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(Wood burning demographic) Re: Firewood Sales Undeterred by Warm Winter ...)

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  • dale_a_mcmillen
    Pretty funny article. I remember when I was in college (over 30 years ago), there were a few incidents of some poor in the city freezing to death because they
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 28, 2012
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      Pretty funny article.

      I remember when I was in college (over 30 years ago), there were a few incidents of some poor in the city freezing to death because they had gotten so old and weak they could no longer collect their own firewood. Their only source of heat was some very old and rusty wood burning stoves.

      Some enterprising folks associated with some inter-faith organizations figured out that the city was just disposing of the trees it regularly cuts down (for road building, path clearing, storm clean up, etc.) into the local dump. So, these folks organized an ongoing volunteer project to redirect these junk trees to an empty lot where college students (this is where I came in) and others looking for hearty volunteer work would come and operate chain saws and splitters to stack the wood and then find other volunteers with pick up trucks to deliver the wood to these poor folk who otherwise would be at real risk of freezing to death.

      Ahhh .... the memories this brings back ....

      So, what I find funny in this article is how wood burning is an activity that occupies people at the top of the economic ladder (who else in Manhatten has a fireplace????) but also at the total bottom of the economic ladder.

      Probably for many years this was the wood burning demographic -- the way top and the way bottom -- or the middle class country and farm folk who just happen to have spare wood around and a fireplace.

      Now in recent years (including a little bump in the 1970s) with environmental concerns and the ever increasing price of fossil fuels, the wood burning demographic is including comfortable middle-class folks (like myself) who are able and willing to make capital investments (nice stoves, improved chimneys) to help offset other heating costs and try to be a little more carbon neutral .... not to mention being able to enjoy a little extra winter coziness with the family around the fire :-)
    • Tim
      I m neither top or bottom but I love to burn (and save). It was kind of a zen thing but, because of tennis elbow, I had to give up the splitting by hand. But I
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 2, 2012
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        I'm neither top or bottom but I love to burn (and save).

        It was kind of a zen thing but, because of tennis elbow, I had to give up the splitting by hand.

        But I can see, with all the work woodburning is, how the old folks would freeze. And, this situation was probably pretty standard in the days long ago before people were clustered in cities.

        I wonder what it's like 30 years later. Does the city still allow the old trees to be burned as fuel by the poor?

        Think it's a lot of work now? How about before the power saw?

        --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "dale_a_mcmillen" <dale.mcmillen@...> wrote:
        >
        > Pretty funny article.
        >
        > I remember when I was in college (over 30 years ago), there were a few incidents of some poor in the city freezing to death because they had gotten so old and weak they could no longer collect their own firewood. Their only source of heat was some very old and rusty wood burning stoves.
        >
        > Some enterprising folks associated with some inter-faith organizations figured out that the city was just disposing of the trees it regularly cuts down (for road building, path clearing, storm clean up, etc.) into the local dump. So, these folks organized an ongoing volunteer project to redirect these junk trees to an empty lot where college students (this is where I came in) and others looking for hearty volunteer work would come and operate chain saws and splitters to stack the wood and then find other volunteers with pick up trucks to deliver the wood to these poor folk who otherwise would be at real risk of freezing to death.
        >
        > Ahhh .... the memories this brings back ....
        >
        > So, what I find funny in this article is how wood burning is an activity that occupies people at the top of the economic ladder (who else in Manhatten has a fireplace????) but also at the total bottom of the economic ladder.
        >
        > Probably for many years this was the wood burning demographic -- the way top and the way bottom -- or the middle class country and farm folk who just happen to have spare wood around and a fireplace.
        >
        > Now in recent years (including a little bump in the 1970s) with environmental concerns and the ever increasing price of fossil fuels, the wood burning demographic is including comfortable middle-class folks (like myself) who are able and willing to make capital investments (nice stoves, improved chimneys) to help offset other heating costs and try to be a little more carbon neutral .... not to mention being able to enjoy a little extra winter coziness with the family around the fire :-)
        >
      • Andy A
        Even worse before insulation.  I used to hear that to heat an old house around here, one had to have a wood shed/pile of wood about equal in cubic feet to the
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 2, 2012
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          Even worse before insulation.  I used to hear that to heat an old house around here, one had to have a wood shed/pile of wood about equal in cubic feet to the size of the house, to keep that house warm for the whole winter in this climate, northern Minnesota. 

          In contrast, I've use about 2.5 - 3.5 cords most winters, for about 1600 sq feet.     (don't know how that amount of wood compares to cubic feet, but it is obviously less than the above example)  This year I think that it will be quite a bit less, even though December was quite cloudy.  Almost every night I put in just a few sticks of wood before bed time, not caring if the fire goes out.  My living room will usually drop from 72 to about 68, or actually 64 at the very worst.  I keep the electric heat set to go on at about 62 or 64.   It is only a slight bit of a problem in the morning if I have to leave the house early before I can get it warmed up with the wood heat.  And most days, I don't worry if it goes out during the day time, since it has been above freezing so often.  

          I've been thinking about "heat storage" lately.  If I've been away, then it takes awhile to bring the general temperature of the house from about 62 to 70.  There is a lot of mass to heat up.  But if the stove has been on continually, not only are the walls, ceilings, floors, etc. warm (room temperature) but the stove is, of course, about 600 degrees on the top, and the masonry chimney faces with tile behind the stove is very hot as well.  Three little sticks of wood maintain a fire for over an hour and the stove maintains warmth above room temperature for at least 6 hours with no additional wood added.  I like to let it die down somewhat so I can clean out the ashes, EVERYDAY.  Now, that is a pain compared to the every 5 days that I had to do with the boxy stove I used to have.  Quite frankly, the ash drawer of this Jotul stove is way too small for the size of the stove and how much wood I burn each day.  

          AndyA


          From: Tim <timothydj@...>
          To: woodheat@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, March 2, 2012 12:30 PM
          Subject: [woodheat] (Wood burning demographic) Re: Firewood Sales Undeterred by Warm Winter ...)

           
          I'm neither top or bottom but I love to burn (and save).

          It was kind of a zen thing but, because of tennis elbow, I had to give up the splitting by hand.

          But I can see, with all the work woodburning is, how the old folks would freeze. And, this situation was probably pretty standard in the days long ago before people were clustered in cities.

          I wonder what it's like 30 years later. Does the city still allow the old trees to be burned as fuel by the poor?

          Think it's a lot of work now? How about before the power saw?
        • Harry
          Things were a LOT different in the old days. People didn t heat the entire house and wore more clothes inside. I remember my Dad telling stories of sleeping
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 3, 2012
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            Things were a LOT different in the old days. People didn't heat the entire house and wore more clothes inside. I remember my Dad telling stories of sleeping on top of one down "mattress" and under another, and waking up to frozen water in the house. They didn't have indoor plumbing so no frozen pipes. The stove in the kitchen was basically the only heat in the house. So, the family spent a lot of time (together) in the kitchen. Houses were much smaller compared to the 5000 sq. ft. monsters we try to heat today. My Dad's family house was about 800 sq. ft. and only half of that was living area. They didn't spend time in bedrooms playing video games. Bedrooms were for sleeping. Let's face it folks these days we waste a tremendous amount of energy... think about the wasted KWH in places like Las Vegas or Manhattan, just in lights. And for it we're paying the price. The Appalachian mountains are being converted to sterile pancakes where vibrant forests and streams once were just so people have the coal for electrons to waste. Opps sorry for off topic rant.

            --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "Tim" <timothydj@...> wrote:
            >
            > I'm neither top or bottom but I love to burn (and save).
            >
            > It was kind of a zen thing but, because of tennis elbow, I had to give up the splitting by hand.
            >
            > But I can see, with all the work woodburning is, how the old folks would freeze. And, this situation was probably pretty standard in the days long ago before people were clustered in cities.
            >
            > I wonder what it's like 30 years later. Does the city still allow the old trees to be burned as fuel by the poor?
            >
            > Think it's a lot of work now? How about before the power saw?
            >
            > --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "dale_a_mcmillen" <dale.mcmillen@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Pretty funny article.
            > >
            > > I remember when I was in college (over 30 years ago), there were a few incidents of some poor in the city freezing to death because they had gotten so old and weak they could no longer collect their own firewood. Their only source of heat was some very old and rusty wood burning stoves.
            > >
            > > Some enterprising folks associated with some inter-faith organizations figured out that the city was just disposing of the trees it regularly cuts down (for road building, path clearing, storm clean up, etc.) into the local dump. So, these folks organized an ongoing volunteer project to redirect these junk trees to an empty lot where college students (this is where I came in) and others looking for hearty volunteer work would come and operate chain saws and splitters to stack the wood and then find other volunteers with pick up trucks to deliver the wood to these poor folk who otherwise would be at real risk of freezing to death.
            > >
            > > Ahhh .... the memories this brings back ....
            > >
            > > So, what I find funny in this article is how wood burning is an activity that occupies people at the top of the economic ladder (who else in Manhatten has a fireplace????) but also at the total bottom of the economic ladder.
            > >
            > > Probably for many years this was the wood burning demographic -- the way top and the way bottom -- or the middle class country and farm folk who just happen to have spare wood around and a fireplace.
            > >
            > > Now in recent years (including a little bump in the 1970s) with environmental concerns and the ever increasing price of fossil fuels, the wood burning demographic is including comfortable middle-class folks (like myself) who are able and willing to make capital investments (nice stoves, improved chimneys) to help offset other heating costs and try to be a little more carbon neutral .... not to mention being able to enjoy a little extra winter coziness with the family around the fire :-)
            > >
            >
          • sesmith83@gmail.com
            We are in total agreement as far as energy being wasted and the environmental damage associated with it. When it comes to the good old days , not so sure.
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 4, 2012
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              We are in total agreement as far as energy being wasted and the environmental damage associated with it. When it comes to the "good old days", not so sure. The old houses were cold, not because people wanted to hover around the stove, but because they couldn't be heated. I own one of those 1800's vintage houses (smaller 1400 sq ft). When we moved in almost 30 years ago, the wind literally blew through it, even though it had been "insulated". We heated with wood primarily because oil heat was too expensive, even at $1.50/ gal prices. We did replace the old oil furnace with a new one 20 years ago, and heated some years with oil and usually did some oil heating in the shoulder season. My kids grew up with upstairs bedrooms in the 50's as there are no heat ducts up to the bedrooms there. They did survive just fine, and learned a fine appreciation for heat. I've been working on the building envelope and insulation over the 30 years we've lived here, and today, it's easily heated and fairly efficient for it's age. The recent addition of a gshp has made the house totally comfortable this year, and very inexpensive to heat.

              I personally don't understand why someone would need a 5000 sq ft house, but maybe that's cause we could never afford to own one?? I am fairly sure that a new, energy efficient 5000 sq ft house would use less energy to keep it warm, than one of the older 3000 sq ft farm houses found in my neck of the woods. If the homeowners in the 1800's had access to all we know about energy efficiency and modern heating, they wouldn't have chosen to live in cold drafty houses that were impossible to heat. Everything's relative, but I'm not so sure the "good old" days were so "good".

              --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <bryant539117@...> wrote:
              >
              > Things were a LOT different in the old days. People didn't heat the entire house and wore more clothes inside. I remember my Dad telling stories of sleeping on top of one down "mattress" and under another, and waking up to frozen water in the house. They didn't have indoor plumbing so no frozen pipes. The stove in the kitchen was basically the only heat in the house. So, the family spent a lot of time (together) in the kitchen. Houses were much smaller compared to the 5000 sq. ft. monsters we try to heat today. My Dad's family house was about 800 sq. ft. and only half of that was living area. They didn't spend time in bedrooms playing video games. Bedrooms were for sleeping. Let's face it folks these days we waste a tremendous amount of energy... think about the wasted KWH in places like Las Vegas or Manhattan, just in lights. And for it we're paying the price. The Appalachian mountains are being converted to sterile pancakes where vibrant forests and streams once were just so people have the coal for electrons to waste. Opps sorry for off topic rant.
              >
              > --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "Tim" <timothydj@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I'm neither top or bottom but I love to burn (and save).
              > >
              > > It was kind of a zen thing but, because of tennis elbow, I had to give up the splitting by hand.
              > >
              > > But I can see, with all the work woodburning is, how the old folks would freeze. And, this situation was probably pretty standard in the days long ago before people were clustered in cities.
              > >
              > > I wonder what it's like 30 years later. Does the city still allow the old trees to be burned as fuel by the poor?
              > >
              > > Think it's a lot of work now? How about before the power saw?
              > >
              > > --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "dale_a_mcmillen" <dale.mcmillen@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Pretty funny article.
              > > >
              > > > I remember when I was in college (over 30 years ago), there were a few incidents of some poor in the city freezing to death because they had gotten so old and weak they could no longer collect their own firewood. Their only source of heat was some very old and rusty wood burning stoves.
              > > >
              > > > Some enterprising folks associated with some inter-faith organizations figured out that the city was just disposing of the trees it regularly cuts down (for road building, path clearing, storm clean up, etc.) into the local dump. So, these folks organized an ongoing volunteer project to redirect these junk trees to an empty lot where college students (this is where I came in) and others looking for hearty volunteer work would come and operate chain saws and splitters to stack the wood and then find other volunteers with pick up trucks to deliver the wood to these poor folk who otherwise would be at real risk of freezing to death.
              > > >
              > > > Ahhh .... the memories this brings back ....
              > > >
              > > > So, what I find funny in this article is how wood burning is an activity that occupies people at the top of the economic ladder (who else in Manhatten has a fireplace????) but also at the total bottom of the economic ladder.
              > > >
              > > > Probably for many years this was the wood burning demographic -- the way top and the way bottom -- or the middle class country and farm folk who just happen to have spare wood around and a fireplace.
              > > >
              > > > Now in recent years (including a little bump in the 1970s) with environmental concerns and the ever increasing price of fossil fuels, the wood burning demographic is including comfortable middle-class folks (like myself) who are able and willing to make capital investments (nice stoves, improved chimneys) to help offset other heating costs and try to be a little more carbon neutral .... not to mention being able to enjoy a little extra winter coziness with the family around the fire :-)
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • dale_a_mcmillen
              ... Oh yeah -- back when I was about 14 years old, my family moved to a rural area near Port Jervis New York and it was way cold in the winter -- the first
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 5, 2012
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                --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "Tim" <timothydj@...> wrote:
                >
                > Think it's a lot of work now? How about before the power saw?


                Oh yeah -- back when I was about 14 years old, my family moved to a rural area near Port Jervis New York and it was way cold in the winter -- the first couple of years there we easily had 8-10 feet of snow over the winter and huge piles everywhere. Well, money was tight so instead of a chain saw, my dad got me and my brother a manual bucking saw and set us to work on that wood pile of walnut tree logs. Needless to say, we didn't last long -- what blisters and sore shoulders and practically no wood cut! Somehow my dad must have found a buddy with a chain saw to finish up the job.

                Dale
              • dale_a_mcmillen
                ... No need to apologize. Being a good environmental steward, along with saving a buck and having cozy family time are what motivates me too.
                Message 7 of 10 , Mar 5, 2012
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                  --- In woodheat@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <bryant539117@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Opps sorry for off topic rant.

                  No need to apologize. Being a good environmental steward, along with saving a buck and having cozy family time are what motivates me too.
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