Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Miracle

My jade plant is blooming. A rose in December may be possible in England, but it stands the same chances in northern Pennsylvania as a snowball in hell. And here, even less likely--the indoor blooming jade plant. This thing is almost 5 feet tall and probably outweighs me, which explains why it has not left its south-facing window in years. It was started by a cat, now deceased, who, during her kitten rampages around the house, took a cutting from the plant of my friend, now deceased. Happy New Year, friends and pets on both sides of the great divide.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Using A Fat-Old-Cat-O-Meter to Optimize Burn Rate & Fuel Usage in Your Woodstove

The beginning woodstove owner may question whether they are operating the stove properly, and getting the optimal amount of heat per stick of firewood. The Fat-Old-Cat-O-Meter is a simple tool that takes the guesswork out of deciding when to add another log to the fire, and when to open or close the damper (air intake). The large indicator on the Fat-Old-Cat-O-Meter is easy to read even with your glasses off, and because its working parts work as little as possible, it will provide reliable feedback for many years.

Fat-Old-Cat-O-Meter Guide to Fuel Usage & Damper Position in Common Situations

  • ·      Indicator lying directly on hearthrug: Fuel quantity ideal, burn rate well calibrated.
  • ·      Indicator off at a distance but still in the same room: Damp it down a little, you’re burning too hard. (See illustration.)
  • ·      Indicator hugging chimneystack in upstairs hallway: Fire has died down overnight. Add fuel and open damper.
  • ·      Indicator smoking: Close the stove door, extinguish the indicator without waking it. Fuel and damper probably OK. Do not operate woodstove with door open.
  • ·      Indicator in the dog bed all the way at the other end of the house: Did you get that firewood for free? Are you hoping to move your truck into the garage after the wood is gone? Damp it way down and don’t add any more logs until it’s nothing but coals. Wasteful jackass.
Good luck with your new woodstove. We wish you many years of comfort and energy independence!