The last couple of days went great cutting up kindling. I spent the first day using the 3.5 pound axe to split wood into smaller chunks. Then I filled up my box of kindling using the hatchet. Today I still had many of the smaller chunks of wood, so I cut it into kindling for Mom. I didn’t fill the big 18 gallon bucket with kindling but I got the bucket about 1/2 full. Mom is going to stop by Tuesday this week so I have at least a day to get the rest of the big bucket filled with kindling. My hope is that my kindling box will hold enough kindling to last about a week and the big bucket of kindling will last Mom about two weeks. With the fire starters and a couple of weeks of kindling Mom should have time to heal up before she needs to worry about how she will start a fire.
Great news for making my fire starters. Mom has a bunch of old candles she found in her stuff and will donate to the fire starter wax fund. I have a few more egg crates and plenty of wood chips so paraffin wax is what I need to make fire starters. I figure about 10 egg cartons worth of fire starters will start a fire everyday for 4 months should cover most of the wood heating season from mid November to mid March. Of course your wood heating season may start earlier or last longer but there is using paper or other fire starters when you want just a small fire to take the chill off the house in the late fall or spring.
Snow is in the forecast and I don’t really mind driving in the snow. I know to slow down, leave a lot of room for braking and sliding on slick roads. I try and find a safe place and brake hard to make my mini-van slide to test my traction level. (Empty parking lots are a great place to test your traction, braking and learning to recover from a slide!) My problem is all the other idiots that don’t know how to drive in snow or ice and assume either 4WD, AWD or anti-locks brakes make skidding or sliding impossible.
Any hoo the best place to be when the first couple of snow falls hit, is at home and let the idiots get all the stupid/ignorant driving out of their system. I stopped by the the grocery store and picked up some tissue paper on sale as I need to replace my stockpile. I topped off the gas tank in the mini-van with Ethanol free gas. Great news it is finally under $3.00 a gallon in SW Idaho. Honestly it should be closer to $2.25-2.50 per gallon given the per barrel cost of oil but the price is the price and I won’t by ethanol fuel if I can avoid it.
The porch wood rack and kindling box is full. I found one of my “kennel” wood rack is full of last year’s maple and cherry wood logs all dry, seasoned and ready to burn over night. I may give Mom some of the Poplar and see how she likes it compared to the lodgepole pine she bought for her wood pile. Don’t get me wrong I think Doug fir is one of the best fire woods you can get here in the west. I also think it would be best to have a hardwood like fruit woods that grow great here in the west. Oak, maple and hickory don’t grow well in the local climate.
I’m starting to get how to use the wood stove since the installations of new windows and siding and losing Mom as the early morning fire starter/wood stoker. The house really holds heat much better compared to before the new window and siding installation. I knew my old windows leaked air badly in spite of my caulk/silicon fixes. Depending on the type of wood I burn the fire will last about 6 hours with the pine. I wake up to the main part of the house in the low 70’s and the back part of the house in the mid 60’s. These temps are very comfortable to me though I don’t get a long overnight burn in the wood stove. With the kindling and fire starters I can get a new fire in the wood stove easily. If you want to save energy costs and be warm in winter and cool in summer. You own an older home like I do. I think you should insulate, get energy efficient windows before you consider any sort of Green Energy solutions. It is not a sexy solution you will see everyday but you will see it every month in your energy cost.