Prepper Diary November 8: The Joy of Wood Heat

As the weather turns cooler, Pete fires up his wood stoves to take the mountain chill out of the evening air.

Nothing heats like wood!

I have been enjoying the fall weather at our prepper property.  After a wet, rainy summer, it has been a clear and sunny autumn, except when we get the tail end of a gulf coast hurricane dumping a few inches on us.

Lately, it’s been reaching into the 60s during the day and dropping to the high 30s or low 40s at night.  I’ve been trying to do avoid using the heat or the wood stove, but when it gets to 60 in the house I fire it up and a few hours in the evening and it reaches a glorious 70 degrees or more, even if the bedroom remains much colder.  I continue to be grateful for the down comforter.

I’ve compared carrying firewood into the house and down the stairs versus piling it in the wheelbarrow and wheeling it around the house and then carrying it in through the basement door.  One wheelbarrow load holds about 25 pieces of firewood, which is equivalent to about five manual trips.  My plan going forward it to replenish the indoor stock of firewood via the wheelbarrow method whenever the weather allows.  It seems less effort and my wife appreciates the lesser amount of dirt.

The Joy of Wood Heat

I have always been a fan of wood heat.  As I write this, the logs are popping, the stove is clicking as it heats up, and the air being sucked into the firebox makes a happy wooshing sound.  The thermometer on the stovepipe is showing about 350 degrees, well into the green setting, meaning no creosote is building up.  This is about perfect for a cool fall evening.  The room temperature has already risen two degrees.

Wood stove pipe thermometer
Designed to be placed on the stove pipe, these thermometers help you optimize the burn rate for your wood stove.

Radiant heat is just so much better than forced air.  Its more comfortable and last longer.  We had an old oil boiler in our basement and radiators throughout the house growing up.  For the life of me, I can’t imagine why society moved away from this and to forced air heat. I assume it was driven by the installation of air conditioning and builders who wanted to lower their costs.

No More Leaves

The fall foliage, which was nice this year but not awesome, is long gone.  Interestingly, its absence reveals a great deal of information we did not have before.  We are able to see details on the mountain across from us that were not visible with the trees leafed out.  This includes rocky outcroppings and a tumbledown structure or two, likely cabins abandoned long ago.  This may lead to an excursion once hunting season is behind us.

Improvements Continue

I have been getting my workshop unpacked a bit at a time.  The open-ended wrenches, hammers, files and one set of screw drivers have staked their claim to a section of peg board.  The hand saws are unpacked and ready to join them, but the section of pegboard I have selected for them is unreachable – too many unpacked boxes stacked in the way. The saws will have to wait their turn.

I just replaced a lighting fixture on the ceiling of the master bedroom. This was yet another one of those projects that should have been easy but fought me.  The existing fixture simply did not want to come down.  One of the small, round pieces that act like a nut but are impossible to use a tool on refused to let go of the threaded piece that held it and the rest of the lamp to the ceiling.  I resorted to using vice grips, one quarter of a turn at a time (the rest of the lamp interfered and would not let me turn it further than that.)  Finally, I resorted to using a hack saw and cut the dang bolt. Luckily, it was mild steel and didn’t take too long to hack through.

The new lighting fixture selected by my wife and sporting a much nicer shade, is now in place and working fine.  It is actually much brighter than the original fixture, and we find ourselves needing brighter lighting as we get older.  I just hope she never wants me to remove it…

Our Grab and Go Boxes

I have had a box labeled “Grab and Go Food” for some time.  It was later joined by a second one.  These were intended to be used when bugging out – just grab them, throw them in the back of the car or truck, and off you go.

While unpacking the survival stores, I opened these boxes and was impressed with what I had put in them.  For example, box one contained the following:

  • A box of 55 packets of flavored Quaker oatmeal
  • 12 MRE entrees with a variety of meal choices, plus 12 MRE heaters
  • 1 can of Chili
  • 1 can of beef stew
  • 2 cans of corned beef hash with a P-38 can opener taped to one of the cans
  • Approximately two pounds of white rice stored in a plastic canister.
  • A pack of Datex lifeboat rations
  • A metal canteen cup
  • Two small military surplus stoves and a supply of fuel tablets
  • A big lighter.  I tested it and it still gives a flame.

The second box had a complete mess kit and silverware and was mostly MRE entrees, desserts and side dishes, plus some power bars, a box of matches, a tiny water filter, and an inexpensive folding knife.

I moved the canned goods to our kitchen pantry so we will eat them and replaced them with fresher cans.  I don’t expect to have to bug out, but I like the concept of keeping a couple boxes ready to grab and go.

Even when you live at your ideal prepping location, you always need to be prepared.

If you enjoyed today’s diary entry, leave us a comment below and let us know. You may also enjoy reading Prepper Diary November 1: Bugging Out and on Being Charitable.

Author: The Pickled Prepper

The Pickled Prepper has been preparing for the end of the world for about 25 years and figures he’ll keep going until either it catches up with him, or he catches up with it.