It dawned on me that I hadn’t actually updated you guys on the recent goings-on with the wood stove. Perhaps you remember that when we installed the stove pipe, we had only gone about 36″ or so above the nook roof with the intention to raise it to its proper height this spring when it was warmer and hopefully drier (thereby making it safer to work on the roof).

We waited for a few reasons: 1) there was nothing to attach the pipe to since the upstairs wall wasn’t up at the time, 2) money and 3) ignorance – minor on his part, major on mine. The stove kept it warm enough in here and we were hopeful that it would be good enough until spring. Key word: hopeful.

It’s always breezy on our land, as we are on the top of a hill, but one day around the first of February some major wind came. If memory serves, it was 25-30mph, which isn’t abnormal for us, but with the direction it was coming from it caused the problem we were hoping would bypass us: it forced the smoke down the pipe and back into the house.

Two days in a row and temps in the teens drove us to pack an overnight bag and stay with relatives about 35 miles away for three or four days until Mr. Open Sky’s weekend again. We bought the nine feet of pipe needed to get it to the required height for proper drafting and set off on his weekend back home to rectify the problem.

Fortunately, the wind nearly died down for that one day, it was dry and sunny so the metal roof wasn’t slick, and we now had the tools we needed to finish the project.

Mr. Open Sky installed one of the 3-foot sections on his own and then put together the remaining 6-feet on the second story floor. He climbed out onto the roof and I precariously passed the pipe out to him. From there, we lifted the pipe up, centered it, and attached it in place. I’m not gonna lie, there may have been fear-tears shed. I felt my feet slipping as once again my Mister asked me to be stronger than I really am. Apparently I was also hyperventilating at one point because he gently told me to stop and breathe. I don’t really remember much, I may have greyed-out there for a bit (like blacking out….but I do remember trying to see what I was doing thru tears and the bright blue sky out beyond the edge of the roof, all while trying to remember to actually breathe plus be strong). 

I don’t think I’ve climbed back off that metal roof faster than I did that day. Mr. Open Sky stayed up there to attach the pipe to the wall for support while I went to the safety of shoveling snow off the driveway.

Notice that the only way on and off was to crawl through the cross-bracing and around onto the roof. Nerve-wracking to say the least.

Instantly, we noticed a difference in how well the stove performs. The following day the winds were back and the flames did not so much as flicker. There’s something to be said for proper draft!
At first I thought it would look weird, but within a day, it just looked like our cabin and looking at the pictures of before the pipe was installed to proper height, it looks short and not-right. Ha! Interesting how quickly our brains adapt to change. (Says the person who doesn’t care for change and likes everything in its place and relatively on an even keel and routine.)

Regarding the stove itself, we’ve found that 12″ pieces are the easiest to load (as that is the width of the door) and now with the correct draft it burns nice and warm and even. We are hoping for warmer weather soon, like in the 20s-30s so we can remove the faux wall in the cabin. We are confident that the stove will heat the downstairs just fine even with inadequate insulation down here as long as it doesn’t get below, say, 25* at night.

I do have dreamy eyes thinking about next winter and how much more comfortable it will be in here. Mr. Open Sky assures me the upstairs will be livable by then, although honestly, with how things have gone this past year, I am not getting my hopes up on that. But we’ll get the downstairs better insulated, maybe some chinking done on some logs and of course the window gaps sealed. 

For now, I remain thankful for a (tiny) cabin to live in, firewood, a nice little wood stove, and proper draft!