OT: Merry Yule-tide Season

This holiday time year is supposed to be filled with happy people baking cookies, wrapping presents, and spending time with seldom seen relatives.
Yesterday morning, one of my neighbors blew his brains out. I don't know all his problems, but about 3 weeks ago his cat was poisoned, and then he stopped going to work.
What makes this more poignant for me is that three years ago another neighbor, an old widow lady caught pneumonia for lack of fire wood. She apparently was too proud to ask for help. She died of her pneumonia.
Like most people, I've thought about what I could have done different to change both outcomes.
Neighbors would have been happy to provide fire wood, if they had known, and maybe the neighbor across the street just needed to know that he had someone he could talk to.
I'm relating these stories, hoping that you may notice someone that may need help, and ask them if they might not care to share a cup of tea with them (or something stronger). There may be nothing wrong, and they look at you like a nosey person, but that is a small price to pay for trying to make the world a better place.
Merry Yule-tide Season, or whatever you are doing.
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have a feeling there is nothing you could have done. I believe "Pride" is the worst of all things to have. Even if you asked, I bet many will say "I'm Fine". To admit they needed help for everyday items is like saying "I am a failure". I personally would place myself in a convalescent home if I could not take care of my self. Others with pride will not want that dependence on others.
With one exception of the suicide. If I had a terminal illness and knew the last few months of life would be in great pain or discomfort, I would end my life. I am in support of physician assisted suicides for the terminally ill. Guns is the preferred choice for suicides here in the states because guns are easily available. Nations that ban guns have a much much lower rate of successful suicides. I read that some where but for sure. Pride will also interferes with asking your doctor for help with handling depression. Their are other reason other than pride that leads to suicide, but I think it is the main reason.
One odd point, most homes also have other heating systems combined with fireplaces. Could she not just turn up the thermostat? She must have been in need of money, food, medicine and possibly some firewood.
Me, I got stuck with the confectionaries, i made Christmas cookies, coconut macaroons, brittles and chocolate fudge for the family. I just got back an hour ago for the christmas eve bash. Today was lasagna and salad and the big gift exchanges. Tomorrow will be the big feast with the family, I am hoping for porter house steaks.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

occasionally. If her heater was in the same condition as mine, it would have given up the ghost a long while ago. She must have been in her mid eighties, having survived her husband by at least twenty years.
We old timers burn wood, no thermostat. We're in the middle of a forest.
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I see said the blind man... I hope I live that long. My father died of pneumonia six years ago at 90. His home was warm. He came down with pneumonia three weeks after he received he first pneumonia vaccination shot. One wonders.
Right now, 24 degrees with a foot of snow on the ground. Propane is costing me $300 per month for the next four months. Summer cost almost nothing and no need for air conditioning. Someday I will get a geothermal heating/cooling system installed. Most people around me heat with wood. My neighbor has a wood burning cook stove, it is a neat item. My area is farm land and i have about five acres of trees. Wood is plentiful since the Emerald Ash Bore killed and is still killing a lots trees here in Michigan.
In four hours the family get-together begins.
Merry Christmas
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

We own 2 farms and have wood burning cooking stoves in the houses on both farms. In this place (our main home) our wood burning cook stove also heats our water and runs hydronic heating in winter. In winter our bills go down here but I dont' use the cookign stove in summer.
In our other farm, we have no electricity so use solar powered lights and the water to the house and the toilet/shower/kitchen sink etc is gravity fed from a tank (cistern in USian) on the hill. The water is heated by a wood burning cooking stove so we can have showers and wash dishes. That cook stove is an ancient Rayburn number 3 made in South Africa and which we obtained by giving the previous owner for a dozen bottles of wine. He was going to take it to the tip - such a waste. It is an absolute beauty. Anyone who lives in an area with lots of wood should use wood burning cooking stoves IMHO.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Nothing like wood heat for cooking.
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Again this is my neighbors, jealous here, his stove is almost new. Does not use it during summer, way to hot. Nice item.
http://www.lehmans.com/store/Stoves___Cook_Stoves___Wood_Burning_Cook_Stoves___The_Oval_Wood_Cookstove___1903?Args
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why do you consider it to be a "nice item". I'm asking from the point of view of a rural housewife who's installed 3 woodburning cookers in 3 houses over 30 years and who looks for particular things when I buy and install them (in other words, this is a test of your knowledge of wood burning stoves :-)))))

http://www.lehmans.com/store/Stoves___Cook_Stoves___Wood_Burning_Cook_Stoves___The_Oval_Wood_Cookstove___1903?Args =
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use propane for heat and cooking. If propane doubles or triples again over the next few years, I may have to do without some things I like. I do have some wooded areas on my land. Even if I got a geothermal heating system, I will still want something to cook with if propane went sky high. So a wood cooking stove would be a nice item to have that could also heat the home.
If your thinking from a different perspective. It has a hot water resevor with a side spigot. The bun warmer on top is great for sourdough breads. Sourdough starters need mid to upper 70 degrees for bread to rise. I do not keep my home that warm during winter, about 69 max. So I only make sourdoughs during summer. Winter is better for tempering chocolate thou. So for now I dream. Consumerism is bad thing :)
The drawback wood is the extra work. As I get older it gets harder.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

OK, I'd give you a few ticks for some issues. :-))
Now I'll tell you the things that I consider after spending 50 years living with various wood burning cookers as a child and adult and what I look for in a stove and why.
I'd be rather wary of that particular Lehman's stove your neighbour has for a variety of reasons and one of them is because I'd be very suspicious about the price as I think it is too cheap to be real quality. And yes, I know that the cost of it is high, but a really good stove will cost you a shitload more than Lehman's is asking but it will last for many more decades than a cheap one will and that is why they can be bought second hand and still be used many decades after first being bought.
The first thing needed in a wood burning stove (or any fuel stove) is insulation - the heat need to be kept in the stove so it can heat the hot plates, the ovens and the water. That means that the oven shouldn't radiate a lot of heat into the kitchen and should have bolsters to cover the hotplates when the hot plates aren't in use. (That sounds contradictory for anyone who wants to heat their house with one but it isn't - if I don't get to it ask me)
The second thing (for me, but not all cooks/householders insist on this) is that it must have a water jacket (that means it's integral to the stove design and runs around/near the fire box - the stove doesn't act as a store for that heated water). So that means it must heat all the water needs for the whole house - sink, laundry, bath, heating (if desired). That latter water heating need means it msut be capable of really pumping out the BTUs - thus the importance of insulation.
The third thing is at least 2 ovens so that is a roasting oven and a warming oven (which is just the thing to draw a chair up to on a winter's night and to shove your feet into).
Fourth, it should be able to run on a variety of fuel from wood to coal.
The creme de la creme of cookers is the Aga. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGA_cooker Then down the line is others such as Rayburn, Esse, Everhot, Wellstood etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayburn_Range
You can see a whole heap of the sort of thing I'd buy here: http://www.woodstoves.com.au/html/renovations.html all of these have the features I mention above except that some of them may not heat water as well. I have never owned one that didn't and don't see the point of one that doesn't heat water so would'nt buy one that didn't.
Now I mentioned heating - we heat this house using hydronic heating so that means the water is heated by our cooker and then stored in a big tank (cistern in USian???) that also provides our hot water forhousehold use and also runs through the radiators.
We have a very big house and are running 16 radiators so this is a bit of a challenge to the machine in mid winter when it's what we think of as beign really cold. If I lived in a snowy climate like yours I'd still have the cooker with the water jacket but just use it for household hot water and buy a boiler that ran on wood to heat house with hydronic heating or jsut have a bakc up wood burning heater. We can't easily buy the sorts of boilers you can in the US but I wish we could - here they'd be overkill as we dont' get that cold.
Cost - the last 2 wood burning cookers we've bought were second hand and there was not a thing wrong with either of them even after years of work. The Rayburn 3 I mentioned in a previous post was made in South Africa in the early 1950s so it's a real oldie but still works like a dream - who needs modern cute retro when the genuine things is still out there and just as good as the day it was made ;-P
've seen Agas installed in the 1930s which are still being used most of the year. A really good quality cooker like the ones I've mentioned should last that long and the other good thing aobut them is that parts are still available and can be fitted by most home handypersons or country plumbers.
Teh other thing aobut cost is that even in winter when we use our wood burner and also in mid winter burn wood in a space heater, our expenses drop. We use electricity in summer for cooking and water heating but in winter we use the wood stove. We used to collect all our own wood but as we've aged we find that more of a chore so now either buy ti in or only bring it in ourselves if we have a good tree fall or soemthign similar happen. Even factoring that cost of buying wood it's still cheaper than summer. I could use my stove in summer if I lived in slightly cooler place. Here it gets into the 80s to 100+ F in mid summer and that is too hot to fire up an oven, but I have to do it at the other farm even in those sorts of temps if we want a shower or hot water for the house.
Think that's about it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wow, lot of information. I will save the links. I should also say my neighbor has three regular wood stove and one cook stove in his 4,000 sq ft home. My home is only 1600 sq ft.. I am still jealous :)
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/24/2010 7:22 PM, Billy wrote:

Happy Harmonica ;)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.