"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Stocking up for winter

Stocking up for winter?

Winter only hits here at the end of June / beginning of July and lasts until round about September.

But, even though I prefer winter, I have unfond memories of the cold last year.  Was it due to the house build being incomplete,?  Was it due to the exposed, rural setting we are now living in?  Was it due to the wonderful snow on the mountains?  I can't honestly tell you - yet.  This winter will be the deciding one.

But with those memories, I am still trying to convince RMan that a Nordica stove, specifically a Nordica Sovrana or Nordica Mamy, will solve all our smoky  heating / cooking problems this coming winter.

Nordica Sovrana
Judging from the specs, the Sovrana should be able to heat our +/- 200mtr3 double volume kitchen / lounge / dining / mezzanine area's.
Nordica Sovrana specs

I have spent hours, and hours on the Net trying to source affordable wood-burning kitchen stoves, and the cheapest I have found is the Nordica range, which is imported by Fire and Gas in Somerset West.  Stoves from the USA, Australia, the UK, Sweden, Norway - they are all hectically priced given our pathetic exchange rate(which, today, is ZAR9.03857 to US$1.00) and that is without factoring in the transport to South Africa.  And - I would have to go through all the import hassles again...!

But, whether we stick with the Dover stove or go for a larnier model, we have to get our firewood in, and allow it to dry before we use it.  So RMan and I went to the local woodcutters a couple of weeks ago to collect next year's wood.
The WFW (Working for Water) guys do a
wonderful job of  cutting down the alien
invasive Australian Black Wattles.  I
wouldn't say they making any headway in eradicating
them because when they chop them down, they
don't kill off the stump so it just grows from the bottom
again. If they kill off th
e stump they will eventually
have no wattles to fell = no work.  They're clever LOL
These guys are amazing.  They harvest the alien Australian Black Wattle, chop it up into usable sizes and load it for you.
Thank goodness for our trailer.
I feel warmer just knowing that we have
next year's firewood on hand
1000 pieces for ZAR250.00 - and yet they sell 10 - 12 bagged pieces in town for ZAR30.00 - that's quite a mark-up!
The wood we will use this year is on the left of
the pile.  The new wood, on the right, needs
to dry for a year so that it doesn't
layer our chimney with resin - potentially
causing a fire in the future.
So, now we have our wood, all I need is my Nordica, RMan... ;)


purplepear said...

I am in a simialr predicament at the moment. trying to decide wether a wood stove is worth the money, reseach, wood pile aquisition. i think so but like you I need to act now!.

Mrs. Mac said...

Are you unable to retrofit your Dover so it doesn't create smoke inside your home?

Dani said...

Purplepear -For me there is nothing like a visible fire in winter to make one feel warmer :) If I can also use it to cook with so much the better. No competition on my side - even if I'm only going to use it for 4 - 5 months of the year - must be my UK roots...?

Dani said...

Mrs Mac - We've tried everything, but the acrid smell of smoke hanging in the air the following morning is not pleasant - never mind what it is doing to us while we spend time in the room when it's lit.

Add to that the fact that's it's too bloody cold to throw open all the doors and windows in order to air out the room and I reckon you'll have a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from, and why a modern, slow burning, (properly sealed) closed combustion stove is my goal... :)

Kris said...

Got my finger crossed that Rman sees the light. LOL

I have a 'regular' fireplace in this house and for several years I dealt with smoke and 'chimney smell' during and after the burn. So one day I got tired of clueless chimney sweeps and puzzled brick masons and the fire pulling in cold air from every nook and cranny in the house (cooling it down). One summer day I took up a hammer and chisel and started swinging. I broke a hole through the original plastered living room wall and then the outside bricks. Next I fashioned an air vent that included a 5" feed tube right into the fireplace. Pretty? Not so much. Effective? Oh yes indeedy. *sniff* Ah - that's better. :-D

Kris said...

P.S. As for the W4W boys, they aren't thinking only of themselves, y'know. If they removed all the stumps, there would be no more local wood available for their customers. I'd say they were doing a good job husbanding some renewable resource. Beside, since the wattle is unwanted, there is no guilt at all burning it (as opposed to, say, some of the gorgeous oak, beech and hickory I burn due to rampant clearing around here). *sigh*

Linda said...

We lived with an old, unsealed fire box for one winter, si I know what you mean. As for the black wattle, I'd say it's a pretty handy weed if it's keeping you warm! Do you know it also provides nitrogen to impoverished soil? I find it burns too quickly in our fire though. Good for instant heat but not good o/nite.

Dani said...

Kris - You're very handy - and inventive :) Clever, clever girl.

Unfortunately, our chimney, being an aluminium sectioned pipe which is completely incorrect, is the main cause of our problems - that and the firepit section which does not seal at all!!

Oak - oh, no! I could never burn oak - love it too much for the furniture it produces. But we should be so lucky as to have oaks growing round us... LOL

Dani said...

Linda - LOL you've got that right - it is a handy weed :) And I agree - it's burn longevity is non-existent. Nordica recommend using a hard wood i.e. (dried) blue gum. Didn't know it provided nitrogen to the soil though - thanks :)

Quinn said...

Around here, the only way to prevent stump-sprouting from many species would require treating the freshly cut stumps with poison, which would be transported into the root system. Not sure that's something you'd want those woodcutters to do, is it? Personally, I'd be thrilled if one of the invasive tree species in my area here had an actual use!

Dani said...

Quinn - They do the same here with tree stumps - seal them so they don't sprout again.

How do you get rid of the wood from an invasive species - don't you burn it?

tantalising labrat said...

I have no ramnatic notions about coal/wood burning stoves. give me good ol' most effecient and easy to manage LPG gas water geyser and stove. I believe in cavity wall construction, small rooms that can be isolated, solid concrete roof slabs, good north fenestration to heat the floor slabs during the day in winter, good cross ventilation to cool the rooms in summer and a Jetmaster Gas fireplace to take the chill off the air when needed. Yes, gas is expensive thanks to price fixing of the suppliers,so it must be used sparingly. But it is instant heat and clean - Give me no mess no fuss anyday. !!!

Dani said...

Brat - RMan and I both love the visual impact of a fire in winter - somehow makes us "feel" warmer.

Nah, we already use too much LPG to power our geyser and two plate caravan stove. I want to be more independent wherever possible. We've got double glazing to prevent overheating in summer, and retain the heat in winter. And blockout curtains - again for the summer heat and winter cold.

Half the fun of winter are the visible flames in a fire(place) :)