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Archive for October 30th, 2011

Two days ago I began my 29th year of heating with wood. Of course there is the cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking of wood, all good in its time, but heating with wood is the really philosophical part. Early mornings and late nights sitting around the stove reading or praying or exercising or just listening to the quiet as the fire pops and smokes to life. I do some of my best thinking hunkered down in front of the wood stove waiting for it to heat up sufficiently to close down the dampers. Sometimes the thinking is intentional and sometimes laced with far off vague thoughts of what might be or should have been. Then there are the times I make better use of the time and pray, filled with thanksgiving or desperate for help. And God is faithful in His love and provision, and salvation, and guidance. I can tell when the stove is heating up because the metal expansion tunes up as it clicks. Almost immediately I can tell if it’s not heating up because the clicks begin their contraction down click. The first fire of the season cooks dust off the stove and brings far away memories of the sitting in front of the same stove in different houses under different life circumstances. After trips away for more than a day or two the house might be anywhere from 35 to 50 degrees F. I try to make the front of the stove top glow a dull orange to warm the house quickly. I have taught whole science lessons about observing stove and chimney and room. It works especially well for convection and Bernoulli’s Principle but also for radiation (blackbodies) and conduction. I frequently know what kind of wood is burning in some else’s wood stove by the smell. Smells bring back memories better than most senses. Coal, white oak, black locust, red oak, pine, fir. I could be in a mountain town or weaving a basket or setting fence posts or planing wood or clearing brush or backpacking in the mountains above 5000′ just by memory of the those smells. And those who know their wood, know that I just sequenced memories with the woods listed just before. Wood heat is a heat you can go to when you enter the house and are cold. It makes you much more aware of the temperature inside and out today and this month and this winter compared to past winters. It causes you to mark time in different ways than most people- there is wood gathering season and heating season. My two youngest sons split most of the wood these days. The one turning 18 next month despised splitting wood when he first had to work up a big tree but two months later when it was all split he was no longer a boy. Then he liked splitting wood and is ready to split when the occasion arises. Their splitting hints at another season coming, the days when I am no longer able to heat with wood. But that may be “aways off” because I can take it at a slower pace when they are gone. I’m not ready to give up this warm habit just yet.

Ask me about sincere fires another day for that is a different story.

The Fisher Grandfather burns a sincere fire!

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