Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Wood Stove Heaters- Different Stokes for Same Results


No, that isn't a typo in the title. It's a play on words sort of. It's just the way my cockeyed, stroke addled mind works now. By the way, Happy Easter and April Fool's Day rolled into one. My goodness, it's April already!

Now that wood burning season is almost over, I thought I'd talk a bit more about wood stoves. I noticed a difference in the way Mel starts a fire in our wood stove heater and the way I do it. This is just an observation. I'm not saying that any way is right or wrong. We get the same results.

First let me say that we use fallen twigs and small branches for kindling. Then, we use larger pieces scraps of wood, branches (2" in diameter or a bit larger) for the third layer. We both layer these three layers the same.

Mel's way-

Mel lays crumpled paper and various sized twigs and branches for the base. The third layer is the same. No biggie. It's almost a no brainer for any fire starting technique except she'll make the third layer of  kindling twice as big as mine. She'll apply fire to it all. She'll light it in several spots. She'll let it burn for a about ten minutes and fuss with it before adding more larger pieces of wood to it. She'll poke and stir the fire every twenty minutes. She even sets her phone alarm. She'll get up and two-handed chuck pieces of wood and poke it down into the hot coals.

It's amazing how few pictures I have of me
Jo's way-

We layer the first three layer the same except I'll use a a thicker layer one and two of the twigs and half as much of the third layer stuff. I'll crisscross the layers as I go to insure good airflow. Then, I'll add the larger splits to the stack. Smaller to larger so it almost settles itself as it burns. I forego Mel's starting off the kindling and just load the fire box. After the firebox is loaded with several layers of wood, I'll light it off in one spot. I'll play a game of Canasta on my computer (20-30 mins), and then check to fire. I'll poke the fire a bit to get the wood settled downward after the twigs and paper are burned, and maybe chuck another piece or two into the fire box, but that's it. I won't have to touch it again for an hour to one-handed chuck more wood in. Meanwhile, Mel is up every twenty minutes to fuss with the fire for hours.

We get the same results with a toasty warmth of the wood stove. It's just my way is simpler with less fussing. Why the difference? There is the lure of the fire. There's something mesmerizing about a burning fire. It's a life entity of it's own. It dance and whirls around the wood as it burns. It's an ever changing landscape.  It's hypnotizing to watch. You get a sense of warmth even from a picture of a fire. Ever wonder about those fireplace videos on Netflix or other channels being hugely popular during the winter months...that's why.

For me, after being married to a firefighter of almost a score of years, I'm so over watching fires. The destructive nature of fires has killed any romantic notion I had with it. I need the fire in the wood stove to keep warm and that's it. I feed the fire to continue being warm. I have no love for fire. It has it's uses for heat and cooking, but if I never saw again, I'd be fine with it too. I guess the experiences of that marriage scarred me for life in more ways than this.

Which way do you start a fire? My way or Mel's? Do you have another way? I'd like the hear about it.


Y'all have a blessed day.


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