Saturday, March 1, 2014

Wood Smoke


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I took the dog out a few minutes ago and smelled the heavenly scent of wood smoke drifting from my neighbor’s place. I grew up with wood heat. Both sets of grandparents had a grate. A wood fire said “home” to me then as much as coming home after dark to find the back porch light on and smelling the country supper cooking in the kitchen. We sold firewood for our living in the winter, so I often smelled it when I went with Dad on deliveries, too. It was always a pleasant sight to see the smoke curling from the chimney after a cold day of working outside. It meant warmth, food and being re-united with the people that I cared about.

It meant the same to me when I had my own home. Sadly, I let some “expert” (scammer) chimney sweeps clean my chimney once and they ruined it, later causing a chimney fire that necessitated tearing the top half of the chimney down. Foolishly, I caved into my wife’s wishes to switch to gas heat. She complains just as much about being cold these days as she did then. The main difference is that I now pay a fortune to heat this place some months. I miss not having a gas bill. I miss being able to hover around the stove when coming in from the cold. I miss seeing the smoke curling from my chimney when I return from going somewhere else. I miss the scent of good oak wood, or the crisp smell of burning pine. My wife says she doesn’t miss the extra dust, and I understand that. But I still miss heating with wood, if not all the work involved. And I still miss that wood smoke. © 2014
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11 comments:

Mamahen said...

It's bittersweet, the way some scents can just transport us back in to a happier place and time in our lives. The smell of fresh bread baking and the smell of hay fields freshly mown are two scents that take me back to happy carefree days!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

When I burn wild cherry it smells like one of the long dead old men is smoking some of that sweet cherry pipe tobacco outside. Funny how a smell will trigger a memory. When I get back into bed after putting more wood in the furnace at 2am, my hands often smell of the sweet smoke. I am glad to see warm weather come and really like to see the wood pile restored to full for next winter.

Lady Locust said...

You can tell folks that have grown up with wood heat. Even in the summertime, if they come inside to visit, they stand in front of the wood stove with their hands behind them:)
Nothing beats wood heat.

Chickenmom said...

Know what you mean! 95% of our heat comes from wood. It does make everything super dusty, though. Oh, well - keeps me busy!

Gorges Smythe said...

Amen to both of those, Mh!

I know what you mean about the pipe tobacco, SF. From personal experience, I can tell you that it doesn't taste that good, but few folks complain about the cherry blend, so that's why a lot of guys smoked it.

I agree, LL. I watched with amusement as a fellow once backed up to my cold woodstove (as the furnace was running) and commented how nice and toasty it was there.

You know, Cm, I COULD quote my wife about idle hands being the devil's workshop, but she'd probably sock me one! lol

Sixbears said...

I'm looking for someone to haul my old oil furnace away. Still runs fine, but I'm 100% committed to wood now.

My last winter up north I only burned about 30 gallons of oil anyway -and 5 cords of good hardwood.

Looks like I'll be burning wood when I get home in a month or so. Winter never ends.

Ralph Goff said...

I miss all those things too. I didn't mind the work and there is an endless supply of dry wood on this farm. Plus it is a renewable resource, unlike the natural gas that I burn now for heat. I could go back to wood. I might...

Gorges Smythe said...

Might as well try to get what you can out of it, Sixbears.

In truth, Ralph, I don't mind the work that much, but I don't think I'd want to do it as a business again.

Its Time to Live said...

In my area of the country, they are contemplating banning all wood burning during the winter months. You know, pollution and global warming and such. What a shame. There are only a small handful that still even have stoves and fireplaces.

Leigh, Andrea Leigh Gil said...

I have to agree with the wife... but man those gas bills sure do get high!

Gorges Smythe said...

I understand her reasoning, Leigh, but I used to have a better job than I've had the last few years (and NONE now), so THAT makes a difference, too.