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Our first wood stove was a Norwegian made Jøtul, purchased partly because the brand had a great reputation, but also because it was made in Norway, which is my heritage. That was in 1975. Shortly thereafter I found an old Sears and Roebuck pot bellied wood stove that we used in the school bus where we slept for a couple of years. We've been burning wood to stay warm ever since.

One could argue that we're polluting the earth by burning wood and they would be absolutely right. Smoke goes up the chimney in the form of carbon, which adds to the warming of the planet. Our furnace burns gas, and the electricity to power our wall heaters comes from the burning of coal and oil. Short of sitting in a 45 degree house with bundles of clothes on, we're stuck like millions of others dependent on carbon.

So an 80' Fir tree came down last fall in the forest and I've started to cut it up with my chain saw, split the rounds with my 16 lb. sledge hammer and wedges, haul the pieces up the hill in my wheelbarrow, and stack them neatly for burning next season. For me, this activity is borderline spiritual. I get time alone in the woods among the tall trees to think about things AND I get all of that exercise that has helped me to stay fit for almost 50 years.

It's a tradeoff and I'm good with that.

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