Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It's Not Ice Fog

Hat (thifted)
MichaelMichael Kors Scarf
Herman Kay Coat (thrifted)
Banana Republic Cashmere Cardigan (thrifted)
Aero Tank
J Brand Maria Jeans (ebay)
Carlos Boots

Today, we cut and hauled firewood and man, does my back hurt.  Birch wood is heavy!  We're trying to get a start on our wood for next year, when you burn wood you have to give it about a year to dry out and "season" so that it will burn properly.  Wet wood burns poorly, gives off little heat and releases a lot of particulates into the air that can be harmful so it's really important to get a start on that.  Right now the Fairbanks/North Pole area is going through quite the fight over wood burning, ten years ago there were apparently only 3,000 wood burners in the area and once the price for heating fuel skyrocketed, more and more people started burning wood.  As a comparison, it would cost us about $900 a month to heat our 1,000 sq foot house and we keep the heat low - during the cold months many people pay about $1200 - $1500 for one month of fuel.  We can cut a cord of wood for $10 and we only need 4-5 cords of wood to make it through the winter.  That's really a huge price difference, especially when you consider paying that on top of a house payment and some of the highest electrical bills in the nation. It's overwhelming and many people started burning wood just so they could survive.  Unfortunately, the Fairbanks area is a low immersion zone thanks to being in a valley and having spells of bitterly cold temps that keep any fumes/particulate matters/pollution from burning off - it just stays close to the ground.
Fairbanks is now considered one of the most polluted cities in the US(only during very cold snaps, not most of the time!) due to this and it's caused a lot of problems.   It's also caused a huge backlash against wood burners and there's a big rift in the community now about those who blame wood burning for asthma/breathing problems and those who can't afford to burn only fuel.  It's caused a lot of really harsh words on both sides and it's made it very difficult to create any sort of solution to the problem.  We burn wood and are really responsible about it, along with many other people, and a "no burn ban" really scares us.  Part of the proposed laws have said that if you can't afford it, you won't lose your wood stove but I think it still worries a lot of people and most of the laws proposed so far haven't been very clear on the matter of what "affordable" means.  We use both an older furnace and our wood stove but I'd hate to be limited to only the furnace - it'd be both very expensive and it's not the most reliable thing. (and it's pretty useless if the electricity goes out.)  Our wood stove is a very clean burning one and is up to the new standards but still.....it's a worry.  At -50 below zero, you just want to stay warm and it really is a matter of life and death.   Breathing is as well and we try really hard to be considerate, we don't burn if we can and we're not assholes about letting our cars run for hours. (Seriously, I think the people who let their cars run for two hours while they're in the story, just because they don't want to get into a cold car, have to be part of the problem.  You can't even hardly breathe in the Fred Meyer parking lot at -50 below thanks to how thick exhaust is!)

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I always like hearing feeback! (It really makes my day!)