There are two different types of people in this world; squirrels and grasshoppers. I happen to be a squirrel. I like to store things. Things that I consider an investment into the comfort of my future. At times, I’ve obsessed about this future a bit too much, but I think I’ve finally hit the sweet spot. A place I can sit back and take a break.
Where I live, I’m met some grasshoppers. These are the types of folks who call the firewood dealer on a cold night in November to ask if he could deliver a cord or two. Of course, he’ll get to it the next day or the day after that, but it will be cold and wet, just like the customer’s comfort level for the next few months. It’s all about preparation – today and well into the years to come.
It took three years, but I’m caught up. I have two full year’s worth of firewood. One year’s worth has been sitting since April of 2015 and the other year’s worth has been sitting since April of 2016. If I had to guess, I’d say I have about seven cords overall. This is prefect because it’s enough to give me an entire year and a half of drying. Or seasoning. Whichever you want to call it.
On the pellet front, we have three tons. We had almost one ton leftover from last year and then Laura and I ran out to grab two more from the manufacturer. We received an offer over the summer telling us that if we got there with the truck before the end of August, they’ll give us each ton for only $200. That’s $15 off each ton from their regular price and at least $75 off each one from a regular retailer. It didn’t take me long to get over there to do what I had to do. By the way, if you’ve never seen a real pellet plant, you should definitely check out this post. I took pictures and everything.
The reason I titled this post the way I did is because I wanted to impress upon anyone who is considering the purchase of a heating device that a wood burning stove is the way to go. Hands down, you can’t get heat from something else like you can from a wood stove. I’ve lived at more addresses than I care to talk about and I have the experience to back up my claim. Pellet stoves are cute and great for chilly spring or fall nights, but they can’t handle the seriousness of mid-January. They are automatic and all that, but, unfortunately, they can’t keep up. And heaven forbid the power goes out. If the pellet stove is your only source of heat, you’ll likely freeze. And nobody likes to freeze.
I often get asked if it’s expensive to live in Maine. I have many answers for this. First, I ask what area the questioner is referring to. What part of Maine? I’m sure the coast is much more expensive than the western area where Laura and I live. Second, I ask what size house the person is interested in living in. We found ourselves a house up here that’s about 1,300 feet and it cost almost half of what our first house in New York cost, and than one was only 1,100 feet.
Regarding heating and cooling, we don’t cool. We don’t have an air conditioner because we don’t need one. Sure, there are some hot days during July, but we power through them. It gets humid, but it’s not worse than any other place I’ve ever lived. So, without any cooling to pay for, our monthly electric bill has averaged just $57 over the past six months. Every time I receive it in my email, I shake my head and run to tell Laura about it. I wonder how long I’ll do that and how long it’ll take until I’m used to it and think it’s expensive. When I lived in Connecticut, I could have the electric completely off and it would still cost me $75 a month.
We use about two tons of pellets and two cord of wood to heat our house per year. Each of those things is $200. So, if you add that up, our heating cost comes to $800. I’ll round that up to $1000, just in case. That’s not bad. No oil to pay for. No A/C to pay for. Not much to think about. It’s all upfront costs and everything’s paid for. That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about being a squirrel. It’s more fun this way because it frees me up to write blog posts and go for walks.
Do you live in the country? What are your experiences with cooling and heating costs? I’ve heard some wild numbers from friends around the country. Some that make my jaw drop. If you’d care to share, please write something in the comment section below. Thanks!