My pictures stink this week.  The batteries died on my good camera, so I’m using an awful one until I remember to pick up new batteries)

Memorial Day weekend was a washout. Literally. It didn’t just rain – it freakin’ poured.  And it was a cold, windy rain.  But rain or shine, there’s always work to be done at the sanctuary.

Since the wood stove is still in use on an almost daily basis, the wood shed was starting to look a bit meager.  Now… meager on the OM-stead is not meager to an ordinary human.  There’s probably still two season’s worth of wood in the shed…  But it takes at least a year, if not two, for wood to really season-up to make good fire-fodder.

We headed up into the mountains when the rain stopped for a while, and found 6 trees that were dead and in need of falling.  Those six trees filled the back of the Crummy (aka: a one-ton Ford pick-up) two times.  Six great big Douglas Fir trees.  My that wood is pretty…  And when it’s dry it splits really well.

LLM sharpening the chain on his 660 Stihl

Bella wants to know when she can get out and help cut down trees…

Max is just sleeping.  Been there, done that. 😉

This tract looks like it had never been logged.  Some of these trees were sky high…

A skid trail up the forest road.

It’s a toss up, in my mind, which is better heat – old tyme radiators or wood stoves.  Both radiate wonderful, cozy, consistent heat.  Gas forced heat, in my humble opinion, is a waste of energy, and quite possibly the worst heat source on the planet.  Plus, should the electricity go out for some reason, it’s rendered completely useless.

We grew up on wood heat – it holds a special place in my heart.  I’ll bet my parents wish I was this gung-ho about taking care of firewood duty when I was a kid… 😉   The Sanctuary is heated by wood, and I never remember being cold on even the chilliest of Montana winter nights.  I look forward to sitting in front of the stove, watching the flames through the door, and feeling the heat radiate outward.  Most nights it’s too hot in the cabin as a result of only three logs worth of wood.  My little house that I rent now has gas forced heat, and while it’ll heat up quickly, it doesn’t hold.  Just not consistent at all.  Next time I move, I’ll definitely be looking for a house with wood heat.

Back when I lived in the big city I rented apartments in really old buildings that all had hot water radiators.  I think they take a very close second to the wood heat, and for much the same reason.  Those old iron radiators heat up and hold that heat for a long time.  Even when the radiator isn’t in high steam mode, the metal still warms the room.  The wood stoves do the same thing.  That metal stays warm for a good long time, and continues to warm your living area.  Good stuff!

I’m no HVAC specialist… I don’t know if radiators require electricity.  I would imagine they might.  But I could be wrong.  But a wood stove clearly does not.  Well, not a basic one anyway.  Growing up, our wood stove was actually a wood fired furnace.  It sat in the basement and had a blower that would circulate the heat throughout the house.  In my current mindset, that wouldn’t be my choice.  Basic is always better.  But even if the electricity went out when we were kids, there was still the capacity to keep the house warm using the furnace in conjunction with the fireplace in the living room.

A perfect combination would be a wood cook stove, too. Ohhh how I’m pining away for one!  Using one or the other would keep a house toasty warm all winter long… and on the coldest of nights, using the two would keep you about as warm as you’d ever want to be.  All for the “cost” of a couple logs…  Our forests are dying up here because of bugs, beetles, fire suppression and lack of logging.  The woods are choking under their own weight.  The forests need to be thinned to be healthy, and what better way to put those dead trees to good use than by chopping them up and heating your home and food with them.  They’re stored solar energy, after all.  To let them rot on the stump, after being killed off by pine bark beetles, is a sad end to a majestic life.

I know in most parts of the country y’all are dying of heat already, and furnaces and firewood are probably the last thing on your mind.  But here in the northern Rockies, snow can come anytime of the year, and as of June 1st the wood stoves are still being lit each evening.

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