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Heating With A Woodstove

We bought a woodstove at Menard's on clearance last spring. In October, Kicking Ash installed it for us. Heating with a woodstove is a romantic homesteading ideal and we do enjoy it. But today I thought I'd uncover some of the not-so-fun reality:

pets by woodstove

1. The hearth will be messy. Keeping a fire roaring requires moving and adding logs every few hours and clearing out ashes every couple days. This will necessitate sweeping at least every other day, something that annoys my lazy housekeeping self.

2. The entrance to your home will also be messy. We store a week's worth of kindling in the not-quite-finished mudroom and bring in bigger logs daily. Every movement of wood fuel creates a trail of sawdust, bark, and leaves.

antique kettle humidifierdrawing by woodstove

3. The air will be dry dry dry. After getting by with an open stainless dish of water for a little while, I found a large vintage cast aluminum tea kettle that we now keep filled with water to humidify the air.

4. Your daughter might see wood ash and a slate hearth as an art medium. Her kitten might erase all the images with a swish of his tail. Now the kitten will be, you guessed it, messy.

messy wood storage mudroom (2)cats cuddled by woodstove

5. Your pets will gather as close as possible to the radiating warmth. This is charming and you will feel sorry that you have to disturb them to add another log to the fire.

6. You will underestimate the amount of wood you need for a given day or week or season and be out at the woodpile chopping in all weather. Splitting logs is good, empowering exercise. It's also a never-ending exhaustive task.

splitting lumber

7. You will feel deep satisfaction from harvesting renewable fuel and using it to fill your home with beautiful warmth.