Back to work!

The weather here in SW Idaho has been wet, windy, dreary and generally unpleasant the last couple of weeks.  I’ve been a little bit lazy as I’m still dealing with winter though my Iris’s are coming up and I’m ready for Spring to SPRUNG!

I cut up a little more kindling for myself and Mom.  I topped off my kindling box and still have 2 backup boxes.  Mom asked for a little more kindling and I did not consider her stove may need more kindling for starting a fire.  I was able to fill a box with kindling but I did not have much kindling or fire starters  stored as back up and February seems to be getting all wintery and snowy rather than all Spring-like and warm.  I did not count on Mom being hurt and unable to cut kindling.  I’m not knocking Mom being injured. I could also have been injured and who would cut kindling?

It is not terrible for me as compared to couple years ago I was searching for any wood to burn.  Splitting logs to burn and trying to dry wood indoors to feed the wood stove SUCKS!     FYI Poplar is a good wood for a hot fast fire and it does not leave a lot of ash.  Does poplar create more ash than Doug Fir?  Yes, but not anywhere the ash output of Elm. I estimate that poplar ash needs to be cleaned out about 1.25 times more often as Doug fir ash.

Poplar does not seem to make long lasting coals or burn over night.  I suppose you can think of Poplar burning more like a pine/softwood rather than a hardwood.  I have not tried to split poplar for kindling because it seems to have a stringy grain and that sort grain not easy for an axe to split.

I did not realize I had so much left over fruit woods, elm and white maple in my wood racks. Personally White maple is a great wood for the stove, when dry it splits easily.  But white maple trees is limited to the folks that grow that tree locally as it is not a common wood here in the west.  If you want to burn a hard wood the local fruit wood orchards are probably the best option.  Douglas Fir is probably the best wood on average to stack in the PNW (Pacific North West) then augment your stack with fruit woods.

Last but not least do not build a smokey fire in your stove.  I call it a “smudge fire” as all you get is roiling smoke that dirties the glass stove door and creates creosote in your chimney.   I made this mistake as I thought I was saving heat.  Get the stove hot first and keep the wood burning  hot and not smoldering.  If you want overnight heat, you want to build mostly smoke free coals. Smoke is bad for any wood fire, coals are good as they tend to be mostly smoke free.   Honestly, I build a good fire at night and my house retains the heat until the morning and I start a new fire in the afternoon.  Good insulation and good windows can make that much of a difference.

Waking up to a house that is about 60-65 degrees F. is not a hardship.  Especially when you can start a fire, quicker than you can make a pot of coffee.

I killed another coffee maker and back to the simple Proctor-Silex I bought more than  ten + years ago.  The coffee brewed tastes better than the new  Mr. Coffee machine provided.  Honestly I think the old coffee makers heat the water to a higher temp compared to the newer coffee makers, so they brew coffee better overall.  Probably won’t be long before I give up on Automatic drip coffee makers and go full on French press or a percolator.

Update on using the Elliptical machine.  I slacked off for a few days so I’ll have to improve on using it daily.  Funny thing that happens that the more you move the easier it is to get moving even when you feel a bit of weather related funk.

Life is darn good overall.  I forgot how well fruit woods break down into coals and it is darn warm in the house.

Oh, I just found out that many companies are jacking up prices on paper products not because of higher costs but because the companies want higher profit margins.  I get a company wants to keep pace with inflation.  Gouging your customers to make a quick buck seems counter intuitive.

You makers of Brawny paper towels, Charmin Tissue paper. Cottenelle Tissue and all those brand name products.  I won’t buy what you are selling in the store.  This is collusion and price fixing and no state nor the Federal government agencies will call out these corporations.  The government won’t enforce  Anti- trust laws on Corporations so all you can do is not buy those products.

Sorry this getting to be a long post.  Keep prepping, I think this is the lull before the STORM.  I really hope I’m wrong, but I’m not stopping my prep.


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