Saturday, 7 February 2015

Keeping the Home Fires Burning



Keeping the home fire burning, or the log burner in our case, is one of the most important things we do.  It's the heart of the home every evening throughout Winter, and even occasionally on a chilly Summer's night.


Chopping, stacking and fetching wood is an ongoing thing, and seeing the wood store full of logs ready to use is one of the most satisfying things of all.  It nestles between the man shed and the chicken shed, sheltered from the worst of the weather but open to the elements at the front and slightly at the back.  Good airflow is vital to let your wood continue seasoning.


Of course we cheated a bit this Winter, our own chopped wood ran out fairly quickly and although we could have gone and chopped some more, it was damp and not seasoned enough to give us a good heat when burnt ..... so we bought three large builders bags full of chopped, seasoned hard wood to see us through this Winter and to give us chance to get ahead with chopping our own ready for burning next year.


Whether it will last as long as the cold weather I don't know ... but we are hopeful.


One of my first 'house' jobs of the day, after seeing to dogs, chickens and that all important first coffee of the day, is to lay the fire ready for the evening to come.  Sometimes I have to wait until mid morning as if I'm not careful the ashes and embers from the previous evenings fire will still have enough warmth in them to catch light to the bottom layer of paper and fire up my newly laid fire much too soon.

We have perfected the art of this log burner now, each one varies slightly and our last one was much smaller.  It's vitally important that you leave enough ash in the ash tray underneath so that the airflow around the burner is just right.  Emptying it out every day may seem nice and tidy ... and the right thing to do, but right depth to that layer of ash makes the fire burner hotter quicker.  We've found that emptying it approximately every three days is about right for this one.  

We are careful on the day we do take out the tray outside not to disturb the previous nights ash lying above.   We tip the contents either into the compost bin or onto the chickens dust bath under the henhouse, and when we bring the empty tray back in and slide it into position only then do we sweep the previous nights ash down into it, giving us a least a bit of a head start to the level of ash we need for optimum burning.


We seem to be getting it right ...... Rosy definitely approves :-)

Sue xx

22 comments:

  1. A full log store is a thing of beauty and a joy to behold :}

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  2. In my dreams I have a wood burner like that! We had an insert wood burner in our home in France and I loved the evenings sitting by it watching the flames and seeing pictures in the fire even though it made work emptying the ash tray and dusting everything more often than normal!

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  3. IS your picture taken when the burner is first lit or do you burn it that hot all the time?

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    1. No it had just fired up a couple of minutes previously, Rosy had just claimed her spot very quickly :-)

      Once everything is burning nicely and we have put the second or third pair of logs on we close down the vents, both top and bottom to the halfway mark and then once the whole thing has warmed up properly the vents are closed off and bigger logs go on that will burn more slowly and steadily.

      By the end of the evening the water in the kettle is boiling hot and is added to my bath water.

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  4. I have an open fire and I agree about the ash levels, if I get rid of all the ash under the grate the fire doesn't burn as well. Also, one morning, I dumped the ash from underneath the grate straight into a black plastic bag, not realising the ash was still quite hot from the night before and it melted the bag and ended up all over the hearth :-) ooooops lol

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    1. I did that once when we very first had a fire ... you never do it again do you ;-)

      We just carry the ashtray out covered with a piece of newspaper, no more tipping into anything for us. The chickens love it in their dust-bath. To see a chicken shaking out a shower of ash is VERY impressive.

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  5. I didn't know about the ash levels!! I used to empty and clean out the log burner in my old house every day

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    1. Each log burner or fire is different, maybe yours just performed really well completely swept out ... some do. It's trial and error that gives you the most heat.

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  6. On this chilly morning, that sure look lovely!, x

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  7. I don't have a log burner but our gas fire broke so we were without one for a couple of winters whilst I saved up. Even having a new gas fire is comforting, knowing you can be cosy in your home is important!

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  8. I don't miss the dust from our log burner, but I do miss the look and sitting in from of it.

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  9. I adore the pop of colour behind the stove

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Sue, we used to have a fireplace insert in our home in Illinois and so enjoyed the warmth spreading through the room. Getting out the ashes is a challenge, and sometimes there can still be embers that are burning still. It sounds like this system is pretty sophisticated, and you have it down! Enjoy the warmth and have a nice weekend.

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  12. I didn't know about ash level either. i shall be watching carefully now until we get it right. Thanks for the tip.

    Jean
    x

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  13. Our log fire is burning all the time through winter,unless it's a sunny day,and then the sun will heat the house for free.
    The heat log fires give off can't be beat!
    Jane x

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  14. We have a log store attached to our house. and my hubby spends all year filling it with any spare wood ready for the winter.
    Rosezeeta.

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  15. I love the smell of wood burning, it reminds me of my childhood

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  16. We are profound wood-lovers here. Starting in the early spring we cut down the trees, drive them home by atv, saw, chop and stack outside. Come August we stack the wood in the wood shed all ready for winter. The whole process is done by the entire family and one of our most enjoyable activities. Your dog looks so cosy in front of the fire place. Pam

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  17. a roaring home fire always loo so inviting..

    X x

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  18. I'd love to have a wood burner back, I miss the one we used to have.

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  19. I too find it very satisfying to see the wood store full. However, it doesn't stay full for long, so much so we don't bother stacking the wood most of the time. Our house runs on a back boiler and we also have a stove in the front room. We used a lot of logs as they provide the heating and hot water. Good job my step dad has his firewood business on site! We go through a builders bag a week or sometimes less than a week- how crazy is that. The main fire isnt very efficient so we are looking to move to a woodchip boiler and start producing wood chip for the business. Just got to work out how much more cost effective it would be. Lighting fires, keeping them stocked and moving wood around is an endless task!
    Miss Tulip x
    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

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