ShopTalk Sunday: Winter Heating Secrets

It was only natural for the topic to come up (winter heating).  It had been a fine Saturday, and with temps still around 72F my martini and Elaine’s champagne were enjoyed on the screen porch.

As the sun poured in, weakened by winter’s approach, Zeus the Cat wandered in, looking for human companionship.  Neighbor Dan had called about 9:30 the night before.  They’d had a sighting of a Big Cat.

No, not a D-9 with a rock-ripper.  No, we’re talking either panther or mountain lion; perhaps a bobcat, but too big.  Which would explain Zeke being sketched-out, a bit.

Elaine was recounting growing up with her grandparents.  Mormon highlands of central Arizona.  Snowflake-Taylor, if you know the area.  With a scent of early oak fires lightly on the wind, the retired firefighter’s chainsaw moaning a half-mile off….

Wood Harvesting

“Grand dad used to work, as you remember, in the railroad engine shop up in in Winslow.  He would bring a bit of coal home, now and then, but mostly he’d go out and harvest cedars.  We’d burn ’em and that’s how we stayed warm…”

People don’t stop often, to appreciate all the history that has changed in the past 75 years.  Elaine’s grand dad worked through the transition (from what she remembers) from coal to oil-burners.

To the right is the steam engine which pulled the Grand Canyon Railroad cars from Williams, Arizona, over to the Canyon.  Early-on such engines were coal-burners.  But then “bunker C” (heavy oil) came along and railroading changed.

The yards were still in operation, but instead of coal residues, it was oily soot which got everywhere…

We could go on about the transitional years of railroading, I suppose.  Elaine’s got her tales.  Me?  Well, the Major and I were chased by a hobo wielding a hatchet, once upon a time.  We used to ride our bikes around the inside of the old railroad roundhouse about 6th South and Lander, or so, in early Seattle.  Long before high school.

Forgive the reminiscences.  On to…

Let’s Talk Winter Heating

We eventually talked about how nearly worthless cottonwood trees were for burning.  But before comparing the difference species, let’s work it backwards.  Starting with the money.

Fuel/Heater Cost Equivalent to Cord of Firewood
Natural Gas/Furnace $ 89.98
No. 2 Fuel Oil/Furnace $152.48
Baseboard Electric $164.77
Propane/Furnace $187.58
Standard Heat Pump $ 74.89

Source:  firewood_display-web (

Dimensions of a cord of firewood are 4-feet by 4-feet by 8-feet.  Cutting and stacking an actual cord is a very tedious job.  Depending on where you live, getting through the winter may involve only a cord – maybe two – if you recreationally heat the downstairs bar area with a proper air-tight fireplace insert.

A “face cord” is only half as wide (*2-feet) so should be half price of an honest cord.  When you’re getting wood quotes, be sure to ask “full cord or face cord?”

Table over here will let you compare BTU per cord numbers.  For the sake of comparison, a cord of cottonwood runs 15.8 million BTU compared with 25.7 m/BTU for white oak.  It’s easy to see why cottonwood isn’t too “poplar” (sorry for the pun, though you saw in coming, right?).

Had one, once-upon-a back in the day.  Lopi brand and it was great.  Load it up with a solid wood (maple was relatively cheap in the Northwest back then) and all you’d do to get it rolling the next morning was open the air vent.

Efficiency of such heaters varies.  With mine, when I laid up the brick for the foot-high hearth so it would sit right into the fireplace, I put in a couple of outside dryer vents and ducted in outside combustion air.  To screen the air, a piece of pantyhose (say, there’s a flash-back for you!) was used as a filter.  It was cheap and kept the bugs out.

The top of the hollow for the dryer hose hearth was bricked over and then quarry tile laid.  Looked really damn good.  Still there, too: stove and the hearth.  And the Lopi stove still works.

USDA Wood Heating Tips

Right out of their brochure:

  • – Purchase a fuel-efficient woodstove that provides sufficient airflow for complete combustion of your firewood.
  • – Step outside and look at the plume from your chimney. You should see only heat waves. If you can see smoke, your wood is not burning completely. Increase the air supply to your fire.
  • – Size your wood stove properly. A stove that is too large for the space to be heated will have to be damped down, causing much smoke and wasting wood.
  • – Do not burn in moderate temperatures. Your stove will tend to overheat your house. You will want to close the dampers to cut back on the heat, which cuts oxygen to the fire, wastes wood and increases pollution.
  • – Install your stove properly — make sure the installation meets the specifications for your model. Install only certified stoves.
  • – Don’t install a wood stove until you’ve considered all of the other ways to cut heating costs such as weatherizing your home.

Stove Costs Keep Rising

Well, actually, they’re an example of a product with pretty stable utility value.  What their changes in price reflect, though, is the watering down of the U.S. dollar with Debt.

Since I’ve seen this mess coming for a long time, I decided when Elaine and I moved here, that with 30-acres of wood, I’d be a damn fool not to have an emergency heat source.

Went out and bought a cast iron “box stove.”  Remember at the time it set me back $149.  A 6-pack of fire brick to line the bottom of it was another $36 bucks.

Today, the equivalent stove is the US Stove US1269E 900 Sq. Ft. Log Wood Cast Iron Stove which will set you back $529.00. (Yikes!)  So yeah, there’s been a little inflation come through the heating space.

On the other hand, the price for a 6-pack of fire brick is only $29-bucks.

Which tells us that NM Mike is really onto something (he likes concrete):  The price of masonry goods may lag general inflation a bit.

You can get (thin: read cheap) stoves for around $100-$150.  Generally, these are “tent stoves” or “outdoor stoves.”  While they can definitely take the chill off a tent, they lack thermal mass.  Mat not last…

Speaking of outdoors and heating, have you ever seen this video on how to make a rocket stove out of a log?  Another one with several outdoor burning techniques is 7 Campfire Techniques Every Man Must Know About – YouTube.

Insulation Matters

Although there’s a lot of “macho-he-man” stuff to foraging for wood, cutting and stacking.  “Me make fire!” has a long tradition; we like to start at the wallet.

Insulation is the #1 investment you can make because it works for cooling as well as heating.

Up north, where lakes ice over, there were “ice houses.”  The one true ice house I was ever in had walls 16-18 inches apart.  In between was totally filled with dry sawdust and wood chips.  This was back in the day when gyppo loggers were pretty common.

Honestly, we have thought seriously about taking the exterior walls of our home and putting  an inch of insulation board in and then putting a second exterior on.

Neighbor of mine a couple of decades back didn’t like his house “breathing” so much.  So he simply put another layer of siding on – laying it at 45 degrees – which updated the look of the home plus it reduced his heating bill by 10 percent, or so.  And this was on a house with 2X4 walls and bat insulation properly installed.

Windows figure into this, too.  Double pane, or better and don’t skimp on the caulking.

Then, outside air for the fire, if you can manage it. Most homes have the fireplace on an outside wall, so putting in some dryer hoses isn’t a terribly big deal.

There are exceptions to the idea that fireplaces don’t save much – if any – money.  If you have a fireplace that has a glass enclosure and a heat-a-lator kind of set-up, have fun.  Air -tight stove, sure.  But a regular fireplace?

Our friends with the Castle up in Colorado have one of the few exceptions:  A fireplace big enough to stand in.  Thermal mass out the kazoo.

Our Winter?

We have a 500 gallon propane tank – which realistically holds 400 gallons.  The cheapest fuel source is long-ago purchased propane.  And a small 30,000 BTU ventless heater bought and stored until last year’s big snow in Texas.

Cost?  $129.  But that was in 2018.

Today, a similar stove (blue flame, 30 000 BTU ventless) has about doubled.

This is the back-up to 5 tons of heat pump assisted by the solar arrays.

Which means with inflation about, the sooner you insulate and secure your heating and cooling, the more comfortable you’ll be in the long haul.

Takeaway Trivia:  The human body produces between about 350-BTUYs per hour to over 3,300 at extreme exercise levels.  That’s why when you put 4 people in a small room things get “stuffy.”  (It also helps spread covid, but that’s another column for another morning…)

Ahead?  CNC Laser Carving

Trying to get ahead of things around here so I can assemble the CNC machine that has been gathering dust on the project queue shelf.  Got a laser for it, too.

Biggest problem is always time.

If you’re young and believe “I’ll have time to do that when I retire”?  Big Lie.  There’s no more hours in the day no matter what age you are.

And somehow, it’s never enough.

Write when you get rich,

50 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Winter Heating Secrets”

  1. Trombe (thermal mass) walls, earth-sheltered homes made waterproof with bentonite clay, double-insulated walls and envelopes (double walls with small air gaps). Standard stuff in the passive energy arena but still very relevant today. I have a large south-facing window in my main foyer and the solar gain from it and the glass storm door is enough to keep the house warm most days. To mitigate the gains in the summer, I covered all of the south facing windows with 30% window film, same stuff used on cars. Neighbors thought I was crazy until I started talking about my A/C and NG bills. And getting ahead of you a little bit, don’t forget about solar powered attic fans to get that fire out of the attic. With solar arrays, it’s all about the angle to the sun and I proved to a local company a few years ago that the fans would work just fine on the north face of the roof. Google NIST document “Comparison of Photovoltaic Module Performance Measurements” and study Figure 8. In Maryland, you should theoretically still pull about 80% efficiency in the dead of winter. My two fans work just fine; one of these days, I’m going to buy a portable panel from Harbor Freight and test a large scale application…

    Thanks for the article. Good stuff.

  2. My brother cut wood for extra money through high school and a bit beyond. The customers that drove him up the wall were the anal retentive ones that got out the measuring tape to measure the stack of wood after he was finished stacking it at their house. Stacking the wood in the pasture when you’re cutting it, even if you cut a bit more and pack it tight, never stacks the same way at the customer’s location so there were a few conversations and subsequent trips back to the pasture for one customer in particular – and it wasn’t a family member. I think a cord was under a hundred at the time.

    LOL – my brother found that old chain saw in our grandmother’s garage as we were cleaning the place out and actually got it going again. You’d think he’d have found that old plush toy dog he’d carried around through thick and thin up until he got into 3rd or 4th grade.

    We’ve finally snagged a contractor to take out a wall and put in a wood stove in our house. Problem is he probably won’t be able to start until Winter is almost over. We’ve been after a number of contractors for a few years now with no success in even getting a quote. Guess I’ll go with the extra insulation and perhaps the transfer switch. But if we go down totally, no water, no gas then we’ll be back in pioneer days for sure again.

  3. We’ve been heating our house with wood for more than 40 years. We have propane central heat for backup, and use it on those cool mornings that warm up to 65 – 70 degree afternoons (like today). I built a brick hearth and back wall to use as fire protection and heat sink, and I brought a combustion air pipe up through the floor and the brick hearth.

    During our first big East Texas snow storm in 1983, we lost power for 24 hours and survived just fine even though temps dropped to zero and below for a week or more. The storm of 2001 shut our electricity down for 12 days, and our house stayed toasty warm. Last February brought the most snow I’ve ever seen in Texas, 19″ over a 3 day period, with one night dropping to 6 below zero. We never turned on the central heat. We burned close to two cords of dry oak last winter. I cut and split our firewood, mostly from our own oak trees. As strenuous as cutting and splitting firewood is, it’s cleaning the chimney that I dread most of all. Balancing on a metal roof and pulling a chimney brush up through the stovepipe is not nearly as much fun at 80 as it was at 40.

    • Oilman2 and I have a little gentleman’s side wager on whether it will snow in etexas this winter – interesting times – but we won’t be without heat. (or booze, lol)

      • Place my bet on the very little to no snow in ETX this year. Major snowfalls only happen in our area every 17 – 20 years. I really was expecting the February storm to be here 3 years earlier.

      • “but we won’t be without heat. (or booze, lol)”

        Me Either LOL LOL.. I was washing bottles yesterday and the wife says.. boy thats a lot of bottles.. only half hun.. only half.. Had everyone taste the home made grape wine.. crushed them myself.. LOL ( not with my stinky feet though.. with a machine LOL) I don’t care how many articles are written that says crushed fruit with the feet makes the best wine.. I am not going to do that.. I use to have a home made fruit crusher.. used it to make apple cider vinegar.. a couple of years ago I splurged and bought the stainless steel one.. I made an offer to a chinese company and they accepted it and sold it to me.. great deal and a really nice grinder.. today I bottle.. made up a cute label to.. grandpa’s escape grape LOL checked the alcohol content it is between twelve and thirteen percent.. nice and sweet.. good aroma great flavor.. a good dinner wine.. I haven’t checked the pomegranite yet..

    • I ve found CRE-AWAY that seems to work as advertised. at amazon. Also, at amazon , morinoli chimney sweep kit that you insert in the thimble and run with a cordless drill.

      • I have a chimney sweep come once a year.. goes through the stove and the chimney.. especially if you take all the heat out of the exhaust.. you will get greater buildup..
        I made a heat exchanger for the chimney.. four inch.. it was awesome.. not only did you after burn the exhaust but the heat exchanger sucked what little bit else there was out of the exhaust.. anyway one day in the middle of january it was like thirty below.. and a friend stopped by.. do you have the heat on.. yup toasty warm here.. then to discover.. being cool moist air.. yup cool air from a fireplace is moist.. the lint etc.. built up and plugged the chimney.. now every year I have a chimney sweep come in.. checks all the chimneys..

    • maybe a tad to sweet.. let it mellow out but everyone likes it.. the one grand daughter.. ( she is a wine drinker) said it needed more alcohol.. I said honey then we would be getting into the grape vodka level LOL LOL LOL… what is funny is I don’t drink very much I make wine and beer for everyone else that drinks.. its just my hobbie.. now when I make cheese.. that is what I will be munching on LOL LOL..I have maybe an evening drink a couple times a week…. ( yes just one.. drives everyone nuts because I won’t drink more than that at a social.. unless it is a non alcohol drink then I can swill that stuff down like it was coffee.. ) my drink of choice is apple cider vinegar in apple pop from mexico, coffee or lemon water.. the clear PET plastic cans are going to be for water.. I will can water with infused lemon’s in it..

  4. I hear propane is (deliberately) in short supply in the USA?

    I recently started watching Clif High’s videos, and they tell an alarming future:
    The Chinese (CCP) have worked with the USA deep state to create a situation where a fake but lethal vaccine is to be injected into 90% of the world population. Either voluntarily (using scare tactics or threats of loss of freedom), or (now) by mandates.
    The ‘vaccine’ slowly kills off the immune system (and causes other illnesses as well) via the spike protein. This takes about 5 months to develop, after which you can die simply by catching a common cold.
    The rush to get everyone vaccinated is simply because, if done slowly, people will start noticing the die off and realise what is happening. However, if 90% vaccination were to be achieved before the die-off was noticed, it would be game over.
    As it is, 90% was not achieved, and a die-off this winter will be eventually be noticed. It is more difficult to notice people disappearing (e.g dying in their homes under lockdown), but it will be noticed (just ask the undertakers), and then the cat will be out of the bag and people will rise up against the perpetrators.
    About 1 billion people will be lost in the die-off.
    Is the vaccine 100% lethal? I don’t know.
    The CCP was hoping the US military will get the ‘vaccine’ at least by October, thereby disabling US defence. This would allow the CCP to take over the US in around March 2022, but people will have started their revolt before then.
    There is a mystery in my mind regarding Trump. He initiated the ‘vaccine’ manufacture (maybe he was tricked) but even today he still approves the clotshot. Doesn’t make sense, as he surely knows by now that the clotshot is lethal. Unless he is also part of the plan.

    Is there a cure for the clotshot? I don’t know, but it would do no harm to take zeolite (hopefully absorbs the spike protein), 15,000iu of D3, 4g Vit C, 50mg Zinc, and DMSO (stops strokes). Also pine needle tea.
    See also this:
    (The linked video has been taken down, but can be found again with some searching).

    Now I hear two nuclear fast attack submarines in San Diego have been quickly reloaded with probably new weaponry and sent back out to sea, crew did not disembark:

    • “… crew did not disembark.”
      Yeah, you’ve got to watch those young sailors when they catch sight of land if they’ve been out for a while already. Been there, done that. Things are heating up.

      But Clif was pretty upset in his last video this weekend. He’s tired of people running out like mindless sheeple and getting the damned jab and turning around and asking what can be done about it. Can’t blame him. My guess is he may have lost another family member to The Jab on top of everything else. Can’t. Help. STUPID. He does have a protocol to help mitigate some of the effects on his Twitter feed that’s pinned to the top –

      • Clif and I may have disagreed on many things in the past (having to do with future) but we are very much aligned on this one. We would only add a broad spectrum antibiotic in addition to/lieu of chaga and toss in a aspirin with food as an anti-clotting agent in our personal kit. THIS IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION. Perhaps serrapeptase, but insufficient data on role of fibrin in all this…
        Moreover, we shy away from ever making recommendations, posting links to informational sources so people may make their own informed consent decisions.

      • Thank God, George. We just can’t lose either of you!

        I know it would be difficult to keep a website like this up but I wish there was a regional site that had all the doctors that are willing to go against the CDC’s guide lines both in active and prophylactic treatment of Covid so people would know where real information was – other than FLCCC.

      • Neat site. Thanks.

        Clif’s video today was even worse. That poor guy is under a lot of strain. Guess he was just making the video to get his mind off of certain things.

    • “I hear propane is (deliberately) in short supply in the USA?”
      I know people that have been told the price is going up 68 percent.. we have been told to expect a 30 percent increase in natural gas..
      Rent..a friend on low income housing retired.. his rent went up to two hundred dollars more than he gets and that doesn’t take into account all the other expenses..

    • I read the obituary column regularly. It’s a habit I got from my parents and grandparents. When I see someone die near my age it always catches my attention. I’ve been noticing more deaths in their 50s and 60s lately. Not a lot but enough to notice a change. When someone dies in their 70s I think it’s normal but the younger death ages have been sticking out. Most deaths have been sudden or short term illness and often times it implied they were at home. Of course my observations aren’t scientific.. it’s just something I’ve noticed more of lately. Especially people younger than me.

      Catherine Austin Fitts has also said the jabs are to weaken the immune system over time as you noted, to cause a slow die off. It’s obvious there’s something in these jabs they want in our bodies asap and I don’t believe the govt has my best health interest in mind. Not after they’re deliberately bankrupting the country when the boomers are entering the social services programs en masse. I’ve said for a while now there’s no way they’re going to pay all our social security and Medicare bills with the transnational corps chomping at the bit for billion dollar federal contracts. No way the govt is going to pay for all us boomers to live our natural lifespan. No way. Something evil is in play and I’m not a religious person. I also don’t believe AIDS was a random natural event disease either. Fauci was at the helm on AIDS too. Creepy times

  5. Who needs to spend money for a gym membership, I burn wood, keeps my heart pumping, limbs and muscles work hardened. I see the time approaching when I will no longer be able to keep it up so I have been doing some heat conserving measures to the homestead also. I buy a 12 ft trailer load of uncut tree 12 ft long, everything from the base trunk up to the 3-4″ branches (3 loads a yr) from my local tree trimer. Gets me outside, working in fresh air. At 69 yrs of age I just do it for the exercise and as a prepper when the fackers shut off the power! last winter only because of legal agreements between power pools. They lacked the availability of transmission lines to send power to Texas but gave us rolling black outs to satisfy legal agreements,, all the while our public power district had the capacity to keep our lights on. We got sex from lawyers, uninvited, forced! Could be worse. Want to see my Honda generator. It can power the whole house, but I can not use the oven and clothes dryer at the same time.
    The cast iron box you referred to with the Amazon link is my el-cheapo model, I paid a lot less than they are selling for now, also.
    “We will leave a light on” even if it is just a wood stove fire.

    only getting 2 loads of wood this yr as I removed a large locust tree from my front yard this summer, me and 2 friends and a machine like this.

  6. “Honestly, we have thought seriously about taking the exterior walls of our home and putting an inch of insulation board in and then putting a second exterior on.”
    I have always wanted an earth bermed house or a rammed vf earth house.. I have the block press.. I actually thought of what you would like to do but put a two foot layer of dirt insulation.. someplace there’s a photo of my grandfather playing in the front yard of my great grandmother’s sod house. ( it became a museum after she passed on..) she refused to live in a stick home. At a local college they use to teach rammed earth. The thought was returning ww2 soldiers because of the wood shortage would want a home of their own. I’ve seen some of those buildings still around looking awesome..
    Well 45 years ago a young man was given an old farmhouse to be moved. His wife and he worked all summer on the basement. Towards winter he was running out of money so he put a roof on and finished the inside anticipating continued construction the next year.. well he liked it so much that they left it.. a pool a bermed garden and courtyard where they can sit out have barbecue or just relax.. open roof vents if it gets to warm close them if it’s to cold.
    The thing is beautiful..and the temperature is stable..

    • My dream was winning the lottery and hollowing out one of the mesas on the ranch with a view. One wall would have been covered with Plexiglas and offset from the stone about 3 or 4 feet when we encountered a void area that the snakes could come Winter over in. Thought that would make a great dining area. Then we could put a surplus periscope through the top. Probably wouldn’t have to worry much about A/C but unless we struck water under that hill getting it up to the living area would be problematic. Probably have Westward facing blast doors for a garage in a lower level and an East door for a back door the way the hill is formed. It’d be tornado proof for sure at the very least.

      • That would be gorgeous Bill..
        If I can ever afford it.. I want to see the cliff dwellings.. I have known people doing archeology studies that have been there..

      • Oh this isn’t a cliff dwelling! Lord, I wouldn’t destroy one of those for a modern dwelling for anything. Those are treasures of the ages. I was talking about tunneling into and hollowing out the largest mesa we have on the place and making a home out of it. 20+ mile view in two directions.

  7. “There’s no more hours in the day no matter what age you are. And somehow, it’s never enough.”

    Truer words have never been written. I had thought that with the (currently) two teens, the acres of yardwork we took on 5 years ago would have gotten a little more dispersed and take less time. Nope. They have little interest in it, as I should have expected, tbh. When they do get on a lawnmower, the hackjob isn’t worth it. I usually end up having to fix the mess. Rinse, repeat all spring, summer, and fall. Hence, the backlog of projects that need to be accomplished are back burnered and get done slower than I’d like to see done.

    They say money can’t buy you happiness, but I sure believe it would buy the services of a decent contractor to do all the needed home projects (I can’t do), and a little left over would buy me one for the pond’s necessary dam reconstruction.

    • Amen. The thing that sticks in my mind more often than not is all the things I HAVE to get done, all the things I WANT to get done and how much time does this body have left to do them in. Tick tock, tick tock.

    • “They say money can’t buy you happiness,”

      Boy my opinion is they sure don’t know how or where to shop lol..

  8. The USFS has an interesting perspective, as does the EPA. Both seem to extol the benefits of a clean safe “approved” fire appliance, yet I can look out of the window at a “prescribed burn” in the forest. The smoke is dense and immense. Of course, prescribed burns(or regular non-crowning wildfires) are required for the health of the forest, but they’re naturally smoky. I’m the first to advocate for burning wood cleanly if only to get the most utility for my efforts, but the attributes of a hot, clean, burn don’t require an “approved” appliance. A good fabricator with some engineering knowledge can design and build such a device for a fraction of the retail cost, and it can be built from scrap steel and refractory. Your insurance company or local municipality may disagree, and I won’t get into that. If you have a cheap source of fuel, you should use it responsibly before it decays. The USFS chart is interesting, but fails to count certain costs, such as the monthly base charge for natural gas service. Under some circumstances, such as vacation homes, it could exceed the actual usage charge. An accurate comparison would be a bit more complex, including the cost and maintenance of whatever heating system is required. A rarely used woodburning stove or fireplace need not be efficient – just safe.

    Since wood(and any fuel) needs to be burned hot to be efficient, a thermal storage mechanism such as a large(500+gallon hydronic reservoir) would improve overall systemic efficiency. It could also be tied to solar hydronic.

    The USFS never mentioned an important reason to have wood heat, and that’s energy independence. Wood can be burned without electricity or other energy inputs to produce essential heat. Even a standby woodstove is worth the investment for thermal security. Don’t forget the fire extinguishers.

    On a slightly different subject, here’s an interesting article on DIY firefighting:

    I wonder what G and G2’s opinions are regarding this. IMHO, nobody has a greater investment or incentive than the owner, and that owner is likely the first to respond regardless.

    Time to toss more wood on the fire!

  9. A brother and nephew up north heat their homes with a wood stove in the basement. Nat Gas furnace fan circulates air in the houses. They cut deadwood with a permit in the county forests. Gas company came after my brother one winter when the meter said he was not using any gas, and threatened to cut him off. He reminded them that he was still paying the minimum monthly ‘connection fees’.

    One old radio person I worked with in Wisconsin had a new house built to his specification. 2×6 studs for the exterior walls were staggered in & out so no single stud could conduct heat (or cold) thru the wall thickness. Then they ‘basket wove’ insulation between the staggered wall studs. His house was snug and comfy at 40-below.

    “If you’re young and believe “I’ll have time to do that when I retire”? Big Lie. There’s no more hours in the day no matter what age you are.
    And somehow, it’s never enough.”
    Amen! I have piles of projects I collected ‘to do when I retire’. Well I retired six years back, and I still haven’t gotten to those piles of things to do! At this rate I will surely live beyond the century mark.

  10. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about winter heating. Coldest night here at the Volcano Ranch I have seen is 56f. The steel roof turns the attic into a roaster in the tropical sun, though. I have 200 watts of solar PV out on the shed that powers the pump and controller for the solar hot water, and has enough leftover charge power to run an attic fan. I got an electric radiator fan and a series 4-ohm 100 watt resistor to knock down the PV voltage from 18 volts to something the fan likes better and limit the current. Fan only runs when the sun is out, and keeps the ceiling cool enough so it doesn’t radiate more heat into the house.

  11. Before we had a decent fire department in our little town all the ranchers had their cattle sprayers that they’d pull around fighting the fires when they popped up. Now we’ve got the Forest Service and a guy that’s great at writing grants for new fire trucks and other equipment so we’ve been pretty well equipped now for about 10 to 15 years. Doesn’t mean things can’t get away from us, though. When the lightning start popping all over the place they can still get spread out pretty thin.

    A freakish storm covered the Western half of the county with a huge number of strikes a couple of years ago and they could just barely keep up. It wasn’t until the next day I found out that at least one of the strikes had hit the ranch and burned off about 100 acres and was pretty much burned out by the time I found it because it was bound on the West by a caliche road and the East by an over grazed pasture of our neighbor’s. Took out a lot of the prickly pear and scrub brush which makes it look good today but it could have been a bad fire that came in behind the others going North had it not had an inch of rain dumped on it toward the end along with running up to a dry draw on the North with the Southerly wind behind it. Flowers on the alter kind of moment.

  12. We have a pellet multi fuel stove. We only put it on low.. it will cook you out of the house..
    I burn coal wood mix.. I do have a pellet press but the coal mines are to far and shipping is the major cost. I have been hoping someone will take coal dust ( currently free) and mix it 3/1 three parts saw dust one part coal dust..straight coal burns really enough to disrupt the circuit boards. Three to one is the perfect mix .. nice and hot but not to hot. I did re-design the burn pot.. with coal like George said you dont want smoke just heat..and even that I have made a small
    After re- designing the burn pot into an afterburner similar to a rocket stove..then the exhaust fan wasn’t needed.. there is a trick to that to. Chimney maintenance is a must..
    My father was a master wood cutter.. he could lay a tree down with precision and splitting it.. when the axis hit the wood it sounded like a ten gauge shotgun blast. 4cords a year..ten minutes after everyone was home .. everyone was stripped down to underwear lol.. I miss all of that. The sounds of the chain saws he had all the toys.. He made his own chains even. He planted what he cut to.. if he cut three he planted three..
    THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.. I truly enjoyed today’s post .

  13. Bemused mentions DMSO.

    That’s the very first (drug) I found that the FDA was against applying to humans and made strictly for horses.

    Knew some folks with horses, who’s arthritis felt better after applying it to the horses. Imagine that. Said it left a nasty taste in their mouth for a little bit, but some side effects can be nasty. – so of course, the FDA doesn’t want ya having bad breath so they restricted it … among other claims.

    Did some research and found many other countries do not restrict DMSO as the FDA does here. In fact, other countries make some pretty outstanding claims about the benefits of DMSO.

    Since the pandemic, I’ve seen other drugs become restricted by the FDA. Didn’t seem to be a problem with those medicines until covid came along. But I’m sure the FDA knows what they’re doing … they are the (experts?) in all this.

    I don’t recommend DMSO for human use. Nor will I recommend Listerine for bad breath … even though it does have a nice minty taste.


    • DMSO definitely stops an ischaemic stroke in its tracks. Consume 10ml of 50% solution every 30min if you get a stroke and can’t get immediate treatment. In Germany it is the preferred treatment – but done intravenously. DMSO is a powerful anti-oxidant, stops the highly reactive OH radical doing more damage. I drink about 8ml of 60% solution twice a day. Has a sweet, garlicky taste. You get used to it!

      • Exactly.

        I am just amazed at what is beneficial in many other places, but restricted here. I’m a bit of a rebel when it come to some restrictions.

        I did get use to it but, When I kissed my wife she said I tasted like corn. Lol !! – the Listerine helped. ;)

        God Bless, I wish you well.

  14. Bunker C-oh yea!
    Wood Heating for 25 years with a newmac wg100
    Hooked up the dc load output of my solar charge controller to my electric water heater. Re wired my electric hot water heater so the elements are in parallel. Just 2 of us, so by staggering the hot water use, we always seem to have enough.

  15. A full/bush cord is 4′ wide 4′ high by 8′ long. It is made-up of three face-cords 16″ wide by 4′ high 8′ long.

  16. George,

    I am in the process of installing an outdoor wood/biomass furnace that will heat my house and shop.

    One thing I learned from Dad early on, you do not load your wood stove with hickory. Not unless you want to burn it out. We would throw the occasional stick of hickory in to bring up the heat, but not a complete stove full. Remember one time Mom mistakenly put too much hickory in the fireplace insert, and by the time Dad discovered what had happened the insert was glowing red. Shut the damper down and thankfully the fire brick liner saved the insert. Dad “required” me to sit/sleep in the room with the insert to make certain we did not have a problem until the hickory was completely burned (but slowly).

    Dad also amazed me with the fact that he could “pop” an axe when splitting wood. “Popping” an axe involves twisting the axe handle just as axe head contacts the wood when splitting it. Takes lots of practice and forearms like Popeye. Axe makes a “ping” sound like the old original Ping putters. Takes great eye/hand coordination, which explains why Dad could kill a golf ball even in his late 70’s.

    I really hate that loggers around here leave a wealth of firewood in tops when harvesting trees. They are only interested in the saw log, and let the remainder lay where it falls. Such a waste.

    So far we are over 3 weeks late for our first frost in our area. Looks like that will change this week, with a possible freeze later in the week.

  17. BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: American Airlines Cancels 104 Flights At Phoenix Sky Harbor – Whistleblower Reveals Weather Is NOT The Cause, It’s Crew Shortages

    Not enough people to crew the planes due to walkouts for the vaxxx mandate.
    I. Do. Not. Care.
    Shut this country down!
    The only other option Americans have is violence. This administration has demonstrated what it really wants to do to us and it’s backing us into a corner no one wants – except them.

    And, surprise, surprise, the comments sections are still shut down.

    • So who cares? The SCOTUSA doesn’t care. The republican hierarchy don’t care. The RNC doesn’t care. Who cares. All the deep state and RNC and DNC care is that Trump’s gone. Who in they’re right mind will ever trust another election in the USA. Especially if the republican loses in the Virginia election tomorrow.

      • It’s not always a case of “doesn’t care.” The Establishment of both political parties doesn’t care, because they’re not much different, one from the other, and they play the same game with one-another, and with us, that they’ve been playing since the Civil War. The USSC cares, but with the Demoncrat Sword of Damocles threat they’re walking on eggshells and will continue to do so until the threat goes away…

        With that said, the current “Trump Team” has been working very hard — not to throw Biden out (which they can’t do), nor to lay the groundwork for a 2024 run. What they’ve been working on is ways and means of eliminating the rampant cheating which occurred during the 2020 Election cycle, and the ability for someone to unfairly and illegally game a U.S. national election.

        How successful will they be?

        We shall see…

        As for Youngkin? Virginia is a Democratic stronghold — has been since the 1850s — and has been getting stronger over the past 50 years as a result of the D.C. suburban sprawl. There is no way Youngkin (or any other Republican) should ever win in Virginia. The fact that (barring the delivery of a couple hundred thousand “found” mail-in ballots before the weekend) he will have done so is huge.

        New Jersey is perhaps even bigger, regardless the outcome (I believe Murphy will win but Ciattarelli has cast fear into every Dem on the Hill who’s attached to their job…) Joisey has been run by corrupt Dems for forever and the fact a reasonably honest, moderate Republican is within shouting distance is huge news, especially to Congressional Dems who previously sided with Biden’s handlers’ Marxist agenda.

  18. When building a house, consider a wood fired masonry heater ( Kachelofen ). Foundation has to be made for it, several tons of brick with labyrinth smoke passages to fully extract the heat. 2 fires a day, of 20# of wood, burned at full throttle, the brick absorbs the heat and slowly releases it over 24-48 hours, fire burns clean and hot for 90 minutes, and every other year, the chimney sweep asks, “Why don’t you use this, it’s clean”. We burn about 3 cords of mixed hardwood in our 5 month heating season.

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