It is said that firewood warms the user several times over as you cut it, split it, stack it, and finally burn it. It is certainly true that feeding Garden Monster warms me several times over. One of those occasions is when a truckload of wood is delivered. The mountain of wood needs to be moved to the shelter of the covered hoophouse, close to the wood burner.
I move the pile one wheelbarrow load at a time. It is a rather monotonous undertaking.
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There is a monster living in the garden. A fire-breathing, smoke-belching monster. I’m in charge of feeding him.
Here he is:
This monster eats wood, and lots of it. He requires feeding first thing in the morning, last thing at night and once or twice over the course of the day, depending on how cold it is. He is the central feature of the complex heating system that came with Willow House, an outdoor wood burner. Outdoor wood burners enjoy modest popularity in rural areas, owing in part to the availability of relatively cheap firewood, and in some cases, woodlots. Theoretically, we could cut our own firewood and heat the house cheaply with the 40 acres of forest on the property. The system has one very appealing feature. It allows you to use wood heat without the disadvantages and safety hazard of having an open flame inside the house. The wood burner heats water, which enters the house via underground water lines that terminate in a complex tangle of hoses.
The water heats air, and the hot air heats the house via a forced air furnace.
The system is a decade old or more, and not as efficient as newer units. There is also a bit of a leak in the line which requires topping up the level in the water pipes from time to time. When the water lines are refilled, the excess water begins to spill out onto the roof of the wood burner through a safety valve, which makes a wonderful sputtering, hissing cloud of steam. It’s a labour-intensive system, demanding regular attention, but it does keep the house at a reasonably comfortable temperature round the clock.
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