It’s natural, I think, to follow yesterday’s “Come & take it” post with commentary on another area into which government intrudes. Arkansas isn’t without its own state regulations, but mostly I’m talkin’ ’bout the feds and their habit of following what more repressive states do.
Today’s subject is wood stoves.
It’s been over a year since I wrote about wood-fired heat — my personal experience in years past, what Deb’s cousin does on The Mountain now and, coyly back then, plans Deb and I have for our future home. I also alluded to a tangle of federal rules.
A number of states heavily regulate wood stoves, several to the point of a de facto ban — among them Oregon, Washington, Colorado, the People’s Republic of California and Alaska. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that virtually all of those are politically blue, ideologically progressive, “woke” states. On this and other issues they tend to set the tempo for The Permanent State in DC, so it’s unwise for us to blissfully dismiss what’s happening beyond the Arkansas border in The Land of Fruits’n’Nuts.
The HVAC scheme we envision for our humble house on The Mountain will employ an electric “mini-split” unit with three zones for summer cooling and cool-weather heating. Like our motorhome’s rooftop heat pumps, when temps fall past the mid-40s the mini-split must be supplemented with another source of heat. We’ve decided to go with a centrally located wood stove, along with through-the-wall electric fans to share its radiant heat with the outer rooms.
Wood, then, will be our primary source of heat. We prefer it generally for a variety of reasons. It has the benefit of being completely independent of the power grid, both for heating and cooking.
The Mountain, other than what we’ve cleared for our homesite, is entirely wooded. We could feed our stove and heat our home for many lifetimes without ever leaving the property. That said — acknowledging that I’m no longer the axe-swingin’, maul-slingin’ stud I was 40 years ago — we expect to buy almost all of our firewood. We’ll have the supplier dump it near our woodpile, and I’ll take care of the stacking.
Deb’s cousin and I were talking about that, in fact, not long ago. We agreed that the ritual of stacking cordwood is as therapeutic as it is necessary, a sort of three-dimensional Tetris for Country folk. Besides, it disguises toe-touches, crunches and forearm curls as a practical chore.
Still, everyday life on The Mountain will produce lots of wood that we can (and should, and will) process. I believe we’ll set aside most of the cedar we harvest for outdoor burning in our fire pits. Oak, hickory and such will go onto the pile destined for the wood stove.
We have the tools, for sure — chain saws, hand saws, axes and hatchets. The Ranger gives us the ability to drag or winch a limbed tree to where it can be bucked, and we’ll use it (along with our newly acquired cart) to haul the result back to the house. We’ll certainly accept Deb’s cousin’s kind offer to use his hydraulic splitter when we need it. I’ve already picked out a spot, tentatively, for our woodshed and processing area, snatching a couple of good-sized hardwood rounds from excavation debris to use as splitting blocks.
As for the wood stove itself, we still need to find one. We wouldn’t hesitate to buy a used example, provided it’s in good shape. (We looked at one recently and walked away.) We’re not in search of a unit that complies with 1988, 2015 or 2020 federal regs, either — in other words, we don’t give a shit — though we’d accept a bureaucrat-strangled stove that offers us greater efficiency.
Though we’re frustrated that we likely won’t be in the house ’til spring, that delay could play into our hand for finding a stove. We won’t need the heat ’til late next fall, so between now and then a renovation (near or far) could produce something that’s right for us.
In any case, we have a truck to haul it and (if we find a stove before the house is ready) a place to store it — right next to our soon-to-be-contraband cooking appliance. We’d still have plenty of room for a stockpile of illegal incandescent light bulbs.
I don’t doubt that the federal EPA is coming after wood stoves, next time in a big way. It’s a sure thing, in my opinion, given the current regime’s plain hatred of traditional Americans and American traditions, along with its agenda to bankrupt Country folks. In the region around The Mountain, for example, the poverty rate is as high as 25% (versus 12% nationwide), and up to 20% of those counties’ residents heat with wood (compared to about 5% across Arkansas and less than 2% nationally).
That kind of target is irresistible to The Ruling Elite. We’ll be ready.
And the feds can go straight to hell.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.