This Caminoheads blog is going on it’s sixth year. And I don’t think that I ever wrote about the chore of cleaning the chimney. Am I scraping the bottom of the barrel or saving the best til last? You make the call.
Our wood stove has been constantly written about and photographed. Pictures of the dancing flames or of shoes drying out are peppered throughout. The reader gets what a focal point the stove is in our winter time operation.
And we got the new stove a few months ago and it precipitated all kinds of rearrangement. This is the third stove that we have had in forty years so it is a significant change because it is a different creature. It has different likes and dislikes and it requires a different dance to get it rekindled every morn. I am finding out that it requires more fuel than our previous stove. Not a lot more but maybe something like ten to fifteen percent. Fortunately our church has a firewood ministry to give out dry seasoned wood to people in need. Looks like we will be there before the normal spring arrives with warmer temps.
So, you can see that a lot of energy goes into this process not only the cutting, splitting and stacking of fuel. Ashes go out to the corn field to nourish and sweeten the soil. The gathering of sufficient kindling for a winter season is a hobby in itself. A certain amount of paper is needed and that is collected over the whole year in terms of shopping bags and newspaper. So even in high summer when the temps are warm these things are still paid attention to.
I will start to cut wood for next winter here in February. I have seven trees that I have been eyeballing for harvest. They are all alder which is the standard tree for fuel around here. Fir is plentiful but doesn’t burn as cleanly. But we have used fir, hemlock, cedar, pear, apple, holly, willow, cascara and various and sundry ornamentals. The all time cream of the crop firewood in this locale remains madrona or as they say in California madrone. It is extremely dense, packs a lot of btu’s and is semi plentiful. We so love it that we gave it as a middle name to our first born.
But back to chimney cleaning which I do twice a year, so once in mid winter which is now. It takes a couple of hours to disassemble what I can and scrape and wirebrush everything, vacuum, reassemble and clean up. It is a warm dry morning today, the morning I have been waiting for to accomplish this.
Well, perhaps that is way more than you really wanted to know but it is one of those important underlying processes around here, part of the rural Camino. Off I go to get it done.
all in the name of staying warm loves, Felipé.