat the whole house in the sense central heating does.  I didn't expect it to, but what I've found is I like the wood stove heat better than the central heat.  Our stove does have a blower, so that helps circulate the air, and when I turn on the ceiling fan, that helps even more.  Of course, the room where the stove is installed is the warmest and the house gets a little cooler the further you move from the stove.  I actually like it this way.  One of the reasons we got the stove was because I felt like I froze all last winter with our central heat.  Admittedly, we kept the thermostat lower than most, but I never felt like I was warm.  The whole house felt the same, and there was nowhere "warm" to go.  Now, our thermostat reads about the same as last year, but I never feel cold because I can always go to a room that's warmer than another.  I can feel the subtle difference from room to room, and it's nice.  I guess I'm kind of like the little chicks under the brooder lamp.  If you're cold, go to the heat source.  If you're hot, move away from it. 

Who is going to split wood?  I couldn't expect Nate to do it all, and I actually thought it would be fun.  The only problem is I can't hit the broad side of a barn with an axe.  My hand eye coordination is really bad.  I took a tennis class in college, and it was ugly!  So, I started shopping for a wood splitter, a manual one not electric.  I could only find a few manual ones that were in our price range, but one stood out more than the rest, The Smart Splitter.  I watched the demonstration videos and read every review I could find.  Nate didn't really want to spend the money, but when I asked him if he was willing to split all of the wood, he changed his mind.  We were both skeptical about whether it would perform as advertised, but after using it for almost a month, I have to say, it is fabulous.  Now I'm the one splitting all of the wood, and I've found it's a great stress reliever after a tough day at work. 

Would the cats like it?  I already knew the answer to that one so it really didn't need asking.  They love it, especially Lucy.  She thinks it is her stove, so much that when you try to move her to add wood, she gets angry and yells at you and promptly moves right back to where she was camped in front.  It's a struggle but can you blame her?  She's almost 18 and what better way to spend her senior years than in front of a warm stove.  Poor Onyx has to find a spot near but not in front of it.   

Would we like it?  Yes, we do.  Now, when the electricity goes out, which it often does around our house, we'll have a heat source other than blankets.

Happy homesteading,



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