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December 25, 2014 / 74

Today Was A Good Day

Yes. Today was a GOOD day!!!

First, the temp was in the low 50s (F), which made it a day we didn’t have to freeze. We’ve been running electric heaters for the last couple of days because the wood stove wasn’t running right – so yesterday we shut it down so it could cool off and we could dive into it today to see if we could figure out what was wrong with it.

Let me say here that electric heaters are no substitute for a good wood stove!!! Not only don’t they heat as well, but there’s no fire… no cheery flickering flames… no warm glow that you can back up to and toast your rear while holding your hands down at your side getting the cold soaked out of your knuckles. And the wood costs a LOT less than the electric!!!

I shut it down a few days ago for the same reason. It just wasn’t burning right. The draft just wasn’t right. Once it was cool, I took the baffle out and found the baffle gasket was kind of shredded. I have no idea how it got that way, but it didn’t matter. I had one spare gasket, and installed it and reinstalled the baffle. The stove seemed to burn much better, so I ran it the rest of that day, then set it up for the night and went to bed. Got up the next day and I was back to before.

One of the things I used to do for a living was I held and worked under a First Class Stationary Operating Engineer’s License. I ran big powerful boilers and loud machines, and the kind of equipment that roared and scared people who don’t work with it everyday. So I know a bit about captive fires – what they should look like, how the flames should behave, what color the fire should be and why it should be that color. The fire just didn’t seem to be getting enough O2 for a good fire.

Unlike the last time, this time I had my wife present to help me. She asked me questions about the draft, where it came from, how it got to where the fire should be. Trust me. I’d already considered everything I knew about this particular stove’s draft, but couldn’t find a problem with it… other than that it was inadequate. I’d eliminated all the possibilities that I thought I was capable of examining. The things I still thought it could be were walled off from examination by welded steel.

Then my wife… yes… the smart one of the marriage… stuck her fingers down in the front of the fire box and lifted the primary air feed manifold right out of the stove. (I thought it was welded in.) Behind it was a little pile of ash that was blocking the air flow. I got a putty knife and scraped the ash out, we put everything back together, and fired the stove up… YEAAAAHHH!!! HEAT!!!

So… today was a GOOD day. But then I’ve been having lots of good days since I married her 33 1/2 years ago.  😀

And it was also warm enough to work outside, so we got the plastic up on the windows that tend to leak air, and some home-made bean soup with beans we grew last year, and just kind of hung out.

So now… as it gets dark, I prepare to go up to the chicken house, collect the rest of the day’s eggs, check feed and water, and then come back inside, and toast myself. Yep. Any day you can come inside and toast is a good day. Especially if you have a wife who’s smarter than you.  😉


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  1. Steve / Dec 25 2014 21:37


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