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Spouses / Significant Others & Wood Burning

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by ValentineHill, Nov 17, 2011.

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  1. ValentineHill

    ValentineHill New Member

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    Loc:
    Seacoast, New Hampshire
    Hello all,

    My wife and I have been married for the last 9 months, but, because she's not an American citizen, she's spent that whole time back in the UK, waiting for her Green Card. Meanwhile, I've held down the fort over here in the US, buying a house and (most importantly) getting really into wood stoves and wood burning (which, I have to say, is the greatest way to take your mind off of whatever -- work, long distance spouses, whatever). However, her interview is tomorrow and her long overdue flight to move in here permanently will hopefully be sometime next week.

    In the last two or three weeks we've been working to get everything ready for the interview, pulling together police records, tax returns, Skype records, etc, and so it was only this morning, when I was kindling a fire, that I realized: I have no idea how I'm going to share stove responsibilities with my wife. For those of you out their with spouses or live-in significant others, how do you handle the 'issue' of the stove? Is one of you responsible for it, or do you share the tasks? Did you find that they took to it quickly, or is it still something that the other person has no interest in? And, most importantly, how on earth am I supposed to sift and summarize the mountains of info on wood burning that I've learned from reading Hearth.com this year? ;-)

    So -- what's married life with a 24/7 wood stove like? Any tips, tricks, or suggestions?

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  2. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Be really, REALLY careful. Someone could end up pregnant in these situations ;-)

    At my house we share responsibilities equally . . . I make the heat, she uses the heat. Works for me.
  3. spirilis

    spirilis Minister of Fire

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    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    535
    Loc:
    New Market, MD
    My wife loves the heat, but she won't touch the stove, firewood, or anything remotely related to it. So her gratification by a hot blast of air coming up the basement stairwell is considered a treat from me, for which she expresses her gratefulness (and brags about it to our ~4.5mo old daughter :D)
  4. ValentineHill

    ValentineHill New Member

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    I actually laughed out loud here -- no generic "lol"!!
  5. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Hamilton, IL
    I do it all. Sometimes I call to have her check on it, once I left for a conference and gave her like three pages of handwritten instructions on how to use it.

    Here's the thing that gets me, though, She will say things like, "so what if I spent 3 hours getting my hair done, you spent three hours out in the timber last week, so we are even"

    Uhhhhh. Soooo, me doing all that work was only benefiting me? Not a fair statement IMHO. She really sees all my hard work cutting stacking and splitting (and forum usage) as a means of pure entertainment. I wish she'd find a house cleaning forum so I could complain about all the time she spends cleaning the bathroom tile with an old toothbrush. Geesh. [/rant]
  6. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    ...but she is good looking, so none of that matters.
  7. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    You're overthinkin' this one. Some spouses love it, some don't. You'll know soon enough. It sounds like you've been up to your nose in paperwork and checklists and documentation, and you're thinking about this the same way: Wife loves wood heat: check. Wife can load the stove for an overnight burn: check. Wife can start the chainsaw by herself . . . :gulp: Just let it breathe, like a bottle of wine.

    I share stove responsibilities with my teenage son. He is growing in knowledge and awareness ("The stove got really warm last night--it was up to about 600"), and will sometimes notice that the woodrack is getting low and spontaneously fill it. He asked why we bought wood, and how that was different from buying oil. When I explained the economics of that, I got a fistbump and a WTG. He started to take an interest in the burning characteristics of different woods the week that he had to hold down the fort. It got cold, and he got interested. I'm still the one with the eye on the big picture, as is fitting, since I'm the parent. I know what we have for wood, and where, and how long its been there. I know how long things should last, and keep an eye on degree days and how quickly the wood supply is dropping. Gradually, he's starting to learn about this. I'm basically appreciative for any interest that he shows, and I think it will increase the longer he lives with it and the more he learns about it.

    Bottom line is that both he and his sister (away for college right now) will know enough to heat with wood if they choose when they are adults. Whether or not they do is up to them, but if they both do, they'll have to arm wrestle for the Husky. Heck, my daughter might end up bringing home some city boy who thinks that heat comes from a thermostat, and she'll be on here posting the same questions herself at that point.

    If your wife is a thrifty soul, she'll join the legion of burners who grin when they see an oil truck going past. Cha-ching! That will help sell her. Most women are wired to love wood heat. I think that keeping the female sacrum toasty has been a driving force of civilization. She wants to make you happy, and she'll see that this is an interest of yours, so it will be natural for her to want to learn more about it. She might not want to run the saw, but she'll probably enjoy spending autumn days in the woods helping throw rounds in the truck; she may prefer to stack while you split, but any help is a help.

    It's just common sense: encouragement and appreciation and patience go a long way to helping someone love what you love. Mock her for not keeping up with you and you'll find yourself with plenty of time to think that through as you build your lonely stacks all by yourself.

    Love it or hate it, the important thing here is that she'll be here. Heck, she may turn out to be allergic to woodsmoke, and you'll have to figure something out from there. What matters is that the love of your life will be here sometime next week. We'll keep our crossables crossed for you and wish you the best with your interview.
  8. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    10,825
    It took my wife about a week, she burns by stack temp and stovetop temp. She just wrote down what not to exceed on the stack temp and the stovetop temp. She also makes sure she burns down the coals enough (not to far) so we can still reload on top of some nice coals. I do think that she had plenty of this down from burning at camp.

    She is very comfortable flaming up whatever we bring in, she also likes the beech firewood the best.

    zap
  9. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Bend, OR
    My wife very quickly learned to operate our Lopi Liberty at least as well as I do, and she actually enjoyed stacking split firewood. The neatness and fit of her stacked wood put mine to shame. Since she died a year ago, I've had a really tough time getting enthusiastically ready for the burning season which is now upon me. Anyway, I think that like pretty much anything else, it's a personal preference/interest thing. Lots of men I know haven't the slightest interest in burning wood, while I've known a few women who love it. There really are no "tips, tricks, or suggestions" that I know of. She'll either get interested & involved or she won't. Up to her. I can't imagine being in your situation and sweating a detail like this...but that's just me. I wish you the very best with the remainder of the process of getting her over here and then settling into your new life together. Rick
  10. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Random thoughts . . .

    Shared responsibilities . . . I pretty much handle all the processing (with her helping occasionally), but she keeps the home fires burning when she's off and I'm at work . . . or when I leave for work and she comes home (we work opposite schedules) . . . which means the house is pretty much heated nicely 24/7. When I am around she pretty much lets me run the stove and seems perfectly happy to let me load it and play with it.

    I think if she had her choice she would go with oil . . . but she is just as cheap, if not more cheap, than me . . . and so she puts up with the mess which honestly is probably the thing she likes the least and the one thing I try to keep up on . . . but sometimes forget . . . or am just a little too lazy to stay on top of.

    As for learning . . . burning wood isn't exactly rocket science . . . just tell her the basics or if she is forgetful write them down . . . I mean if a dumb firefighter who is used to putting out fires can keep a fire burning anyone can learn . . . even if they're new to wood-burning.
  11. babzog

    babzog Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario, Canada
    Mine loves the stove downstairs (loves that blast of heat) and is very enthusiastic about the new fireplace coming in Dec (main floor of the bungalow with ducting to rooms at the end of the house opposite the furnace). I do the majority of wood processing and hauling in and all kindling work (same, except it's all cedar from my woodlot), though she has helped stack on occasion and does haul in a bit every now and again. I don't mind - gets me out of the house and active. While I do the majority of operating the stove, plus cleaning and maintenance of the stove and hearth area, if I'm not up in the morning or am busy in the evening, she will clean out ashes, light a new fire (gotten really good at setting a fire) and reload when required. She's become quite adept at running the stove.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Holliston, MA USA
    My wife loves how warm the house is when the stove is burning but as for running the stove that's "the mans job". She doesn't want to be bothered with "figuring out what all those levers do"

    She will light a fire in the fireplace on her own however....
  13. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    And her visits to the spa only benefit her??? :)

    Nice recovery :coolsmirk:
  14. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    When mommy's happy, everybody is happy!
  15. GAMMA RAY

    GAMMA RAY Minister of Fire

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    When we had the 12 and the 13, we shared the responsibility of loading. Now that we have the 30, the loading times are so infrequent that I have taken over. The 30 is my baby and I do not "share" well... >:-(
    Mr. Gamma has not started one fire in the 30.

    I went from not knowing what the hell to do with a wood stove a year ago to being the main operator this year. Yeah, it was a bumpy ride but thanks to Hearth.com I have learned a lot.

    I recently got involved with splitting and stacking the wood. I also bring the majority of the wood indoors. My neck and back are shot from my car accident so I have to be very careful.

    You will figure it out Valentine....glad your wife is coming home...she may or may not like woodburning but you will make it work somehow. If someone told me a couple years ago that I would be a woodburner, I would have laughed in their face... :lol:
  16. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I'm gone overnight twice a week for work, and the furnace doesn't work. I'm thinkin' she doesn't have a choice.
  17. dswitham

    dswitham Member

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    Accept I don't have the same stove, that sounds like me. If we don't buy our wood, my husband does the cutting and splitting. The kids and I stack the wood and bring it into the house.

    He is especially not allowed to touch my boiler as every time he does he messes it up. I was the one who pushed for heating with wood as I didn't want to pay for oil or propane to heat the house. When we were first married I hated burning wood, he was the one that insisted on it. That was well before finding this site and learning about dry wood. :coolgrin: He would cut blow downs up and bring them in expecting me to burn them. At the time we lived in a little cabin and the wood was so wet it wouldn't burn and we froze the first winter. If you left water in the kitchen sink it would freeze by morning. The next winter I insisted on some other type of heat.

    After I learned about the difference burning dry wood could make for heating I changed my tune completely.

    I think it is different with every woman as I have some friends who tend the stoves right along side their husband and others who have no clue what to do with a stove. Just don't rush it and see what happens. See if she is even willing to deal with the stove, is it worth a fight if she doesn't want to touch it, probably not.
  18. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Loc:
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    Moved the girlfriend in and too my surprise she loves keeping the thing going. As long as I keep the stacks full she will fill it all day long...

    Now, on the other hand, I made the mistake of telling one of my friends that splitting wood is a great excuse to go cut firewood when she is ragging I mean nagging and she overhead me. She hasn't let me forget it. But it is true. Whenever she is miserable, I mean not happy, I go split wood. It's hard to hear her yelling over the chainsaw.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Let us hope everything works out well and your wife becomes a US citizen and a happy wife too.

    We've heated with wood so long that many times I really have to think to answer questions like you pose. However, although my wife was not too involved with wood heat in her youth, I was so at least we weren't going blind when we went back to heating with wood (hated that oil heat). btw, when we were married and had fuel oil at first, the cost of said heating oil was $.12 per gallon!

    Going back to wood heat was and still is a blessing because we like to stay warm in the winter rather than have to bundle up in order to be somewhat comfortable. Also because of a physical problem, we have to keep it warm. So, how does said wife fit in to this wood burning?

    First and foremost, she will not run a chain saw even though at one time she almost begged me to buy a small enough saw that she would at least help with the limbing. Plain and simple, she is not strong enough for me to feel comfortable with her running a saw. She does enjoy helping and we enjoy working together (wife is my best friend too). So I cut and when limbing, she stacks the limbs so we can cut those using a sawhorse. She also loads the firewood into the trailer except for the big stuff. So now we have the cutting taken care of. What about stacking the wood?

    No way! She tried several times but she just is not a good wood stacker so I simply won't let her stack the wood. I'll take care of that end of the wood processing. But what about the stove? Now there is the biggie for sure!

    Easy way to get wife interested in handling wood stove is to let said wife get cold while you are away on business (even monkey business). Of course, you need to make sure there is no backup heat else she will just adjust the thermostat. NO! Let her get cold and let her understand that there will be times when she needs to take care of the stove. She does not need to learn everything right away though so don't go that route lest you turn her off with too many instructions.

    I'd start with showing wife how the controls work. Hopefully she will come back at you with some "why" questions. Make sure you go through the instructions more than once but not in the same day. Repetition works for learning. Second step is loading the stove and setting the controls. Again, repetition will work. Last step is starting a fire with a cold stove. This is where my wife had her worst problem. Super Cedars ended that problem! I suggest you ask Thomas for a sample or two so you can also try them. I know it surely has been nice that she can start the fire going when I am not there. Super nice.

    Wife may or may not enjoy the wood burning but going through one's budget and explaining the benefits of wood burning there alone will go a long ways to get someone interested. Also, soaking up some of that great heat after being outdoors in the winter will cause many to become interested in getting the best wood and how best to handle that wood to get the most heat from it.

    Good luck.
  20. Milton Findley

    Milton Findley Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    I make it a point to never be critical of any efforts she makes in the direction of the stove. If I don't like the results, I can do it myself. My wife is a woman who wants everything fifty fifty, and then does eighty five percent. I am blessed, and her fires are hot too.
  21. ValentineHill

    ValentineHill New Member

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    Thanks for all of the great responses, everyone. Sounds like the most important thing is to take the long approach and not try to do everything at once. Although, a few of you suggested that learning by necessity when I'm out of town overnight might not be a bad idea, so I'm looking forward to giving it a try!

    I'll keep you all posted on how the interview goes tomorrow -- hopefully she'll get the thumbs up tomorrow morning (interview's at 3:30 am EST) and the Green Card in the mail early next week!
  22. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    Best wishes that she arrives here with no snags along the way!
  23. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    The most important thing is to be happy that she bought your line, and show her that every day of her life. The rest will all fall into place . . . :) Congratulations on having found her; now just bring her home.

    Let's see, that's 11:30 our time. If I'm awake, I'll be sending good wishes easterly . . .
  24. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Arrive home, nice fire, settle in .......... carry on :)
  25. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The little brown haired girl ran our stove for years. When I was away from home for weeks at a time I would return to a warm house and nice fire. She would load it, go to work and come home and stoke it right back up.

    She can't do it any more and really misses it.
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