Saturday, February 21, 2009

Put Another Log on the Fire

Life goes on. (Always a good thing) And after a spring-like respite of three days, we're heading back into another period of winter storms. Well, I got to wear my shorts for a few days so I'm thankful for that. Now I have to gather some kindling and get the wood stove ready to go again.

Wood stove? That's another one of those irritations of rural life. What's to love and what's to hate about them; they are so comforting and yet they are so expensive and so dirty. You save nothing when you give up natural gas and switch to wood. The thermal output of wood (BTU's) can't match that of gas. Wood fires poison the air outside and they litter the family room with ashes and wood debris. But I love them! (and so does Boo the Cat)

And wood stoves also create a political divide here in the north state. There are restrictions, mostly voluntary, as to when you can use your wood stove during the winter months in neighboring Butte County. Yet agricultural burning is seen here as one of our elementary freedoms and whenever we have a clear and windless day during the winter, you will see great plumes of smoke erupting all over the valley. They burn the rice fields to the south of us and orchard pruning's all around us. You can't escape it.

I had the orchard pruned this winter and I suggested to the pruners that they could take the two trailer loads of pruning's over to the 'green waste' dump nearby. At that dump, all wood waste is converted to chips and trucked off to a small power plant to be used as fuel. I was told that they were going to take the trailer load home and add it to their 'burn pile' in the orchard they own. Should I have insisted that they use the green waste dump? I suppose so…

I don't know what the answer is, but until we see the ag fires extinguished, we'll never see an effective ban on wood heat.

1 comment:

  1. A good wood stove will eliminate the smoke and burn it up before it gets to the chimney so that you cannot see any 'smoke.' The ones that do this best have a secondary combustion chamber above the firebox.