Everyone loves the comfort of an open fire. Young people enjoy the light and heat of a bonfire as they roast hot dogs and toast marshmallows. Campers wake voraciously hungry to the delectable smell of coffee, bacon, and a wood fire. Lovers cuddle in front of a fireplace on a cozy winter night, and dream about the future. Using wood for heating your home can infuse it with all the ambiance and comfort of these pleasant scenes.
Ask anyone who grew up in the “old days,” helping mom start the fire in the morning so she could bake the morning biscuits. The fact is, wood heat is simply warmer than the heat from an electric or gas heating system. It sinks through to your bones somehow. But the satisfaction and comfort from wood heat goes deeper than that.
For thousands of years, mankind has relied on fire for life. Fire cooked the meat making it digestible and delicious. It kept the freezing winds from claiming lives. It dried the vegetables and berries needed to make it through the winter. It provided the heat to melt the tallow to make candles, and brought light to the dark of night. Because of its importance to life, there was a rhythm of work involved in keeping the homefires burning.
Burning wood for heat gets people back into that rhythm and closeness to nature, and there is a sense of satisfaction and control in being so involved in meeting one’s own basic needs. The work is satisfying and productive, and gets a person outside where they can be in touch with the real world.
Heating with wood also puts one in touch with history, since so much of past life has been connected with the comfort and necessity of fire. When you curl up in front of a fire in the wood stove on a cool evening, or when you throw another log on in the middle of the night, or when you set a big pot of water on the stove to keep the air from drying you out, you are participating in activities that have been part of everyday life for millions of families before you.
Another comfort of wood heat is the lower price tag. When money is scarce, the fact that you can have a cheery warm fire in the stove with just a little bit of extra effort can put a smile on anyone’s face. Heating with wood makes economical and ecological sense. And that’s a comfortable thought.
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