Friday, January 23, 2015

Thermostat? What's a thermostat?

Feeding the dragon.
We heat with wood.  At least partially.  The house is not optimally designed for this, with a fireplace insert wood stove on one end of the house and a long, chilly walk to the bedrooms on the far side. This long ranch style with poor solar aspect doesn't lend itself to heating with oil really either, so in a choice between the two types of heat we err on the side of wood.

Mostly this works out well. Between the stove, a couple of strategically placed box fans, and embracing the need to actually use blankets at night we do alright.  I, for one, prefer to sleep in a cooler room anyway and if Mrs. Farmer would perhaps be more comfortable sleeping inside the wood stove rather than in the chilly bedroom even she rarely complains once she's under the down comforter and everything has warmed up. (continued)

Can't trust this rooster, I've found the coil frozen before.
Deciding to burn wood to reduce the oil bill doesn't come free. I do like the exchange rate of sweat and effort into wood into dollars saved though, and that is perhaps the most important consideration in our calculus.  Cold and clear days are the best for this, as it only takes a quick look around to find standing deadwood without the leaves to block sight lines. With the target acquired the subsequent task of dropping, bucking, moving and splitting follow in short order.

Unscheduled meeting with the timber inspectors.
Or maybe it was the loggers union? I forgot to ask.

We can usually process several such trees in an afternoon and for each one I find standing dead there are at least 2 more nearby damaged or sick. It is good that our long terms plans include planting so many new trees as it looks like the vast majority of what is here is already making plans to see themselves out of the picture.  The pines are by far the worst, as most of them are gigantic old trees they represent a lot of our upper canopy and, as often happens with old pines, many have enough insect damage that I should take them down before they fall for safety reasons alone.

Forest succession taking the pines out of the way would mean that many of the silver and white birch saplings around would be able to spring up and grow much faster, eventually themselves being supplanted by a canopy of oak trees perhaps.  It's likely we won't be around here long enough to see that oak and maple canopy but the choices made today with chainsaw and shovel will impact what that canopy will look like a lot more than I'm happy to think about most of the time. Of course, the tendency to shy away from that responsibility causes me to consider it all the harder. More than once I've been standing in the snow mocking Shakespeare, "This tree, or not this tree?" and while the only answer forthcoming is perhaps a creak of boughs or the rattling of anemic birch leaves on so many clingy twigs I cannot escape the gravitas inherent to the question.  Nor the fact that giving any one a pass this time simply hastens the felling of the next.

Do not ask for whom the saw roars, it roars for tree.

Man, that one was so bad it even hurt my feelings. But I'm still laughing, maybe you are too.  Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. I laughed at that. But I have a warped since of humor