Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wood-Burning Furnace

This is a shot from my back yard during a recent sunset. Although we're facing east, the sunsets produce spectacular light shows in this direction. The weeds you see need to come down even though I find them pretty....I didn't do one lick of push mowing this summer, and now you see the result. The only thing that's gonna get through this stuff is a bush hog.

Speaking of unwanted things and pesky irritants in life, we turn now to a new source of irritation for Chesapeake Bay Mother: my father's acquisition of and obsession with an outdoor, wood-burning furnace.

Chesapeake Bay Mother is contributing again today, because I've been working the paying job and have been too stressed out with computer issues to focus on the blog.

Enjoy! (Or, as a friend--for whom English is a third language would say-- "EnJOIN.")

by Chesapeake Bay Mother

"Husband proclaimed he was getting an outdoor, wood-fueled furnace to heat our house.

I got to select the site of said furnace, since I had no other say in the whole matter other than my statement of refusal to participate in trudging outdoors in winter to load wood anywhere--including into the furnace. Husband said OK...he gets weak when it comes to something he wants to buy.

I chose a location remote from our home to satisfy my unreasonable need to keep what looks like a smoke-belching johnny house* far enough out of the picture so our curb appeal still registers "rural waterfront" as opposed to "backwoods functionally obsolete with no teeth." Victory for me. Pouting for Husband. He must now install the thing which entails burying about 150' of massive line underground and connecting to our oil-burning furnace in the basement. Poor baby.

I mean what I say about myself and wood, having had an interior wood stove in the past. I don't mind cold; if it means wearing a coat indoors, so be it. I'm tough and willing to hibernate. But the days of dropping heavy logs on my bare toes at 3 AM are gone forever. Coincidentally, I have a friend who during her wood-burning years, participated in domestic violence with her now ex-husband, when they threw fireplace logs at each other at about 3 a.m. Logs don't kill people; people kill people. But logs can do the job.

My unwillingness to be a good sport probably means Husband will be around to man the wood needs of his newest novelty. On those days when he must be away, we will see who takes his place. I'm guessing one or more bubbas.** And if we get the right breeze, we won't all die from smoke inhalation or catch a cinder and burst into flames.

Then he can realize the fruits of his labor--bragging to the neighbors about how much money he is saving, not counting the huge outlay and installation costs of the furnace, which resides within flirting distance of his beloved John Deere, who appears to be turning somewhat greener of late."



* Indeed when Chesapeake Bay Son first saw this outdoor wood-burning furnace, he said, "Why is there a Trudy's Toilet in Nanny's yard?" Trudy's Toilets is a local portapotty outfit, and this furnace thing looks just like one. (BTW - Trudy's are the BEST portapotties ever. She even puts bouquets of flowers and mirrors in hers. The mirrors are for make-up application or checking one's nose, for those of you ready to make a snide remark about why there would be a need for mirrors in a portapotty. Sometimes there's even a sink to wash your hands. It's a first class operation. For real.)

** No offense to Bubbas, seriously; she has nothing against Bubbas, and have mercy nor do I. Bubbas make the world go around, at least the world known as Mathews County. Are there any with a bush hog who would like to make some extra money?

Lastly, I'd like to say this about all that furnace commotion above:

The distance between the site CB Mother selected for the wood-burning furnace and the house in which they live is approximately the distance from New Hampshire to Rhode Island. You can't just get up in the middle of the night and toss a log on the fire. You have to get out your GPS and pack provisions for the trip.

When that thing is going full steam, it looks just like the paper mill at West Point - complete with the pile of logs right next to it. You need to turn your windshield wipers on and blink back tears just to get through the smoke.

Chesapeake Bay Father opted for this heating mechanism because the cost of fuel oil was sky high, and he figured this would be a way to save some money.

The only thing he's saving is a place at Number One on Chesapeake Bay Mother's List. Yes, that list.


Anonymous said...

I just love starting my day here!! Also just ask bayman to bring his "gravely" over to clean up your waters edge. Also if you don't like your verizon choices the GI relatives and your favorite dr. use the sprint cards in the computers. Sorry you have to work today but maybe the kitty litter fairy will come to see you again this week I heard there is a big pile brewing!!!

Ann Marie said...

Sprint Cards don't work all the way down here with the crickets and coyotes.. remember crickets and coyotes not frogs and wolves. so I have two solutions. 1. Satelite. It isn't as fast as dsl or broadband BUT it gets the job done without me throwing computer in the front yard due to the dial up being so slow. 2. I do use a verizon broadband card as back up.. I have it.. I just don't use it all the time.. very rarely actually.

As for the over growth.. I have a couple of options if you really don't have one.. but I am sure you have someone in mind already. Just let me know.

Anonymous said...

WOW - somebody else uses a Gravely! It was a sad day when the transmission on mine finally died. What a work horse! Much like CBW, constantly posting under such primitive conditions that she has to suffer with!

But just to put a little toe of reality into the picture; people were put on the moon with less computing power than the average 'old' computer of today!

Your mom has the patience of a saint to put up with the new furnace. I assume that she negotiated 'something fun and wonderful' with the savings :)!


Anonymous said...

I'd opt for knitting myself blankets all winter as opposed to heading out to add more wood.

Anonymous said...

Up here'a, where de elevation 'bove c-level is always greader dan 50ft, nobody pass de age of 16 has der own teeth and ders at least one Daryl in every family we call dem wood-burning furnaces de "Devil's Outhouse". Course we have different sizes and de smaller one's is usually named for some lesser fallen angel, ya know, like "Judas's Outhouse".

Anonymous said...

No way ! I just recently had a gentleman tell me about his wood burning furnace while shopping at Best Value (he is the famous Santa every year at Christmas for the Main Street XMAS thing)he lives down Onemo way. He just gleamed with pride talking about this contraption as we stood near the fruit - during the "101 Crash Course" on how to build, maintain, etc., I at the time was thinking I need green beans .... hum..
So, please pass this expert reference on to your father. He did tell me the huge savings in dollars - WOW !.......
Love your picture, made me think about yesterday driving home from work, it was after 5:00 p.m., I thought about you & your camera - Wow ! the sky took on an unusual color & everything around me while driving was orange, red & yellow - beautiful ! I was on the phone talking with a friend - they too saw this, assured me I was not having some sort of spell or flash back ....ha! ha! :-}
Horn Harbor Girl

Unknown said...

I read this hilarious post late last night, and somehow, I was laughing so hard with bewilderment and baffle-ness (I just made that word up), that I couldn't put into words anything coherent.

But now, I'm awake, and I still have a cerebral blockage!

Is a Bubba an man? Your mother has men? What a hoot.

I can't picture a wood burning furnace that isn't attached to the building it is heating...but I know I would take the cold before I'd go out in the middle of the night to throw a log on the fire.

Your mother is a great writer, much like you.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy it while you can...take lots of pictures too, cause that kind of heat source wouldn't be around too long. It's already "illegal" to have a wood burning fireplace in many homes in CA.. Guess too many people don't like the smell of burning cedar, oak and apple. And it probably adds to the smog issue ....and we can't have that.

Mental P Mama said...

Ruh Roh. I've started sleeping in turtlenecks, and my children are not at all happy with my thermostat settings;)

Anonymous said...

Where is a photo???? I wanna see it! *lol*

"...Logs don't kill people; people kill people. But logs can do the job...." Best line ever! I'm still rolling after reading that.

CBW...I wish you knew just how much I love your blog. Between your own posts and your mum's I'm able to distract myself from how craptastic I'm feeling and revel in truly brilliant writing that takes me to a little place called Mathews that I am dying to visit.

Thank you. Thank you so much!

pjhammer_1965 said...

Awesome! Hughesnet from Directv - high speed internet via satellite. That's one thing I don't miss about Mathews, dial-up.

Big Hair Envy said...

I heart Bubbas.

Meg McCormick said...

I looked into Hughesnet when we briefly moved to BFE, I mean Pennsylvania, and it was really expensive. Fortunately, even my tiny town had DSL!

I know you're suffering now because you haven't commented on my blog and you haven't signed in here. I can practically sense your palpitations and sweats from 3 hours away. That's more evidence that we were separated at birth.

Hang in there!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Anonymous - The kitty litter fairy is the best. I never believed in her until a couple weeks ago.

Ann Marie - I have my doubts about Sprint, too, only because of my location. I will do a thorough investigation. In the meantime, I am all ears regarding somebody to clear the bank/shoreline. It's really easy because it is only one summer's worth of growth and it's all dead. No tree stumps, etc.

RC - Yes, we have a Gravely here in Mathews, Gwynn's Island to be perxact. Re the negotiation, well, that's a topic for another day. Or another blog entirely.

Phyl - He wears an XXL....I admire you for having the patience to knit.

Anonymous - I'll go out on a limb here since I'm only guessing and state that perhaps at your elevation you would have a better perspective on an exploding hamburger and could tell us where it might have landed....

Horn Harbor Girl - Way. In fact there is a darn good chance that CB Father and Mathews County Santa Claus compared notes already. I DID see that incredible sunset the other night - I've never seen orange and pinks like that in my life, but I couldn't get a picture of it that would do it justice. It was amazing. If you were having a flashback, I was too.

GJ - A stereotypical Bubba might possibly be compared to a person who drives a truck with a gunrack, not that there's anything wrong with that. They are salt of the Earth, and essential to the successful functioning of this community. My father is friends with several/many (in fact some of us might even resemble that remark), and that's why my mother says they'd pick up my father's slack with the furnace, should there be any slack.

RC - Have Mercy, if my father finds out there's any chance of this thing being outlawed, we will definitely have a situation on our hands. And when I say "our" hands I mean "my mother's" hands.

MPM- You may well be related, I'm starting to wonder...

Auds - You are very kind, and I'm so glad that she/we can distract you from craptastic. Just so you know, I'm going to be borrowing your word and will be tossing it around a lot at work. "Hey, Chesapeake Bay Woman, how's it going?" "CRAPTASTIC, I'm at work,struggling with Excel spreadsheets and mindless statistics, but otherwise I'm just craptastic, thank you very much." Good one.

PJH - That's definitely on my list of things to consider, but my mindset right now is if I'm going to make This Big of a Change I want to be mobile...I don't know what that means as far as technology goes, but I"m sure some salesperson will be happy to tell me!

BHE - I always have hearted Bubbas, and always will. They're the best.

Thanks, everyone.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Meg/Soup - I am at least for the moment up and running, although not fully (no FAcebook, for example), but I'm coming to visit you now.

Anonymous said...

Riparian buffer! I'm telling you it's a riparian buffer - very effective, ecologically sound shoreline managment technique. Of course I'm not saying that you'll be able to see the water after a while.

I have access to a bush hog, if it gets really bad. Your Dad doesn't have a bush-hog? I'll have to talk to him. Your mom needs to let him get a bush hog.


Unknown said...

What a great story. It is so well written. I could picture everything as I was reading it. HILARIOUS word pictures for sure!

foolery said...

LOVED this -- CBM is as funny and talented as you are, and that's saying something! So glad to be back reading again, and I have a LOT to catch up on.

RC is right -- wood-burning stoves are on their way out in California. In Butte County (where I am right now and one county over from home) there are MANY days a year when the air quality is bad enough that they ask people not to use their wood stoves. Thank GAHHH for the coming Global Inferno, ha ha.