Friday, December 19, 2008

Mud Season


One outcome I wasn't ready for after I installed and started using my Outdoor Wood Furnace (OWB) was dealing with all the mud. The mud begins to appear around mid November and it doesn't leave until well after I shut the smoker down for the season in the spring.
I must fill my Hardy with wood at least twice a day, but to be honest, I make about 4 to 5 trips out to it just to check it out and tinker with the burning wood inside the firebox. Honestly, what else is there to do during an Ohio winter other than wait for pitchers and catchers to report for spring training? My trips to the Hardy are one of my highlights of the day. All of these trips, coupled with the weather we have here in Ohio, leave a nice mud trail in the grass between the house and the woodshed. Unless the ground is frozen from the cold...I'm dealing with mud. I wear my Rocky hunting boots out to the Hardy which I keep in the garage with the laces tucked inside the boot. I don't tie them, I just slip my feet into them. Without my boots, I would have mud up to my ankles from walking out to the furnace.
When I built my woodshed, which my OWB sits in front of, I threw down about two truck loads of gravel in and around the shed. My shed measures 8' x 16' and the gravel area goes out about 20' in front of it. The gravel helps when I am at the firebox but if I venture anywhere off the gravel, I am certain to sink in deep. One of my early miscalculations with this project was how much wood the furnace uses and all the wood that fits in my shed is just about 1/3 of what I need to get thru winter. Boy does this use a lot of wood! But fear not...the nice thing about the OWB is that your woodpile can be outside by the furnace. This saves a lot of effort in that your wood doesn't have to be lugged into the basement...and all the dirt, bugs and smoke annoyances stay outside. When I am hauling wood in the summer, I just back my truck right up to the shed and unload. Anyhow, all my trips out to the woodshed during winter, not to mention the trudging around the pile looking for my selected logs, really churns up the mud. Mud, mud everywhere.
I keep an old wool coat and a wool knit cap in the mud room (ironic?) leading out to the garage and I slip into them as I go out to put on my boots. Mud becomes a big deal for me because I track mud into the garage and on the sidewalk where I veer into the grass to head out the the OWB. It's a Catch-22, the mud, because I would rather it be cold where the ground is frozen thus making it easier to walk. But when its cold the Hardy uses more wood. If the weather is warmer, it uses less wood but then I have to deal with the mud. I have thought of putting in a path...gravel or mulch...but to be honest, I'm not a "yard" kind of man, so I don't stress over my yard. I like my yard to be nice but it doesn't have to be perfect. The grass from my mud path has always grown back each spring. If I were to lay down a gravel or mulch path I would have to deal with this obstacle in the summer when mowing around it. Having an annoying path to negotiate while mowing would be more of a pain to me than walking thru all this mud. Smokin

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