Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heating the house with hard work ~ a tribute to my wood stove

A blast of arctic air moved into the state this week. It was 4 degrees when I went outside to feed yesterday morning and even colder today because of the wind. I'm toasty warm inside the house though, all because of my wood-burning stove. I have a furnace but hate using it - it's fueled by propane, which is running $2.35 gallon; it's noisy; and forced-air heat just isn't as warm as radiant heat from the stove. The way I see it, there's no guilt in being toasty warm when the heat is practically free. I'll burn two cords of wood this winter, about $340 worth. I try to conceal my smugness when I hear neighbors tell me they'll use 2000 -3000 gallons of propane this winter.

Heating with the wood stove is not without its share of labor, but the related chores have become part of the daily winter ranch routine. Stacking wood... moving wood from the hay barn to the front porch every out the stove and digging a hole to bury the still-burning embers every other day...sweeping the bark and ashes off the living room floor, since there's nothing clean about building a fire...At least I've found a good source for split firewood now - the first year here, I was splitting logs, too. That got old real fast.

The horses and burros watch me through the windows at night, as I sit near the stove in my favorite chair with a cat in my lap. I try not to worry about them in these ridiculous temperatures and keep reminding myself that they aren't bothered by the cold as I am. But I think they're counting the days until spring, too.

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