A couple of things happened today, the first, finally got the trailer load of dirt put in the green house. I’m sure you can tell by the pictures of the trailer that the weather looks rainy, when I decided to get the soil it wasn’t supposed to start raining until 6:00 pm but it started at 12:00 pm so I had to stop unloading, that’s just how it is some times.
Secondly, some more wood was split. This is the big idea for the day, I know everyone’s situation is different and I wouldn’t spend much money on having a fire place/wood burning stove installed into a house that didn’t have one but I do believe anyone that wants any self sufficiency should have one of the two. From my understanding some areas restrict fire places quite a bit because of air pollution and I understand that, years ago London was a mess from all the burning and even when I was there in the late 90’s your clothes got dirty pretty fast just walking in the city. My point here is that it is a good idea to have a fire place or wood burning stove if possible. As always there are a few exceptions, I have friends that live in Tanzania, they don’t have any heating or cooling in the house and do not need it, they don’t even have glass on some of their windows, the front of the house is basically a screened in porch, it never gets too hot and it’s never too cold. There is the rest of us however.
Self sufficiency comes in many layers much like an onion. I’m not going to get into all of that for now other than requesting that you think about what you need. We have many things in our lives that we don’t have to have, the difference, needs and wants. If you are homesteading you probably want some level of self sufficiency. I often look at it a little different than most people, I look at life not as self sufficiency but as dependency, what am I dependent on others for?
Two of my neighbors strike me as strange, one of them grew up very poor, plowed behind horses, took baths in a tub where everyone used the same water, the dirtiest was last, and they had one little stove for heat. When he build his house here I believe he wanted to get away from his past and no wood burning system was put in. Another neighbor likewise grew up with a wood burning stove and hated the dust, when he built his house it didn’t have any means to burn wood either. The problem with both houses is that even though they have gas heat both require electricity, if there is an ice storm that knocks out the power they have no heat.
There is another reason to have a fire place/wood burning stove, and that is for cooking. When I built my house I had no power, for three months of winter I lived in a partially completed house, the first thing put in was the wood burning stove. I sat around it, I cooked on it and I watched it for entertainment. I know for a fact that I can make it through the winter in the house with no electricity because I have done it. Water is another issue but one thing at a time.
Wood burning stoves are better, they are much more efficient, fireplaces can actually make the rest of the house colder but I would still rather have one than not. When it comes to cooking, if you have a camping stove you could always use that in the fireplace if there wasn’t a fire going to meet the ventilation needs of the stove, even if it was summer.
Just because you have a fire place/wood burning stove, doesn’t mean you have to use it, but you do have it if you want it! My little stove has been going for almost a month now, the house is warmer and dryer, my wife is happy, our electric bill is low, and if the power went off right now it would still be 75 degrees in the house even though it’s below freezing outside. All of that feels good! I am not dependent on the grid for heat, cooking or hot water.
My wife’s sister’s family lives in an apartment, it actually has a fireplace. They don’t have much space to store wood but even with that they are better off than many people if they lost power and had some wood, clothes could be dried, food could be cooked, and the children could be entertained, all of which can happen off the grid! If you have the opportunity strongly consider having a source of heat that does not require electricity or gas, just because we use them most of the time doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to walk away from dependency when it is needed.