I love my new wood stove. It puts out so much heat that it is sometimes too much and I retreat to the kitchen, where it is a good 5 to 8 degrees cooler.
The heat is wonderful on cold nights like the one we just had. It dipped well into the teens and I was up every few hours adding wood to keep the house warm and to keep the fire from dying out.
If that happens, ladies and gentlemen, I am up a creek.
I can not start a good fire to save my life. Literally.
If I were in the wild and it was cold, I would most likely freeze.
I have never had a problem with this before. The whole time I was growing up in my parents home I lit tons of woos stove fires. I was even doing ok here, although out of practice. However, this past week or so I have not been able to start a fire and keep it going. I have not changed how I go about it, it just does not want to work for me.
Of course, the house will get cold and the furnace will kick on and I will be using the heating oil, feeling like a big guilty failure every time one of the radiators lets loose with a steamy hiss.
Roy will come to the rescue with his superior fire building skills and we will have a roaring fire in short order. But i have noticed that even he has been getting frustrated with the poor quality of the burning lately.
He decided that it must be the wood. We ordered late in the season and he thinks the wood we got had not dried out all the way, so it was having trouble lighting. We had just finished up our own supply of wood saved from tree trimming projects around the property that had been left to sit for 1, 2 and 3 years. That was good firewood.
Also, I think that our bottom barn is not a good place to store the wood. Since we have a a wet beginning of winter with more rain than snow, the ground has not frozen up as it should. Dampness is creaping into the barn bottom and the wood is suffering for it.
But this is what we have to work with, so I am looking for suggestions.
We try to bring as much wood into the house as possible to give it a chance to dry out before burning it, but that does not seem to be helping. We have tried fire starting gels and using the dries kindling we can find, which does help, but I hate using the gel, or any chemicals to get the fire going.
Does anyone have any suggestions?