Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Overheard at Lem's

Deborah wrote...
"Allen, did you give up on corn? I love wood heat. I love the smell of oak piled up by the wood stove."

Funny you should ask - I happen to have photographs of just how organized and efficient AllenS is when it comes to using wood heat: The first shows AllenS' wood burning stove and the chimney that carries the smoke out of his basement.



The next one show how neatly he stacks the firewood against the wall.


This one shows more firewood, also neatly stacked, in another portion of his basement.


He has a walk-in basement so the wood comes in at ground level, gets stacked and burned, and the heat warms his whole house. But for as awesome as all of that is, and from my perspective just stacking wood that neatly is an accomplishment, you have to understand that AllenS hand dug that basement and poured all of that concrete himself, using a cement mixer, not just dialing 1-800-Deliver-a-Truckload-of-Cement.

Hand dug - let that sink in for a while. I know how to operate a shovel pretty well, but that is a mighty undertaking. When one contemplates the amount of labor involved in that job it makes all of the things I have done pale in comparison - that stuff is real right there.  Well done, AllenS - once again you have proved to be the king of gittin' 'er done.

Lines are gone!

21 comments:

deborah said...

That is amazing, cool, and beautiful. Hand dug? You put me to complete shame. Do you have just one wood supplier, Allen? And don't worry, this completely makes up for the corn stove :)

Rabel said...

I'll bet that if we opened AllenS' pantry we'd find that all of the canned goods are perfectly aligned with the labels facing forward.

Like mine.

ndspinelli said...

I know Rabel, who thought Allen is Felix Unger?

The Dude said...

Hold it, you can put canned goods in the pantry? Why wasn't I informed - mine are sitting on the countertop. This website is a fount of learning, I must say.

ricpic said...

Ah, To Live In The Basement

Don't ever improve on concrete,
Don't ever improve on wood,
They make the perfect marriage --
A masculine/feminine mood.

AllenS said...

This house was built in 1908. The house was sitting on big rocks, except where they had dug out for piping from a cistern somewhere outside so they could hand pump water to a sink inside the house. The water came from a windmill that is still here. There was no electricity back then in 1908 out here, and for quite a while after. There was no running water in this house, and no bathroom. Like all old houses around here, once there was electricity most people went all out on indoor plumbing. The old pantries were converted into bathrooms. When I bought this place in 1973, there were 3 places on this 3 mile road that still didn't have indoor plumbing, but had electricity for lighting.

If you look at the pictures, notice the cement walls. I built 24 inch high cement forms, and poured cement at that rate. Once set, I would moved the forms up. One wall at a time. Rebar was used extensively. The cement floors were poured into a chute outside from a wheelbarrow, down to another wheelbarrow in the basement.

A labor of love.

AllenS said...

In the 3rd picture, follow the wall on the right to the cement blocks, and above them, you can still see one of the big rocks.

I'll have to look for pictures and show you how I got rid of a couple of big rocks that fell into the basement during a yuge rain storm.

They could have used me on the building of the pyramids.

Chip Ahoy said...

Nice wood.

The lines come from <dd> tags.

The Dude said...

Moving rocks - once again, you win. I have moved some, and I once lived in a house where the foundation was dug down to the bedrock, and when the builders hit that they stopped. Two hundred years later the floor was good here, good there, oops, rocky!

But you touch on an important point. I used to watch eggheads on tv try to explain how giant rocks were moved in ancient times, but it was obvious that none of the "scientists" had ever done a lick of real work. Had they actually labored they would have had a real good idea about what one human can do with simple machines, and how thousands of humans would have made quick work of massive jobs. I stopped watching those shows - yelling at the tv is never good for one's BP.

Chip, how do I remove the dd tags? Those lines are annoying.

AllenS said...

Lever and fulcrum to lift the rocks onto round wooden fence posts which ride on 2" x 10" boards. I found 2 pictures! Taken with shitty camera, so I don't know if they'll turn out that well. I'll send them tomorrow. Pics from the 1970s.

MamaM said...

I didn't mind the lines. They matched the order present in the pics and went along with the hum from Lead Belly's "Ho Boys cantch line em!" call on the other thread!

That's an awesome amount of setting the world straight one shovel and step at a time in the place where most of the work of far reaching world straightening tends to begin--in one's own home and back yard.

Nicely done and presented within and outside the lines!

In this area of MI we don't have rock in the soil so much as areas of clay that clang like rock when hit by the teeth of the excavator.

Dad Bones said...

Functional and built to last, that's the AllenS way. My little crib was built about a hundred years ago and is in decent shape but it pales in comparison to what you've done.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Impressive.

Lem said...

Impressive.

Lem said...

Holy cow. we had the same thought around the same time.

chickelit said...

Heating with wood is quaint and romantic even. I did it in Oceanside in the winter using scrap wood in a fireplace. I still gather scrap wood from pallets for beach fires. If you live in the right circumstances, it even makes economic sense. But make no mistake, the entire modern era as we know it (witness us communicating here using coal-derived power) was enabled by fossil fuels. I quote from my own blogpost:

Learning to smelt iron with coke in blast furnaces ultimately freed the iron industry from the natural limits of forests, much like the invention of the automobile would later free arable land from the yoke of producing fodder for horses.

chickelit said...

Question for AllenS: Is that skinny exhaust pipe the same one that clogged with exhaust ice several winters ago?

AllenS said...

Do you mean the 6" one from the stove? If so, yes. This was the problem -- originally I had the stove against the wall when I set it up (where the corn stove was) -- notice the exhaust leaves the stove from the side of it -- so I had the 1st 90º elbow there facing up when the stove was against the wall -- then once the pipe got to the ceiling there was another 90º elbow where the 6" pipe goes into the 8" double walled pipe -- outside there was another 90º elbow facing up -- then 20 some feet of pipe to the cap. That was 1 too many 90º elbows and the outside pipe wouldn't get hot enough because of the restricted draft, and condensation would form. You can see how I fixed the problem, by moving the stove away from the wall and putting in 2 45º elbows with only 1, the 90º elbow outside. More better draft. I thought the 3 90's would be a problem when I was setting it up, but went ahead and did something stupid any way.

AllenS said...

Or, do you mean the white plastic pipe in the 3rd picture? That is the drain pipe for the kitchen sink, and that works ok.

chickelit said...

I meant the one above the stove. Your "angular" solution seems to have worked! But why not insulate the pipe all the way up and out? I'll bet that heat loss in the pipe in subzero weather is why it clogged. Water coming of combustion condenses too easily inside if it cools.

AllenS said...

They don't make flexible angle double wall stove pipe. You wouldn't want that inside the house anyway. The stove and the angle stove pipe are very hot, and the oscillating fan behind the stove pushes that hot air throughout the basement and up the stairs.