Literally Speaking

Literally Speaking

December 14, 2006


A whimsical throwback from 15 years ago, the fall of 2006. For many of us, fireplace season is just beginning. I love a good fireplace, but when I was a young man I lived through an entire Tennessee winter in a cabin in the woods with only a central wood-burning hearth to heat the entire abode. FWIW, that would have been the winter of 1985-86, the first winter I was producing Arlo & Janis. Most miserable were the mornings. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but I did learn a lot about chopping wood and lighting fires. Today I live in an old house with many fireplaces, but they were designed for burning coal and are useless to me. I do miss a roaring fire in the evenings.



20 responses to “Literally Speaking”

  1. Old Bear, I posted a link to the video of that flying machine you mentioned. I put it on the prior retro post, just before Jimmy put up the new one. It is called the Jetson, and looks like a man-sized drone.

    Good one about the fireplace, Jimmy. I got acquainted with fireplace care and feeding while in Tennessee, too. But ours wasn’t needed so much for the heat as the cozy atmosphere it provided. I also learned about little critters hiding in the woodpile, as seen in Arlo and Janis.

  2. My Dad decided to offset the oil burning furnace with a wood burning furnace when he was in his late 50’s or 60’s. He had a trailer and a splitter and would be working weekends looking to pick up wood and then splitting them. It was hard work for a young man, but my Dad wanted to save money. I was most concerned about the creosote that would build up in the flue, but fortunately nothing happened.

    After my Mom died in a car accident, my Dad remarried, fixed up the house to sell and moved to a new house that I think burned natural gas. The folks that bought our old house pretty much gutted out all of the work that my Dad did to fix the place up and of course removed the wood burning furnace

    I am older than my Dad was then and frankly he is lucky that he didn’t have a heart attack splitting all of that wood. Well, it was exercise….

    • Our home in Eastern NC was built in 1910. From 1985 until about 2007, I heated with an outdoor Hot Water Boiler using firewood. Because the home was not well insulated, I burned about 12-15 cords of wood each winter depending upon how cold January and February were. Positives were savings to budget as I followed a logger around who was a customer of mine. I had a small Nissan Pickup and a Lowes wood splitter. Negatives were the weekends spent cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood. Did not help my golf game or social life outside of the family. We finally decided that I would prefer not to have my wife spend the life insurance money, so vinyl sided the home and insulated it and installed new heating and air. When heating with wood, the Russian Army could have showered in my home with hot water as I had it hooked to the hot water heater as well as a “radiator” type system in my central fan system. I had a stainless steel stove pipe installed to help with safety with the chimney outside.

  3. Good morning, Village. I have a request via email from cxp (curmudgeonly ex-professor) to let you all know that he is alive and well but thoroughly blocked from the Village. Now, the particularly odd part about that is that we do have a post from him in reply to Steve from Royal Oak, yesterday evening–he mentions that he seems to be completely blocked. So he can post, and we see it, but he cannot. The same thing seems to have happened to Old Bear a few days ago–I saw posts in which he mentioned being blocked. How odd. Hope Jimmy is able to get that fixed. (He mentioned that he was working on it.)

  4. Hmm. Looks like there is a posting lag, or perhaps I am also a victim of some blocking. The post I just made about cxp didn’t show up immediately anyhow.

  5. I got shut out with a post on previous Special Delivery blog. I posted about watching Secondhand Lions, the movie. The young man grows up to be a cartoonist and Berkeley Breathed of Opus fame drew all the artwork for movie.

    Anyway, it NEVER posted.

  6. I grew up in old Southern farm house dating back to 1840s. Heated by open fireplaces and wood. After WWII and 1940s my grandparents installed some butane space heaters.
    My cousin owns house now and will put in insulation, central heat and air, remodel.

    You simply froze to death or burned up. Two single fireplaces and a double fireplace were supposed to heat nine rooms, most of which were 20 x 20 with 14 foot high ceilings in several rooms. The wind blew right through cracks between boards in walls and floors. Mopping floors dripped dry but without sheetrock or wallpaper, walls whistled!

    • A friend of mine lived in a house that originally had a fireplace in the living room, which was at the back of the house. Then it was expanded so that the fireplace was in the middle. Much better, as all of the heat that had been wasted out the back wall went to heat the back half of the building.

  7. When we lived in Lafayette, LA, we had a beautiful brick fireplace. When we lived near Houston we had a fireplace. Now that we’re in Montana…no fireplace. The mountain valley here frequently gets inversions and all that woodsmoke sits around ruining the air quality.

  8. 40 YA we were heating with electricity (central furnace)
    We put in a wood stove in front of the fireplace, lit it in Oct
    kept it going 24/7 till May. The Electric Company were wondering
    if we were tapping the line before the meter as the bill went from
    over $180/ month to c.$60. It only took 6 cord a year. But that all came from the farm.
    .
    We will see if this show up.

  9. MontanaPhil you probably know I am a Rajin’ Cajun from Lafayette, Louisiana. My family had my mother and more siblings who attended there, my uncle and aunt taught at university, my cousins also attended. Most of us graduated and went on to other schools.

    My late husband’s family went there as well being natives. Back into 1920s on both sides.

    My dad from North Carolina was there in pilot’s training for WWII, met my beautiful Louisiana farm girl mother.

    Are you oil? With Lafayette, Houston and Montana I am guessing so. I lived in Oil Center area, my inlaws did lot of building there, lived in one of post war homes there.

    All homes built in Lafayette had fireplaces. My inlaws home had big two way fireplace, one of their signature luxury home looks, often used in area. Huge fires.

    Home I never built was Lafayette designer (Southern Living styles) My design plans have double fireplaces in kitchen/eating, master bedroom/study and living room/dining.

    All this was on first floor which was 12 feet in air up above garage for flooding. I am unsure how all that firewood was to appear up the stairs!! Those plans are on top of my cabinet in my bedroom right now!!!

    • Jackie…Yes, I was in the oil bidness. I was in Lafayette 10 years before getting dragged to Houston. We lived off Kaliste Saloom, not far from the bayou. I miss the good times we had with the Cajun friends but I don’t miss the humidity and heat, which is why I retired to Montana. During my career I also lived in Wyoming and Colorado and spent some time in Alaska, so I was wild to back to the mountains.

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