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How to conserve your wood supplies and stay warm and healthy.

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Lumber-Jack, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    We have been burning less wood in the house than we normally do these last couple years, especially this winter, so I thought I'd share the reason why.
    A couple years ago I was told my cholesterol levels were in the danger zone, and since I have a history of atherosclerosis in my family, my doctor wanted to put me on a statin medication. I didn't like the idea of being on any medication so I researched for alternatives. Seems the only real alternative is proper diet and exercise. Ok, so I changed my diet and started finding ways to get exercise. Yes chopping wood is good exercise, but I only burn 3-5 cords a year and live on a smaller lot, so I needed something else. Started doing a lot of hiking and running. All great and I love being outdoors, but they have their problems. eg: I found running was hard on my back, especially running down hill, and inclement weather like rain and snow made outside exercise much harder. Anyway, long story short, we bought an elliptical exerciser, stuck it in front of a HD TV and bought a whole bunch of HD nature shows to watch while we (my wife got into it by this time too) were exercising.
    So what does this have to do with saving wood?
    Well, the only room in our house big enough to stick the elliptical machine was the stove room and if you've ever done a 30 minute cardio workout, you'd know that you get pretty warm, and trying to do it in a room with a wood stove pumping out heat is pretty uncomfortable. So we try to plan out exercise sessions at times when the wood stove is not running and has had a chance to cool down. In fact we prefer it when the room is quite cool. So consequently, we tend to let the stove go out, and burn a lot less wood, then we normally would if we didn't have the exerciser in there.
    As a side benefit, we have noticed that as we have gotten into better shape (I lost 40 lbs) our metabolism seem to burn energy at a higher rate and we have come to prefer keeping the house at a cooler temperature, thus saving even more wood.
    [​IMG]
    Gasifier, ScotO, jharkin and 4 others like this.

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  2. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

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    Good job loosing the 40lbs.
    It's funny how I can wake up in the morning to a 70 degree house and feel cold, then go for a nice long run. When I get back that 70 degree house is way too warm.
    Metabolism is an interesting thing.
    Keep up the good workouts, make it a part of your life and it will repay you later.
    ScotO and gyrfalcon like this.
  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    WTG LJ!
    ScotO likes this.
  4. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    I'd say way to go on your commitment to lose weight.
  5. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the encouragement.
    However, I brought it up in the woodshed thread because of the side benefit that I wasn't expecting, and thought was kind of interesting, was the reduction in firewood consumption. Since a lot of people have trouble making their wood supplies last through the winter, or keeping their homes warm enough for their comfort level, and since we inadvertently found away compensate for both, I thought I would share it with members.
    Ways to save firewood and reduce consumption seemed appropriate in the woodshed, but I could be wrong.

    Guess I forgot to include pictures of my woodshed???
    ScotO likes this.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    That's I st awesome LJ... I need to do that. Going to be my new years resolution.
    ScotO likes this.
  7. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Congratulations on all this. Based on my own experience -- which does not include exercising in the stove room! -- I think just the jacked up metabolism from regular strenuous exercise makes one warmer even when not exercising. At least I've found it to be so.

    Another thing that helps reduce wood consumption is not lounging around the stove room in your underwear, as some of the guys here brag they like to do.... It's amazing the way an extra sweater makes even the hands and feet warmer.
    Blue Vomit likes this.
  8. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    So how much wood are you saving?
  9. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Good question.
    My best guess would be we have come close to cutting our wood consumption nearly in half. We've been using the wood stove since October now and only used just over a cord. Probably if we had been burning 24/7 we would have used close to two cords by now.
    Last year was hard to gauge because I also have a wood stove in my shop and used it quite a bit, without keeping the wood usage separate from the house wood. For sure I know we had more wood left last year then we had previous years. This year I'm keeping the shop wood separate from the wood we use in the house, so by the end of the year I'll have a much more accurate idea of how much I used in the house. But as long as we're not burning 24/7, and we are keeping the house temperature lower, we can't help but use less wood.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    How are the cholesterol levels?
  11. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    When I had dropped 30 lbs I got my cholesterol levels rechecked again and my HDL was up, and my LDL had dropped quite a bit and I was well within the normal zone. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I have it saved on some paperwork somewhere. I continued to lose another 10 pounds before I went off the strict diet I was on.
    I have since regained about half of that, but the weight has been put on with much healthier foods, and I've continued to exercise regularly and definitely in way better shape than when I started, so a lot of weight is muscle. Still, I am overdue to go and get my cholesterol levels rechecked again.
    When I started my weight was 200 lbs, and I dropped down to 155 at my lowest.
    gyrfalcon and raybonz like this.
  12. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

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    Congrats on achieving your weight loss goal and lower your cholesterol. What type of strict diet were you following and how long did it take?
  13. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Actually I had no real weight lose goal, my main focus was just to eliminate all inflammatory foods like sugar, red meat, dairy products, wheat, etc... and eat more anti-inflammatory foods like fruits and veggies, salmon and sardines, lots of nuts like walnuts and almonds, and lots and lots of fiber. In fact fiber seems to be the biggest key to lowering cholesterol, almost all anti-inflammatory foods are high in fiber.
    My eating regimen basically went like this;
    I would only eat one sit down meal a day, and that was at supper time. In the morning I would have a glass of water with psyllium husks and 1000 mg of niacin, and 1000 mg of vitamin C. I still do this. Psyllium husks are high in fiber and swell up in your stomach making you feel full. High doses of Niacin has been proven to reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammitory. Rather than eating meals during the day I would just snack on almonds and walnuts, and fruit and drink lots and lots of water. For supper I would have the psyllium, niacin, vitamin C again and eat a big meal with leafy green vegetables, salmon or sardines and hardy salad. I never went to bed hungry.
    I did that for about 6 months and then slowly started eating other things. Still avoid most foods who's main ingredients are sugar and dairy, and seldom eat red meat, but I have had a BBQ steaks once in a while. Wheat is a tough one, almost all comfort foods contain wheat and flour products, it's probably my biggest stumbling block.
  14. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Great story LJ. Good on you for bettering your health and lowering your firewood consumption. I used to race mountain bikes (and briefly road bikes) semi-competitively, as well as lift weights religiously, for many years. Since starting this huge renovation/addition project around 7 years ago, I kinda slacked off my exercising (I still work like an idiot, so I do get some exercise). Anyway, I will be hitting the weights hard as soon as the living room is completed. Hoping for that to be around the first of Feb. I have a medium sized tree job to do for a buddy at work and he has an entire home gym (free weights with an olympic weight multi station, and it's a big one) as a trade for all the trees (5 total) I'll be cutting down for him. The trees are two maples, two ash, and one pine. Those weights and that olympic station are worth well over 3 to 4 grand, I didn't want to do the deal but he insisted. So I'll be getting several cord of good firewood AND a home gym out of the deal.....

    Win win......;)
    Lumber-Jack, Seasoned Oak and raybonz like this.
  15. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like one sweet deal Scotty, I hit the weights once in a while ,at 56 i cant do the heavy stuff anymore but the lighter stuff is great exercise.
    I do as many as several sets of 40 reps since i dont get much cardio.I feel great for days after one of these workouts.
    Regards
    raybonz and ScotO like this.
  16. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Gonna be 56 on wednesday.. Man time flies once you hit 40!
    Seasoned Oak and gyrfalcon like this.
  17. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Thanks for the encouragement, Ray! I'll be 40 in March......

    Happy Birthday (early), Ray!
    raybonz likes this.
  18. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Thanx Scott it would happier if it didn't happen lol
    Pallet Pete and ScotO like this.
  19. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I feel so young....


    Gotta get in shape here. I really let myself go lately. Anyone for a new years workout resolution motivation thread? BBar can shame us all with his 1% bodyfat or whatever it was...........
    ScotO likes this.
  20. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I'm in shape JH as round is a perfectly good shape ;)
    jharkin and ScotO like this.
  21. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Get a maul or a good splitting axe and split your wood by hand. That's a good few hours of exercise every week, and it's great for stress release, too.
    raybonz likes this.
  22. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    That part about the renovation is kind of funny, because we bought a house 5 years ago and did some major renovation work, and it was during that reno I gained an extra 15 lbs, even though I was still working as well. That was what kind of what prompted me to get my cholesterol checked in the first place and led to this whole diet/exercise thing. My regular work is very physical, but I'd be doomed without doing extra cardio stuff and taking care of my diet.
    Before getting our elliptical trainer my biggest cardio workout was riding my bike up a mountain hill beside our place. I started walking up the hill, then running, and that helped a lot, but the coming down part was killing my back. Then I started riding my bike up there, and boy did that make a difference. Coasting down on the bike was way easier on my back than pounding down the hill on foot. Not to mention it was a lot more fun==c. I would much prefer to ride up there every day, but snow much of the year puts a damper on that, plus it takes a lot more time to prepare for, even when the weather is half decent riding down I could get chilled to the bone when I was all sweaty, so I had to bring a change of cloths for the trip down.
    That tree work trade sounds like a pretty good deal, especially if you can get some firewood out of it.
    I haven't got into weight training much, I try to focus on stretching and Pilates type exercises, because I have a back problem and these kinds of exercises really help keep me mobile and relatively pain free. Plus I've noticed that all old guys that are active and live into there 80s and 90s always seem to be lean thin guys, not bulked up Arnold Schwarzenegger types. Not that a certain amounts and types of weight training isn't good, obviously it is. If I had some gym gear I'd certainly be using it, in fact I use to go to a gym, but it just was too far away to be convenient, not to mention the expense. But, for me it's all I can do to faithfully take care of my Pilates regularly.
    I think I'm doing OK though. My sons are in pretty good shape, and they have a hard time keeping up to me riding our bikes up the hill. They are 15 and 17, and I'm 53. ;)
    ScotO and raybonz like this.
  23. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    ? If it didn't happen you'd be eaten worm terds and pushin up daisies. Don't want that Ray. Don't sweat a birthday. Just another day wiser my friend.
    raybonz likes this.
  24. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Some guys buy a Ferrari at my age ,i go out and buy a bunch of wood stoves,guess im sensing some long cold winters,or goin bonkers.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations on a great turnaround. I have found that diet works for me too, it's basically low carb and dairy. I can shed about 10 pounds in a few weeks just by cutting them out. However, I can't do the niacin and high does of vitamin C make my stomach acidic. With the niacin I turn beet red and feel like I have the worlds worse case of the hives, even at half that dose. Had to stop because it was freaking out my coworkers and had no effect on my cholesterol levels. I have genetically high cholesterol on both sides of family. Diet, exercise, niacin, etc. had no effect on my levels. Statins have helped me get them back to normal. That was until my last blood test in which my levels plummeted. Triglyceride level went down too. They were better than my wife's low levels! (HDL 41, LDL 87) There was only one change for that test... I had stopped drinking coffee. A bit of research for why that would have an effect turned up an interesting bit on cholesterol science. We drink unfiltered coffee from a Bodum press pot. It turns out that unfiltered coffee is very high in terpenes. And terpenes convert into cholesterol when metabolized. I am due for my annual blood test next month. I switched to mostly tea drinking since then. If the levels stay low I will be dropping statin dosage to a lower level and retested.

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