Heating with Wood - October 24, 2021 @goldenoakfarm

Woodshed full - 1st time ever crop August 2021.jpg

We have been heating with wood and the sun exclusively since 1983. In the old days, we would seek out downed trees or cut our own and bring them home in our 1949 Ford dumptruck.

We eventually started having log lengths brought in and would cut them up and put them in the shed. We did that for many years.

When my husband died, I had to change how we did it again and ended up ordering cut to length wood and getting people to get it in the shed. It’s a lot more expensive than the old way, but must needs… It’s still cheaper than oil or gas heat, and a WHOLE lot warmer. This year, for the first time ever, all our wood was in the shed by August.

Wood pile tarped crop Oct. 2021.jpg

Well, not all of it. There was a lot extra in a pile near the shed and on Sunday afternoon I covered it with a tarp. We are due for a week of rain and the wood had gotten relatively dry. So I had all (I hoped) the wood I’d need for the winter.

Wood for heater crop Oct. 2021.jpg

Last winter was the first with the masonry heater and the wood stove in the office. But the winterization had not been done in the addition and I went through huge amounts of wood trying to keep it heated.

This year I made sure all the winterization was finished but I still have no idea how much wood I need for a winter.

I started burning the masonry heater at night when needed on October 1. It didn’t take much wood, as we’d been promised, unlike last year. But it also wasn’t really cold yet either.

We have a long cold rainy spell coming so I started hauling in wood on Sunday afternoon. I am hoping this pile for the heater will last a few days. I need to ask the carpenter to build a wood box for this area before the wall is ruined.

I think the design will be one large lower area for the big stuff and 3 smaller upper cubbies for the newspapers, midsize stuff and kindling. The tiny stuff I plan to keep in the iron pot on the hearth.

Office woodbox full crop Oct. 2021.jpg

This is the woodbox I built many years ago in the office. I also filled it up on Sunday afternoon. The woodstove takes different starting materials than the heater.

Stove - bottom up fire crop Oct. 2021.jpg

This is the way we’ve always laid the fire in the wood stove, a bottom up style. Eight crumpled sheets of newspaper, small kindling, 3 midsize kindling, and 2 large pieces of firewood. Open the draft all the way and light. It nearly always starts, unless the pressure or winds are from a certain way. Then one may have to use bellows to get it going.

This amount of wood is to get it started. Once going, one adds several more large pieces, depending on how long you need the fire to last and how cold it is. If it’s real cold the idea is to build a bed of coals before going to bed, put on more wood and hope it’s enough to get through the night.

On cold nights, when I get up at 4AM, I might add more wood and let the fire burn out, if it is to be sunny.

Heater - top down fire crop Oct. 2021.jpg

The masonry heater is an entirely different animal. It has a grate for a draft at the back of the firebox and inflow air areas on the door and front. This fire is laid with the big pieces on the bottom, then midsize, then small kindling, then 2 torn sections of newspaper, then the tiny kindling on top.

The fire burns down into the big pieces and after 20 minutes or whenever the midsize pieces are burning, you close the drafts and let it go. The heat is sent throughout the maze of firebrick and heats the whole mass.

On Saturday night I got it going and shut it down around 5:30PM. On Sunday at 5PM when I was laying this fire, I took a reading of the temperature of the heater.

Temp on heater 5PM crop Oct. 2021.jpg

This is done by aiming the reader at the large round stone just above the reader on the heater. There’s a certain spot I hit each time. This is what it read Sunday afternoon. It was still heating the addition.

Masonry heater - 1st fire crop Oct. 2021.jpg

The first fire in the masonry heater was on October 1 before the masons started the repairs and finish work.

Office - first fire crop Oct. 2021.jpg

This was the first burning of the woodstove in the office on October 23 after the masons had finished the chimney.

I much prefer wood heat to central heating. It is more work and messier but you can stay WARM. I also like knowing I have heat if the power goes out.

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