I’ve Made My Choice

We got a light dusting of snow this morning. This is just a taste of what’s supposed to happen on and off for at least the next week – along with some really cold temperatures. Oh, nothing close to that recent polar vortex, but still much colder than civilized human beings and feral animals should have to endure. You can tell the storm is coming because today the water and winds are calm. πŸ™‚

My list of chores included letting out a friend’s dogs early this morning (he’s stuck on Grand Manan) and I discovered that not having a working thumb on your dominant hand means you can’t open a child-proof pill bottle. Poor old Romeo was waiting for medication to help with his breathing while I struggled just to get the *$%)$(&%@#)* cap off.

Much of today will be spent (I hope) splitting wood. Yes, I have some stacked in the house. Also I could order more from Kent’s in St. Stephen. However. I’m tired of spending all that money when I have some big logs just sitting there waiting to be broken up and used. Also I am fed up with this hardwood.

Oh I know, people just love using hardwood for their fires. I’m told it lasts longer, gives great heat, doesn’t smoke, and is really superior. It also burns down to a dense pile of hot coals. Lovely things hot coals – if you have a fireplace or a barbeque. They don’t heat a house. They do, however, quickly fill a wood burning stove and have to be removed.

I’ve read some wonderful threads online about people finding the best way to transport coals outside (don’t use plastic buckets) and across their properties without burning their hands (I use welding gloves). I’m lucky I have a large ash drawer, still it’s annoying to have to keep going outside in sub-zero temperatures to discard what should have been useful fuel. One you paid good money for!

You also have to be very careful where and how you dump the coals (particularly in the wind). There’s always the danger of starting another fire outside on your property and that’s never going to be a good thing. πŸ™‚

Softwood burns quickly and I like it for kindling but it burns too fast to be very economical. The good news is that it is consumed completely. The bad news is that it (in my experience) seems to come with a lot of bugs and I can do without them.

A couple of years ago I got a load of Tamarack (Eastern Larch, known here as Hackmatack). It was described to me as a “hard softwood”. It generates a lot of heat, it doesn’t burn down to a 3 inch layer of hot coals that clog the stove, it lasts longer than something like spruce, and it doesn’t have any bugs. The only reason I didn’t get more is that Drew on Deer Island decided to stop his firewood sideline (the b*stard). This year I’ll find an alternate source. I know what I want and the hardwood groupies will just have to count me out. πŸ™‚

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