not going to make a juvenile joke about wood in the title (even though i really want to)

About a month ago the wood briquettes arrived, and a few weeks after that the winter’s firewood. The prices were good (3.25 per pack for the briquettes and 55 euro per square meter for mixed firewood), and our three meters and 20 packs have all been safely stacked away in Frankenshed. By the Beard. Because according to one of the midwives we met with, I really shouldn’t be lifting more than five kilos (about 10 pounds). That sounds like a shockingly low number to me (and interestingly, the American books on the subject all say that 30 to 40 pounds is fine up to the last trimester), but not wanting to put myself in the hospital for overzealousness, I sat back and let the Beard take care of the moving and hauling. It is a strange feeling, needing to ask for help for all sorts of tasks that I am used to doing by myself. Then again, I was always the kind of person who would drag an enormous peice of furniture by myself for miles before I would take the time to get someone to help. True story.

The last few weeks have seen an unexpected return to summer weather, but in the last few days fall has arrived, the leaves have started to drop, and I swallowed my pride and lit the wood stove for the first time. I like to wait as long as possible to start consuming the season’s ration of wood—especially when I remember that we ran out about three weeks too soon last year. But it was just cold enough that I needed to be overly bundled up to be comfortable inside, and I bit the briquette and lit up. Heating at this time of year is kind of amazing. With ten or fifteen minutes of fire you can get the whole trailer warm for five hours or more.

The wood briquettes, with which I’ve never really heated before, are made of pressed bark. The Wagenplatz down the street has been ordering them for the last few years, and one woman told me that when she throws one of these in the stove at night, she still has hot embers in the morning. What luxury! Since the Beard and I have always heated exclusively with wood (and our wood stoves probably aren’t the most perfect out there), we have never had embers in the morning and have to start our fires from scratch every single day. We figured that this winter, with the baby in the picture, we’d need something to heat with that was going to be a little more convenient. We both refuse to use coal, so here’s crossing fingers, toes, and eyes that the wood briquettes turn out to be as good as promised.

Do you heat with wood? Are your supplies all in for the winter? Have you needed to light up yet this season? (And on the off chance that some parents who live off grid or heat with wood stoves are reading, I’d LOVE to hear about your experiences balancing wood stoves and new borns.)

This post was a part of the Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead.

0 Comments on “not going to make a juvenile joke about wood in the title (even though i really want to)

  1. I’m heading into my first winter heating with wood. I have a little summer cottage (225 sq ft) that my husband has been insulating and weatherizing all summer. It’s a really interesting situation…maybe 15 acres altogether with these little cottages on them. We bought the cottage for very very little money and pay small land rent to the folks who own the land. Maybe it’s the rural version of an intentional community. If someone goes to a produce auction and brings back 50 cantaloupes, we all end up with cataloupe. We needed stove pipe to install our woodstove and someone just gave us 7 feet of pipe. And of course everyone has old pick-up trucks and guns. Our neighbors have been kind enough to suggest that we use wood from their 10 cord+ stockpile and just replace next year with seasoned wood from the trees we took down this year.

  2. Katja: Ooooooh, that sounds really awesome! I would love to see some pictures (and here more) if you feel like sharing. (nicolettekyle at yahoo dot com) Good luck with the wood stoving. Where are you guys at?

  3. I have about half the wood I need. The beavers have the rest down, I just need to saw it up and bring it home. And lately I’m home half the time.

    I don’t have a baby, but I was a baby in an 8×6 cabin with a woodstove. My mom always talks about throwing me outside without a coat in the cold for emergencies, like when I threw my rubber ball onto the hot stove and when the roof caught on fire.

  4. Tara: That is so smart, letting the beavers cut the trees down for you. It is so damn smart and practical that I kind of feel overwhelmed by the perfect beauty of the universe just thinking about it.

    And damn, I hadn’t even thought about that kind of emergency. I hadn’t really gotten futher than thinking “ack it’s going to be a pain in the ass to keep things warmish here all night” and “the kid will probably eventually burn itself on the stove, but probably only once before it learns why we keep telling her not to touch it.” This is exactly why I need to know more people with kids and wood stoves (or who were kids with wood stoves).

  5. My son was 2 when he encountered his first wood stove. He was specifically told not to touch it because it was hot. With a naughty gleam in his eye, he proceeded to learn what hot was. It only took once.

    For a younger child, who might not be able to back up fast, a barrier works well.

  6. Pingback: what a life i lead in the winter, what a life i lead in the spring | click clack gorilla

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