Just shy of two weeks ago we had a very special delivery. It was large, it came on the back of a truck and it’s going to keep us cosy and warm for a very long time.
On an appropriately cold and frosty morning the wood arrived, bathed in the glow of autumnal morning light. Large logs (or more accurately small trees) were piled up in less time than it takes to brew tea; there they are in all their glory.
This weekend Stephen made a start on chainsawing and splitting the wood, with the aid of his birthday chainsaw and a splitter loaned to us by a lovely neighbour. The work was pleasant in the afternoon sunshine and I even had a try with the splitter which was nearly as much fun as a kitchenaid appliance with the added bonus of firewood at the end instead of, you know, cake.
But why all the wood? I hear you question curiously. Well, as well as keeping the house cosy with our wood stove, we are going to add a wood fired water gasification unit to heat radiant floor heating through the deepest parts of winter. While the stove keeps us very cosy it is a secondary source of heat and doesn’t fully heat upstairs or right through the house on those -40C days we get here in the frozen north. With the unit we have our eye on we’ll be extremely cosy and warm throughout the snowy season and the wood pile that sits happily next to the hay should keep our house heated for about 3 years.
Yes years. For half the price of a season of propane we hope to stay cosy and warm with the added advantage of using a renewable resource that exists in abundance here in Canada. It also exists in abundance on our land, so in the long run we’ll be taking wood from our own woodlands and forests to heat our house with only the cost of our own labour attached to it. By clearing dead wood from the forest and managing our wood lot we will improve it’s health and support new, healthy growth. Our current store of wood will last us for a good long while giving us time to collect and season the wood from our own land.
Knowing that we can heat our house from the resources we have right here is an extremely cosy feeling. The less we have to bring in from the outside world the happier we are, especially when that thing is the economic equivalent of grinding up diamonds and ferraris and shoving them in your boiler. It will be a bit more work, adding wood each day, cleaning out each week, checking creosote levels, wood moisture content, dials and readouts. But it is the right kind of work, like making bread or growing food, the kind that fills you up and makes you satisfied at the end.
It’s been a busy season and I think we are all ready for some restful hours by the fireside. Though I’m in no rush I admit I’ll welcome quiet afternoons of falling flakes and flickering flames.