The weather has temporarily broken here in western New York. The power company has begun thier yearly tree trimming operations. I passed thier truck on the way to work yesterday. As I left work I backtracked my morning trip. Finding many of the wood piles still in place, I called ahead and told Pelenaka to be dressed to work and ready to go in 15 minutes. The days score was a trailer and a half of sugar maple and oak. coming home tonight I caught a tree trimmers truck at the gas station, it's been windy all day and thier are trees down. They told me the area they were heading. I'll head there in the morning, hoprfully there will be some left for the great scrounger.
I just started following this blog a few weeks before the new website was started. I wanted to be sure before making a recomendation. Check it out. If you want in on the giveaway there is still a couple days.
Last week there was a givaway over at The Sharpened Axe blog. I won the flint and steel. This steel is smaller than the one I already have. It's the perfect size to fit in an altoid tin fire starting kit. My stepdaughter often referred to here as "the sidekick" is turning into a pretty serious outdoors gal. She's old enough now that she can start hunting separate from me. This flint and steel is going into a kit I'm putting together for her. A big thanks to Mike Oscar Hotel at "The Sharpened Axe". Check out his blog, I'm sure all my followers will enjoy it.
Also, keep your eyes open. There is another blog moving to it's own website. They are having a big givaway too. I will post more info soon.
The problem with living on our small city homestead is sometimes it's size. There isn't always enough room to stockpile the things you need. Like enough firewood to make it through a cold winter. I actually gave away a face cord and a half of partially seasoned sugar maple last fall. Just didn't have room to store it without stepping on the toes of nieghbors or worse the code enforcement guy. Last week we had a snap of sub zero temps. The wise decision was to fire the furnace rather than rely on the wood stove. Mainly because the woodstove isn't in the cellar where the soon to be frozen water lines are. Well, those four days of furnace running saved a little bit of wood. Which is good because we are down to just a hair over three face cords. Enough to get us to the end of february. But, the end of february isn't good enough. I've seen more than one easter weekend snow storm. So, how do we solve the problem without paying $85.00 for a face cord of firewood.
Working in a home center has a few advantages. Very few. However a few days ago a possible solution to our problem presented itself. Wood pellets, yup wood pellets. Everyone said you can't burn them in a regular wood stove. The reasons everyone gave. They won't burn right without a fan forcing air on them. They burn too fast. They won't burn without a special grate. etc. etc. etc. Well all I have to say to all the experts were wrong, really wrong. A guy came into work and bought two skids of wood pellets. The skids are stacked together. The top four bags in the bottom skid are usually torn open. we usually replace them for the customer then mark down the torn bags to $1.00 each. So, I bought a bag to experiment with. If it didn't work I would have 40 lbs of cheap garden mulch.
You can see above my solution to the supposed problems of burning pellets in a conventional wood stove. The pellets burn just fine without a fan forcing air on them. They only burn up too fast if you throw them in the stove like you are feeding the chickens. Put them in a pile and they will burn just like regular wood. With a box stove like ours there is no special grate needed unless your stove has a grate above an ash compartment. In that case the pellets would just fall through into the ash pan. What I do is make an envelope out of news paper. A single sheet of newspaper folded and stapled then filled with pellets works great. By putting them in an envelope it's easy to get them in a compact pile quickly. The paper takes about half a minute to ignite.Then dumps the burning pellets into a pile. An envelope of pellets burns about 30 minutes. I figure 20-25 envelopes for a 40lb bag. A days heat for a buck can't be beat in my book.
Hunter seems to approve. So, I must be doing something right.