Big Red… Getting Closer!


A few weeks ago, we got our new to us, used wood furnace.   I have been calling it a wood stove, but to be very honest, it’s a wood furnace!  It’s designed to heat a large space, even a whole house!  We plan to use it as a supplemental heat source for the most part and occasionally as a primary one!  (Think power outages and such…)

And considering that we have a ton of trees… literally, lots and lots…  (I tried to count them one day and once I got to 50 I just stopped…)  we just seem to have a lot of wood laying about.  So far in the almost three years we’ve been here, we’ve had to take down at least 5 good sized trees!  Most have either died, or fallen in a storm, that sort of thing.  And we seem to get a good deal of downed limbs and such each winter…  Mother Nature doing a little tree work for us!

However, we did have a little issue.  We need to vent the thing and since there is just NO WAY we can get it into our basement and we don’t want to try and build a little side house for it, we had to remove an old, nasty, drafty window so that we can put a small chimney out there.  This window is old old old…  and every year we have to plastic it in.  You can see it breathe in and out so badly, it’s just a hot mess.

So Jr. and Miss Julia came over with their granddaughters to help us get it all ready!  Maggie and I went the day before and got all the supplies.  Mostly heat resistant drywall to cover up the wall in there, and some neat wool insulation.  We had 2 x 4s for studs already, and Jr. brought some heavy duty plastic.


The window came out fairly cleanly, which is cool because I’d like to be able to use it someday in my reclaimed window greenhouse that I’d love to build in the garden some day.   I have been collecting weird sized windows all over the place…  I might actually have enough come early spring!   We’ll see…

In the meanwhile, we had to do a little weeding…  darn those vines and weeds that have plagued us for now three summers!  Ugh!   We have tried to sort it all out each year, but they always get away from us.  There are about 4 or 5 small climbing roses in there that we think are pretty.  And there is some trumpet vine and other things.  But we’ve finally decided that it’s not going to be given the opportunity again to regrow.   We are going to stack firewood on it this winter and then, come spring, we are going to lay it over with cardboard and HEAVY mulch and let it stay dead for a year.  See if we can’t kill most of it all off.  Then we will consider a few simple, easy shrubs.

All that wood came from our back yards!  And that was just what we had cut into stumps a year ago!    It’s nearly a full cord of wood!  Should last us a month or so.  Hopefully!  We’re curious to see how long it lasts and all, and how much we use the furnace and all.  Should be interesting.


The granddaughters kept themselves quite busy playing and visiting the animals.   They picked up a whole five gallons of apples from our little apple tree out front.  Needless to say all the critters love those little girls with their bucket of apple crack!


To try and neaten up the area a wee bit, the girls and I moved part of the woodpile back twenty feet or so, to stack it a bit nicer.   We also have a dark brown tarp that we’re going to cover it up with so it’s less noticeable.  And more importantly, it’s kept dry!

We also stacked up a few days worth on the porch, under the roof there to keep it super ready and dry.  Maggie removed the old screen door and I believe I like it a whole lot better!  We don’t use this door much and never used it as a screen door.  That door can be used in the screen porch so much more than up here.   And I think it looks cleaner.  Just need to take the chain off!


It went pretty easily, all said and done.  We’re going to get a piece of plywood to fit into the space and will probably just paint it the house color for right now.  Once we get the chiminy in place and all, I think I’d like to sort of disguise the area with a nice piece of lattice or a trellis there… and plant some morning glories or some other climbing plant on it.  MAYBE, if we can isolate just the roses, we will let them grow and cut the cardboard all around them…  MAYBE….


Isn’t this neat?  I didn’t realize it but apparently this insulation is a waste wool material!  It’s pretty cool.  Not itchy and nasty like regular insulation.   We still have a good deal of it left, so that is cool.  We’ll use it a few other places around the house!  We have a few drafty foundation windows that could use a little stuffing!


Okay, not quite Martha Stewart ready, but hey, it’s coming along.  Once we get the plywood up, and painted a nice dull yellow…  it will blend in nicely.  I will admit…  dull yellow is not the color of our choice when it comes to the house!   Can you paint siding?  Hmmm….  haha… clearly not a priority, but I will admit, we are all pleased that it’s fading out to a sort of beige-like yellow.  Me?  If I had no budget issues?  It would be cedar sided!  I think those houses are so beautiful!  A lot more common on the northwest coast, but very expensive here!

We were going to keep moving all the wood back but then why do that when as soon as we fire up Big Red, we will go through that fairly quickly.  Firewood is HEAVY and has rough spots and makes your shoulders ache!  Going to finish up the area when that bunch near the porch is done and rake all the bark from the log splitting into our beds to help mulch out the area.



Looks pretty nice and clean, eh?  That heat resistant dry wall is very cool.  It is designed to not burn and it is HEAVY!  We could barely get two sheets into the house!  (The three of us!)  It’s a bit of overkill for the area…  everything we read said that you needed it about 3 foot around the vent hole that will go straight out the back of the furnace to the outside.  Since the whole area had to be covered up, and the stuff is sold in 2 sheet packs, it just made sense to do the whole wall.

Once Big Red is fired up and all connected and such, then we are going to paint in the office and finish up the opening between the two rooms.  Since we opened up the wall, the deep blue walls and the green of the living room is just a little weird.  We’re going to repaint the living room as well, so we’ll probably paint it all the same color to make it draw together and seem like one big room.    That is the plan!  But for now… we just keep plugging away.   Once day, everything will be wonderful and pretty.  We are going to put down big tiles around the furnace as well, to make it more fire resistant to sparks and also to make it easier to keep clean with the wood and all coming in for the winter.  The plan is to get some sort of box to keep a half dozen logs in it during the day so we’re not opening the door over and over.  All a learning curve for sure!  But figuring out the logistics of a new routine can be fun if you let it be!  Can’t wait to give Big Red a good cleaning and get him ready for his new job.   Keeping our little farmhouse WARM WARM WARM….



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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


Big Red… Getting Closer! — 2 Comments

  1. It looks to be the same size as my model. Except mine is green. I think once you get that thing fired up you will never go back. Although you are gonna burn through wood a lot faster then you would assume. But I LOVE wood heat and out model can crank it up inside till we are sitting around in shorts.

    • I’m looking forward to sitting around in my shorts!!! hahaha…. so much better than the last two winters where we froooooooze to death nearly!!! haha