So, the second year in this house, our furnace went out on us. And since we were pretty broke (still are), we didn’t have it fixed right away because we had our fireplace. We thought we’d give the fireplace an honest shot at heating this big old house on it’s own. Quite honestly we thought it might buy us a few weeks to get some funds together before needing to have the furnace serviced. Well, we are going into our 4th winter in this house and the furnace is still down. That fireplace has kept us warm for going on 3 years now. Sure the house is drafty and the heat is not a balanced heat, but the house stays warm and we stay cozy through our -40 degree winters. We’ve gotten the talk from our parents. Understandably they are concerned about the cold…what about back-up heat? what about fire concerns? etc. First of all, we are very safe about burning wood. Our house is peppered with smoke alarms, fire blankets, and fire extinguishers. Our insurance agent has been out a couple times to reassess and the fireplace is most certainly up to code, functioning well, and still safe. With that said, our first winter here we were paying upwards of $300-$450 a month in propane expenses. That hurts! The first year with wood we paid out maybe $350 for a winter’s worth of wood. The next year our neighbors decided to knock down a wall of trees between their field and gave us the wood. This year is the same. We have paid nothing…let me repeat, NOTHING to heat our home all winter long for almost 3 years. Sure it takes a bit work to haul, split, and stack the wood. Not to mention the commitment to keep the fire burning during those long freezing nights (up every 3-4 hours to stoke it). But with kids we are up a couple times a night anyway – potty runs, bad dreams, etc. Nothing is lost really except the expense.
And so I take this opportunity to sing my husband’s praises (again). He’s quite wonderful to tackle such a task on his own…with everything else he does around here.
This is what the pile started out as (June 2011):
It grew to this about a month later (July 2011):
And there was still some more added towards the end of August.
And now this is what it looks like (November 2011):
With the help of John’s mom who came for 2 days with the sole intention of eliminating the wood pile completely, we are now completely ready for an entire winter. Wood stacked in the wood shed….
…and in a covered trailer on the side of the garage…
…and another trailer piled high in the garage for the dead of winter when the storms blow snow halfway up our garage door (it happens often)…
Sure piles of wood may not mean anything to you. But for us, it means warmth and security during the winter. It means another year of no heat expense. It means another winter of self-sufficiency. For us, the piles are a treasure.
Happy winter to you all. Stay warm.