The Treasure Valley has about 3 days of dry weather and cool nights happening this week. I am getting to work fixing the Doug Fir wood pile as my tarps got blown off the wood pile and is not keeping all the wood dry. It seems the a couple of tarps are funneling rain water down on to part of the wood stack. I pulled off the big tarp that did a great job catching leaves and water. Not such a great job keeping the fire wood dry. I’m going to clear the firewood from the walk way between my wood racks, then cover the wood with smaller but more closely fitting tarps across the top of the wood stacks. My hope is that having the walkway area clear of wood will create a breezeway so the wind keep the firewood drying to help “season” the fire wood long term.
Mom picked up another box of the Doug fir kindling. She wants to pay me for the wood and the effort I make cutting kindling but I have no idea what to charge or how to cost it out. She is my Mom and I want her to be warm and have fairly easy way to start a wood fire. Now the basic box of kindling should last about 7-10 days worth of starting a daily wood fire. It takes cutting about 4 chunks of the split Doug fir to fill the kindling box. Plus about 30-45 minutes of splitting the wood into kindling size pieces. Perhaps about $10.00-$20.00 per month to keep the kindling box full? I don’t charge Mom for the fire starters as she assisted with the wax for making the fire starters.
I used my little battery powered chainsaw to try and “level” my wood stump. It sort of worked, but my hands gave out after a few minutes of the vibrating chainsaw skimming along the top of the stump. It is a first trial but I think a few more passes with the chain saw will get into the good solid wood of the stump. This a tall and somewhat old stump I’m using the chainsaw to try and make the top of the stump a bit more flat to cut kindling. The wood cutting stump Mom gave me is working great with just a couple of 3/4 inch shims of lumber. With the shorter cutting stump and the sharpened axe I’m cutting through wet and knotty Doug fir in one or two strike of the axe. The wood I cut is not always the best for kindling but in about 45 minutes worth of work I can split the firewood into pieces then use the hatchet to cut kindling for 7-10 days. If I ever fill that kindling box. I’ll have at least a one year’s worth of firewood stove kindling for both Mom and myself.
A report on the new muffin paper cup fire starters: The muffin cups are a bit larger/fuller of the sawdust and wax, but don’t have the cardboard egg carton paper to assist with starting a fire. Overall I consider the standard size muffin papers fire wood starters a success. I’ve tried using old candles, “white wax” candles from the local dollar stores making these fire starters. What seems to work best is paraffin wax from the canning section. Will old candles work? Yes, but not very well even with mixing with clear paraffin wax. I recommend buy the “canning wax” for making your own fire starters.
Back to the title of this post the warmth of the wood stove feels better to me after doing work on the wood pile. The satisfaction of cutting your kindling, making “firestarters” , stacking fire wood and bringing wood into the house to burn is so satisfying. I buy split fire wood and have it delivered but I stack and often re-stack that wood to get the best output of heat. Now I am getting better at controlling that heat and now my whole house is warm. It is a great feeling! The fire feels so much warmer because of all the effort.
I can’t say enough good things about the Hotpoint rotating fans of 12′ behind the wood stove and the larger 16′ fan pushing the heat through my house through door ways and around walls. Just 2 fans now push the heat to the backside of my house. Great fans get them on sale if you can afford it! I’m excited to see how well the fans work moving air next summer.