Sunday, January 8, 2012

...and into some serious wood

Well, you chop down all those trees, you end up with some wood. As Billy and John were busy bringing trees down, their two assistants were busy chopping them up. They had a hydraulic splitter working almost continuously for a week making big logs into smaller logs, while the Real Doctor and I (and anyone else we could find) frantically stacked the wood. At times, the struggle to keep up with the splitter made me feel sympathy for John Henry (though it could be worse). In the integral, I picked up several trees and moved them a couple of yards.

Here's the rotten sycamore from in back:

Here's the rotten locust from in front:

So, there's nine stacks there, each over six feet tall. From left to right: 1) locust, 2) locust, 3) locust and cedar, 4) cedar and fir, 5) fir, 6) fir, 7) fir and sycamore, 8) maple and sycamore, and 9) maple.

But wait! There's more--this is mostly from the giant fir, which was about 100' tall and 114 years old.
Clearing those trees was good for the house; having all that wood will be good for our energy bills. The old house has had three previous central heating systems: a wood furnace, an oil furnace, and an electric furnace. We know this because when each system was replaced, the old system had been left in the basement. We are going to march in reverse to the future, and augment the electric furnace with a modern fireplace insert:
This thing's a wonder. It's completely unlike the wood stoves I knew from years ago. It draws no air from the room; rather, it has a snorkel that goes up the chimney. It burns the wood more completely by injecting fresh air both at the top and the bottom of the combustion chamber. This is nice because it not only reduces pollution, it also squeezes much more heat energy out of the wood. A built-in fan pumps air around the stove and into the room, so radiant heat is relegated to a minor role. We've used this stove a couple of times, and it can make the entire house toasty.


  1. Hi Dr. Appleman!

    I saw this today and thought you'd enjoy it.


  2. Hey Maria,

    my favorite radio program, in animated form!

    Kind of reminds me of a) the transient and ambiguous nature of life and b) a recitative from P.D.Q. Bach's cantata "Iphigenia in Brooklyn," in which the fish at the fish market are described as "dead, and yet in death, alive."