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December 28, 2010: Wood Heat

As last night, I sat in the kitchen chair by the woodstove, it occurred to me that it’s sadly ironic that Pete and I both live off the grid and less than two miles from a proposed strip coal mine site. If we were burning coal, we’d have no right to complain. But we are not. We instead keep our cabin warm with the use of wood heat.

It’s not that easy a task. We have to expend energy to fall trees or gather the wood, split the wood, chop the wood, store the wood, bring the wood into the cabin, and load it into the woodstove. We also split wood into kindling, and as well, use scraps from our, and others’ building endeavors.

The wood also needs time to dry out prior to burning, which means that the above are tasks that we have to stay ahead of. Burning green wood is bad for the environment, and bad for the chimney, since the latter increases the danger of chimney fires.

We’re responsible environmentalists, so we’re particular about where we get our wood. We have downed several old trees on our, and on friends’ properties. This fall, after our trip, we were also given a woodpile that had previously been set aside by a friend who had previously used the wood in her hot tub. We’ve also insulated our cabin, so we burn less than we might otherwise.

Wood Heat



fire in wood stove

Yesterday, Pete built a kitchen wood box. Now the wood and accompanying detritus will be contained. This was a long overdue task on his part. Instead, other projects to make this place habitable have been a priority.

I am well aware that not everyone is set up to burn wood. And many don’t have the time needed to select, gather, chop, split, stack, or store wood. And I suspect that with an increase in numbers, there would also be an increase in those who cut and burn in a more indiscriminate fashion.

However, trees, unlike coal or oil or gas are a renewable resource. It pains me to think about what might happen to the surrounding environment should the Wishbone Hill Mine go in. No matter how careful the Usibelli Coal Mine Company might be, the area will never again be the same. Seems to me that one’s heating fuel choice should be a carefully calculated preposition.

Next: 23. 12/2911: What’s in a name?