Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I've not yet continued my series on homesteading
modern style, but I thought I'd go ahead and post
this little bit of information on what it is like
to heat with a wood furnace.

Of course, I grew up visiting my grandparents and
great-grandparents and they heated with wood
stoves. My grandparents had one in their living
room, and my great-grandparents had two stoves. One
was in their living room and one was in the kitchen. As
I grew older my great-grandma would move her bed into
the kitchen in the wintertime so she could stay
warm. It was a good thing she did. One year her
house was hit by a tornado and the only room left
standing was the kitchen, and, even it had one wall
torn out, so the roof fell in that corner, but she
was protected by the other walls from the ceiling
landing on her as she slept. But, I wander, that is
a story for another post.

When we first began this adventure we purchased a wood
stove at an auction. It did a good job of heating our
home. We also had gas as a backup heat source. We loved
our stove; we loved cuddling up to it on frosty mornings
to dress and we loved to snuggle by it to read. However,
we didn't like the amount of soot that had to be washed
off the walls come springtime. Plus, our house and
clothes always had a slight smoky smell, and it took up
a lot of indoor space in our little home. So we decided
to put in a wood furnace outside. Ours is in a little
shed that is attached to the side of our home. To get
to it you have to go out the back door and walk a few feet
to the door of the furnace shed.

So, now our house is warm (unless the electric is out,
then we can't light a fire without ruining certain parts,
believe me, I speak from experience...I didn't KNOW it
would ruin certain important parts to light a fire when
the electric was out!) But, our house is warm, it is
soot and smoke free, and the mess of dragging wood into
the house is eliminated, however there IS one drawback.
Since you can only get to it from the outside, someone
has to go outside during the night to reload the furnace.
That someone is me.

You may be thinking, "Well that's not fair. Here she has
all these big men around, why does little Laurie have to
load the furnace at night.?" Really, that is quite a good
question. The answer is just as good. We divide the
workload. The guys gather the wood in the summer. They
keep the wood box filled; they empty the ashes; they usually
are the fire starters; and they help keep it loaded in the
daytime. It is not their fault that they don't have the
nose thermometer I have been blessed with. When my nose
gets cold, I wake up. It seems rather silly to me to then
punch Kent and wake him also. So I slide out of my warm
bed, shuffle to the back door, slip on my slip on shoes,
pull on my work gloves, pick up the flashlight that is
there, and sidle out to the furnace room. I open the
door, throw in wood, come into the house, put gloves,
slip ons and flashlight back in their spot, shuffle back
to bed, crawl in and immediately fall asleep again. It
takes maybe four minutes tops. That is not a bad price
to pay for a warm house. And it get the satisfaction of
knowing my family is warm and cozy because of my little


e-Mom said...

Oh, how kind you are to your family! (Nose thermometer... LOL!) What a wonderful "Mayberry" story, Laurie.

Forgive me, but I had no idea you use a real wood stove to heat your house. The closest thing to that in my life is our family cottage (turn-of-the-century authentic log cabin) on a lake in southern Ontario. The cottage has a wood stove in the kitchen, but my aunt and uncle have also added an electric stove. We're planning a family reunion there in August, and I can hardly wait to visit... I haven't been back in 40 years!

Laurie said...

e-mom, That sounds wonderful. I'll bet the surroundings are absolutely gorgeous!