Thursday, November 3, 2016
Keeping the home fires burning
Things are different this year. When I usually head south for the winter getting ready for winter is more focused on getting the boat ready. This year my lovely wife and I are committed to being here for at least part of the winter. That requires winter prep.
My house is primarily heated in two different ways. There's an hot air oil furnace and a couple of woodstoves. Our favorite woodstove is the cookstove in the kitchen. Not only does it make the house toasty warm, we can cook on it and watch the pretty flames though the glass door.
For many years I did not get regular heating oil deliveries. The oil delivery company requires a minimum delivery of 100 gallons. That's a lot of money for a furnace that was rarely used. Instead of regular #2 heating oil, off road diesel works just fine. A trip with a couple 5 gallon fuel containers to the local gas station handled my limited needs just fine.
Right now heating oil is about half the cost of what it used to be. With that in mind I decided to get the oil tank completely filled for a change. One nice thing about the furnace is that we can leave the house for a few days and it stays warm. When we used just wood we'd either come home to a very cold house or had to have someone come by to feed the stoves.
I've some storm damaged hardwood trees that need to be cut up. They are dry and should make great firewood. The problem is that it's a tangled mess. There are broken tree tops hung up in other trees. It's too dangerous to handle by myself. (at least that's what my lovely wife tells me.) I'm stuck waiting for my tree guy to show up.
In the mean time I've burned some junk wood I've had around the house and Bio Blocks. They go by various names but they are basically the same a wood pellets for pellet stoves, only much bigger. They are designed to burn in regular woodstoves. The blocks burn well, are clean, and easy to work with.
This one is what one looks like in my hand.
I found out one of the local lumber yards will deliver if you buy it a ton at a time. This is what a ton of them looks like, all wrapped in weatherproof plastic. The lumber yard gave me a little flag to stick in the ground to indicate where to drop the pallet. The lift truck driver did a great job working in tight spaces.
The ton of blocks will hold me until my wood is cut up. I'm feeling a bit better about the winter.
This week I also bought 4 snow tires for my wife's car. Some people try and get by with all seasons. Heck, that what I would do myself if I was going to be here for only a small part of snow season. This year it's worth doing it right. Real snow tires on all 4 wheels makes all the difference in the world when conditions get nasty.
Of course, I'm still going to make sure the boat is ready to go if we decide we've had enough of winter. The heating oil and Bio Blocks aren't going to spoil.