"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

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Stocked up for winter...

... I mean, next winter...

We have just had, what I think is the last of our l'ete indien, and the lovely crisp mornings we waken to each day hold promise of the much welcome change in temperatures ahead.
Our Nordica Rosa - a.k.a. Rosie :)
Apart from the double glazing assisting in retaining heat inside the house, our sole source of warmth is from the Rosie - we don't use electric bar heaters, elelctric air-conditioning set on high heat, nor LP gas heaters.  Only the Nordica Rosie stove. The fact that it provides cooking facilities as well, is the added bonus. Well, truthfully, it was pointless just buying a wood burning stove for heating alone - if both requirements can be provided by the same unit, then surely that is the most cost effective solution.

There are plenty of alien Black Wattles in our area, which are slowly being "removed" by the WFW gang.  Last September we purchased two loads of chopped alien Black Wattle wood which the locals provide to anyone who needs wood for the upcoming winter, or their summer braai's.  Everyone knows, because of the dangers of resin accumulatingin your chimney's, that you can't use newly harvested damp wood in your stoves / fireplaces.  So, we try and source our wood early enough that we are confident that it has had sufficient time to dry before we need it.
Black Wattle logs - stacked last year in
September for use this winter
The hefty piles sort of sink into the ground as they dry.  They are also ideal place for mice and snakes to take refuge, so we site ours well away from the house / vegetable patches.  And very carefully select our wood when it's needed each day.

This winter we will have a mixture of Black Wattle and Bluegum with which to fire up the Rosie.  Bluegum is one of the hardwoods recommended by Nordica and it will be interesting to see the difference between the wattle and the bluegum - will it burn hotter and for longer?  Being much harder than wattle, it should.
The pile is growing and growing - time to
start a row in front.
It's always a mission collecting the firewood - getting to the invariably inaccessible spot where the trees have been chopped down, loading the wood onto the trailer, driving slowly back to our smallholding, and then...
1000 pieces of wattle on the right this time,
and the last of the 1000 pieces of bluegum
being off-loaded on the left
... off-loading it once we get there.  It takes about an hour to load it, and 3/4 of an hour to offload.

The cost - that has gone up since we got here.  It was ZAR200.00 / 1000 pieces in 2012, and is now ZAR300.00 / 1000 pieces  ($30-ish / €20-ish).  
But - that is still MUCH cheaper than we would pay in town.  There they sell a small bag of wood (roughly 12 - 15 pieces) for ZAR50.00 +  So - it is definitely the cheapest form of heating available.  We use about 20 - 25 pieces if we're having the Rosie burning from morning till night - so that would mean we could burn the Rosie all day, every day for roughly 80 days.  But, it's never that cold here that consistently, and we have good warm jersey's and jackets that we can put on if the need should arise.  Daytime burning of the Rosie is left for those rain-drenched, snow-capped mountain winter days and nights when we feel a need for the gem├╝tlichkeit of a visible log burning fire to warm and lighten the dreary outside view.  2000 pieces should be more than enough to see to our needs for this winter.

Who needs to go to gym - even on a lovely crisp morning loading and off-loading that wood is exercise enough to get the blood flowing, and a small trickle of sweat to slide down between the shoulder blades :)

Thank goodness we don't have to chop down the trees as well :)


Vicki said...

I'm in love with your Rosie. Wish I'd had one many years ago when I heated with wood in northern Minnesota. The wood stove I used was like a pot-bellied stove but with a flat top. A venison roast with potatoes, carrots and onions slow-cooked on that stove tasted wonderful. I miss having wood heat, and a rocking chair next to a wood stove.

Dani said...

Vicki - Me too :) Can't wait for the weather to be cold enough that lighting the Rosie in the late afternoon becomes the norm. We considered a pot-bellied type of stove, but figured, for the small difference in cost, that the Rosie would suit our needs better :)

Harry Flashman said...

I have a fire going in my fireplace this morning, it's dreary and damp outside. I buy oak wood from a wood cutter, haul it over here in the truck, and stack it. I have plenty of wood on my own property, and I do cut up some of the blow downs for firewood. Now that it's just me though, and my son is no longer here, it's really more trouble to do that than it's worth.

Do you ever clean out your stove chimney? I had a chimney fire a couple of years ago, at Christmas, at it was impossible for me to put out even though I had the smoke bomb and all that stuff. The fire department had to come out from town. They put it out but it was an unnerving experience. I have a wood burning stove in the basement, and I usually just put a pot of water on it to help keep the air from getting too dry. We have an 1890's style kitchen stove in our kitchen, but we almost never use it. Instead, we have a regular kitchen stove that works on propane. If propane doesn't come down some in price from the outrageous price it reached this past winter, we may be doing more cooking on the wood stove.

Dani said...

Harry - There is NOTHING nicer than a leaping flame or two in the fireplace when it's dreary outside, is there? :)

Our chimney is only in it's 2nd winter - a clean is a good idea for the end of this winter. Thanks :) A chimney fire - that must've been scary...

Lucky you with all that wood growing on your property - wood is definitely the cheapest way to heat you home / cook your food, and is more eco-friendly with these new fangled closed combustion stoves they're producing these days.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Your Rosie looks like she would make it very cozy in your home, plus she does double duty for cooking. What a job loading and stacking wood is. Great exercise for sure.


Dani said...

Flower Lady - Oh, she does, she does :)

Wood stacking - I got over eager and stacked too high, so part of the pile tumbled down a couple of times... LOL

Kris said...

We're FINALLY getting some warm weather after that dreadful winter and here you're just sliding into yours. If I don't see snow, cold, gloom and a burning fire for a while I'll be very glad. You certainly have the fuel for some fine winter days and I hope you guys and Rosie make a lot of gem├╝tlichkeit ! Enjoy.

Dani said...

Kris - I know - you have certainly had a l-o-n-g winter...! Enjoy your sunshine :)

African Bliss said...

Rosie looks nice and cosy. ;)

Dani said...

African Bliss - That she is and more... ;)

Diana Studer said...

ours is closed combustion. I thought they were more efficient?

The eucalyptus you need to add when the fire is going well. It's hard to get started. Then it stays hot, sometimes till morning - so I don't put it on too late.

Dani said...

Diana - Closed combustion IS the way forward - it produces more heat and uses less wood :)

Thanks for the tip with the hardwood :)

Dani said...

Diana - Closed combustion IS the way forward - it produces more heat and uses less wood :)

Thanks for the tip with the hardwood :)