Friday, November 10, 2006

Corners of my Home

Here is one of my favorite corners----with the wood stove. I grew up in log house heated mostly by wood heat in the winter. Every summer, my mom would corral my two sisters and I into hauling wood. This would be hours and hours of scavenging throw-away lumber from building sites, lumber companies and cleared lots. We'd also go out into the woods and mom would chainsaw up fallen trees while we hauled and stacked the logs in a borrowed truck. We didn't exactly dread these outings---it just had to be done. Mom always told us how important it was to get enough wood hauled by autumn. In winter, she would point out our HUGE stacks of firewood and say, "Girls, you did such a wonderful job!"
As an adult, I now love hauling wood. My sister does, too. In building our separate houses, we each made sure to include a wood stove in the plans. I get real satisfaction out of seeing my own porch full of spruce and birch logs to keep us cozy through the cold months. Today it's only +10 out....not too cold (for here) but I am still sick, so I needed a fire in the stove to cheer me up a little.

Oh---and I must brag about something, here. I built that hearth! I knew the kind of look and materials I wanted, so I did lots of library and internet research on exactly how to do it and the materials needed. I made a template of cardboard, took that to the quarry shop, laid slate on it until I figured I had enough rock. (The men working there had never seen this and were....entertained.) I brushed each piece of slate perfectly clean with a wire brush, Frommage built the hearth form out of 2"x8"s with a plywood surface, which I covered with concrete backerboard.

I've saved rocks from many different adventures and trips---picking up rocks on a beach, a hiking trail, riverbed, knowing I'd build something like this hearth someday. Of course, it turns out that since all of the rocks were different sizes, it just wouldn't work! I had to buy a bag of rocks. Perfect, smooth, black rocks. All were attached to the substrate with mortar and then I filled in the grout with my hands, smoothing and cleaning as I went with a big sponge.
I like to tell people, "This is the only part of the entire three-year house building process where I didn't cry and throw tools." Truth!

The stove pipe runs up through the second floor, giving off more heat. Some people have thought that we're nuts for not walling it in to hide it---but I like it in the room. It's an insulated pipe, so it's never so hot that it becomes a danger. I keep my orchids on a humidity shelf to the left of it and they benefit from the slightly warmer temps. Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

bugheart said...

i would love
to cozy
next to your little
wood hearth...
it's amazing
that you
built it!
hope that you
feel better soon!