I love wood burning season

From roughly mid-October to March, the primary heating source for our house is a basic woodstove.

It’s ironic in a way- we have zoned heating with network connected thermostats for each bedroom and a heat-pump/mini-split for the mainfloor and yet I prefer the oldest heating method known to man: fire.

There is just something magical about being in a room with a woodstove burning. Through the glass door, the flames have a sun on your skin feel, a feeling in short supply during a Pacific Northwest winter.

Sounds romantic? It is! Sort of.

It is especially romantic if you’re lucky enough to have a housemate who’s willing to do the chore for you- hauling, chopping, stacking, hauling (again), lighting, tending, cleaning, tending (always), relighting, etc.

If you’re the one doing the chores? It’s still pretty great and good for your body and soul.

Of course, wood burning has its detractors- one of my colleagues is an outspoken opponent of it and can cite studies showing negative health effects from woodsmoke. I respect that. The folks at BioLite cover this topic well and have neat products and a business model to address it.

I’m of the mindset that wood burning done right can be an environmentally sound activity. Our firewood comes from trees we felled to make room for the house- our lot was heavily treed, we left far more standing than we felled. I make a concerted effort to fire our stove in a temperature range which creates a “secondary burn” and when done right puts very little (bad) smoke out the chimney. I also benefit physically from the labor involved with processing my own firewood- except for that time I chunked part of my thumb with the hatchet.

Eighteen months ago, I knew next to nothing about wood burning. If you’re interested in learning more, I recommend two books:

  1. Closer to the Ground, by Dylan Tomine [author site] . I don’t know Dylan, though we live on the same island. His book isn’t strictly about wood burning either. But, my feelings and experience with wood burning tangle up nicely with the other themes he writes on, so I recommend you read the whole damn thing.
  2. Norwegian Wood, by Lars Mytting [author site] . A friend gave this to me after we’d moved to the island and they’d visited our home. She translates Norwegian professionally and was familiar with the title, which is apparently quite popular in its original Norwegian issue.

Unrelated to wood burning, but to a theme I’m working out here in my daily posting…I bought nothing today, except for coffee and gas for the Pilot. Also, I went for a run for the first time since December 20th- more on that in a later post.