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So trivial, yet it really ticks you off.

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,903
Location
My mother's basement
There are really only two viable home-heating fuels in my state -- oil, either no. 2 or kerosene, and wood. There is no natural gas service here, and while bottled propane is available in most towns, it doesn't offer any real advange over oil once all the costs are factored in. Electric heat is completely off the table when you consider how completely out of control electric bills are here thanks to our global-conglomerate power company and our bought-and-paid-for utilities commission. Wood has the advantage of being plentiful, but it's labor intensive -- especially if you're old and live alone -- and it's also much more dangerous. It isn't fall in Maine until the chimney fires start.

When I was growing up there were still a few people around burning coal in furnaces, but that was also labor-intensive, even with a mechanical stoker: somebody had to clean out and carry away the ashes. There are still a few coal stoves around, but given the choice most stove-heat people prefer wood.

Right now I have no idea how I'm going to get thru next winter. I'm on a monthly oil-payment plan, and that payment has doubled with the start of the new contract in June. My income, however, has not, nor will it, increase accordingly, and I look forward to a winter of 55 degree temperatures and lots of sweaters.
Maybe this more belongs in the “you know you’re getting old when” thread, but I strongly suspect it won’t be long until wood as a primary heat source will seem like something straight out of a Wild West tale for most city dwellers.

But Seattle is a city, a pretty good sized one, where it wasn’t at all uncommon as recently as a couple-three decades ago for houses to be heated with woodstoves. The area is blessed by geography and weather to have relatively clean air, but when atmospheric conditions prevent the wind from carrying away the airborne funk, there come directives not to burn wood, the homes with wood as the only adequate heat source excepted.

Now I’m in greater Denver, a locale decidedly NOT blessed with clean air. Like all the houses in this generic suburban subdivision, ours has a fireplace in the living room. I’ve never used it, and doubt I ever will. And my nose rarely picks up the smell of a wood fire anywhere around here.

Air pollution aside, wood as a heating fuel leaves much to be desired. Wood (and/or coal) burning basement furnaces still exist, which provide more or less even heat distribution throughout the structure. The people across the street from our family house were still using one in the early 1970s, but with that exception, in my world it was woodstoves and fireplace inserts.

A nice toasty house with a well-stoked woodstove at 10 p.m. was chilly at 6 a.m., and would be for an hour or so until a fresh fire warmed up the place.

Turning a thermostat is a helluva lot easier.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
31,067
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
My grandparents' house never had central heating -- there were two kerosene stoves, one in the kitchen and one in the living room, and the place was absolutely brutal in the morning. First person up had to light the fires, and it was no fun it all when that person was me. My mother still complains about growing up in that house, and having to go to bed at night in the winter fully dressed, with a coat on.
 

Turnip

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,548
Location
Europe
Same here. My grandma‘s house had a coal fired oven in the living room and a LNG fired oven in the kitchen, that was it, only warm water from a boiler in the kitchen. In winter we often had ice flowers upstairs on the windows in the morning.

Even the relative new blocks I lived in as a kid just had one coal fired oven in the living room, no central heating. We luckily lived first floor that time so we just had two stairs to drag the coal bucket up from the coal cellar.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,421
Location
London, UK
It's definitely another shift in home design. My parents had a new house built in 1990, which included a traditional open fire. When they moved, they went to a house with a gas fire; not sure what their current newbuild bungalow is. Open fires of all sorts are fast dying out across most of London. Not so much environmental regulations ('smoke-free' fuel is readily available), but more a combination of renovations of older houses replacing fireplaces with either electric or boarding them up altogether, and most people living in flats or HMOs reducing the commonality of the family fireplace. My own flat is in a purpose-built, post-war block opened in 1951. I miss having a fireplace, though I certainly wouldn't trade one off for central heating. I remember my grandparents' house before central heating, electric blanket in the Winter, them getting up every morning to light the fire and it being cold downstairs... the convenience of central heating is not something I'd want to lose. If I can ever afford a house in London, though, I'd love an open fireplace - and a firepit in the garden outside.
 

Who?

One of the Regulars
Messages
278
Location
Vernon, CT
I know a guy who still heats with wood.

It is a back-breaker, and he is always handling wood, moving it around, and whatever else is required.

I think he burns three or four chords a year, which is a lot of wood. I have no clue what he does with the ash.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,421
Location
London, UK
I know a guy who still heats with wood.

It is a back-breaker, and he is always handling wood, moving it around, and whatever else is required.

I think he burns three or four chords a year, which is a lot of wood. I have no clue what he does with the ash.


The open fire was a bourgeois luxury in my parents' house, something put on in the depths of Winter, when guests were in, as the central heating really was adequate, but for all that it was lovely. Our ashes got dumped out onto the compost heap as I recall; you'd often see a trail of sooty footprints between that and the house when the cat discovered what I guess he took to be an outside toilet!
 
Messages
13,224
Location
Orange County, CA
Made in Germany products are crap, in general, since the 2000s.
Our old West-Germans can exactly differ between three eras, especially kitchen devices. They say, the kitchen devices from the 60s were strong and built for half a lifetime. The ones from the 80s were still old school reliable, but not more so super longlasting. But the stuff since the 2000s is much more cheaper made and not reliable, too.
If you're clever, you just hold on the simple metal Moka pot. ;)
Because it's all made in China. It seems that they do most of the world's manufacturing, not just the USA.
 
Messages
11,463
Location
Southern California
As I've mentioned before, my wife grew up in the suburbs just south of Chicago; she moved with her parents and older sister to southern California in 1976. During the early winter months one year she traveled to the Chicago area in order to attend a cousin's wedding, and on the day of her return she called from the airport while she was outside having a cigarette, and made a point of telling me, "I love my family, but I'm never coming back to Chicago during winter again. I'm freezing my *** off!" :eek:
 
We bought a high-dollar fireplace insert this past year and heated the farm house with it exclusively over the Winter. It is messy and a lot of work, but when we heard that propane was going to triple in price it made economic sense. We currently have an abundance of wood as we had many hardwood trees blown down a couple of years ago. We will have that insert paid off in two years if propane remains expensive. The timing was also good as I think I've fixed all I can on the 1969 model propane furnace and it probably would not have made it through the heating season. I will have to spend a good chuck of money to replace that before winter so we can leave the house for a day or two without fear of freezing the pipes. Now, let's talk about the lack of air-conditioning ... :eek:
 

Tiki Tom

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,593
Location
Oahu, North Polynesia
One of my best childhood memories is of a black, cast iron, potbelly stove we had in the little shack that we used as a vacation cabin in the mountains. No toilet in the place, just an outhouse. Anyway, most evenings were spent sitting around the potbelly stove, with the little front hatch door open, watching the flames. Afternoons I’d occasionally help my dad splitting wood out back. I’m sure I was more of a nuisance than a help. The “cabin” was sold after my parents passed away. The place was torn down and replaced in the first decade of this century with a proper place with indoor plumbing And all the amenities.
 
Messages
12,637
Location
Northern California
Three to seven houses around here burned down as a result of safe and sane and illegal fireworks from the 2nd to the 4th of July. The local fire department is still trying to determine whether or not four of the lost houses were the result of fireworks. There were a number of other fires put out as a result of fireworks as well. None of this is surprising as the number of fireworks being set off on the fourth was greater than ever. It was nonstop for hours. Strangely, it was pretty calm yesterday.
:D
 
Messages
12,637
Location
Northern California
Early morning risers who are loud. I am annoyed with loud people in general especially those who are loud just because they love the sound of their own voice. I am an early riser who realizes that many are not. I hold off on outdoor projects out of respect for those who would rather sleep in. Why is this not the norm?
:D
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,421
Location
London, UK
Early morning risers who are loud. I am annoyed with loud people in general especially those who are loud just because they love the sound of their own voice. I am an early riser who realizes that many are not. I hold off on outdoor projects out of respect for those who would rather sleep in. Why is this not the norm?

I hear you on that! This is where electric vehicles will be very welcome as they roll out - at least it's one less noise to disturb the neighbourhood in the wee hours. ;)

Because it's all made in China. It seems that they do most of the world's manufacturing, not just the USA.
I've had a lot of great stuff that was made in China and qualitatively the equal of anything made anywhere else. Of course, while it may have been cheaper, it wasn't cheap. The Chinese rubbish I've encountered was almost exclusively cheap tat made down to a price point on the specification of whichever international business had ordered it.... Mind you, 99% of the time, in my opinion it's the customer is to blame for not being prepared to pay what something decent would cost. Supply and demand, an aw tha.

For sure, though, China has been the world's workshop for some time now. Way back, things were moved to Japan because that was where Labour was cheap, then Korea, then Taiwan, now mostly mainland China. I've noticed Indonesia and Vietnam increasingly cropping up, while the Indian subcontinent is a very common one for clothes, at least on the UK market. Turkey seems to have developed quite the denim industry. The murmurs I keep hearing are that Africa will be the next big manufacturing hub. A lot of manufacturing will keep moving where labour is cheapest, it seems. Of course cutting quality of materials is another way to save money. It'll be interesting to see if the "slow fashion" ethos catches on more widely as environmental concerns focus more on sustainability. Course, I'm sure there are all sorts of other trends involved too: here in London, with so many people now living in HMOs and moving at least annually well into their thirties, a lot of folks are reluctant to spend money on furniture that might not work in their next place, or that costs significantly to move. All inks in the ecosystem!
 

Who?

One of the Regulars
Messages
278
Location
Vernon, CT
As I've mentioned before, my wife grew up in the suburbs just south of Chicago; she moved with her parents and older sister to southern California in 1976. During the early winter months one year she traveled to the Chicago area in order to attend a cousin's wedding, and on the day of her return she called from the airport while she was outside having a cigarette, and made a point of telling me, "I love my family, but I'm never coming back to Chicago during winter again. I'm freezing my *** off!" :eek:
Some years ago, we were invited to to Chicago in January to see #3 granddaughter perform in a string-orchestra thingy.

When we heard about it, the first thing I said to my Other Half was “No sane person goes to Chicago in January.“ I knew this because my paternal grandparents lived in Oak Park, so all through my childhood I was exposed to the city.

We went to the concert, and while we were in Chicago we indeed froze our arses off.
 

Who?

One of the Regulars
Messages
278
Location
Vernon, CT
I don’t really know where to put this, because it really doesn’t irk me, it’s just something I wonder about.

I don’t understand why so many fret about whether or not they can “pull off” wearing a certain type of hat. Usually it will be a concern with western hats, but also other types.

My thought is “Don‘t worry about it, just wear the bleeping hat, and see what happens.”

No one is going to approach you on the street and say “Excuse me, Sir, but you really look like a total dork wearing that hat, and you should go home and burn it.” (if they do, you need to relocate immediately)

I (a tall, bent, scrawny, bearded 80+ year-old) stalking around New England, wearing a western or an outback hat every day whenever I go outside, attract a surprising number of positive and complimentary comments, from both men and women.

There is one caveat though ……… If you don’t appear self-confident, you probably will look like a total dork.

Again, just try it, you may be surprised.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
31,067
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
I hear you on that! This is where electric vehicles will be very welcome as they roll out - at least it's one less noise to disturb the neighbourhood in the wee hours. ;)


I've had a lot of great stuff that was made in China and qualitatively the equal of anything made anywhere else. Of course, while it may have been cheaper, it wasn't cheap. The Chinese rubbish I've encountered was almost exclusively cheap tat made down to a price point on the specification of whichever international business had ordered it.... Mind you, 99% of the time, in my opinion it's the customer is to blame for not being prepared to pay what something decent would cost. Supply and demand, an aw tha.

For sure, though, China has been the world's workshop for some time now. Way back, things were moved to Japan because that was where Labour was cheap, then Korea, then Taiwan, now mostly mainland China. I've noticed Indonesia and Vietnam increasingly cropping up, while the Indian subcontinent is a very common one for clothes, at least on the UK market. Turkey seems to have developed quite the denim industry. The murmurs I keep hearing are that Africa will be the next big manufacturing hub. A lot of manufacturing will keep moving where labour is cheapest, it seems. Of course cutting quality of materials is another way to save money. It'll be interesting to see if the "slow fashion" ethos catches on more widely as environmental concerns focus more on sustainability. Course, I'm sure there are all sorts of other trends involved too: here in London, with so many people now living in HMOs and moving at least annually well into their thirties, a lot of folks are reluctant to spend money on furniture that might not work in their next place, or that costs significantly to move. All inks in the ecosystem!
You really have to wonder about the long-term viability of any system that has as its foundation the continued availability of cheap labor.
 
Messages
11,463
Location
Southern California
Early morning risers who are loud. I am annoyed with loud people in general especially those who are loud just because they love the sound of their own voice. I am an early riser who realizes that many are not. I hold off on outdoor projects out of respect for those who would rather sleep in. Why is this not the norm?
:D
Because most people are selfish *jerks who don't care about anyone but themselves.


*Not the term I really wanted to use, but with this being a family friendly forum...well, you know.
 

Tiki Tom

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,593
Location
Oahu, North Polynesia
There is a pop-up church (new to me, we didn’t have such things in Vienna) that uses a covered parking lot near us. Every Sunday morning, starting about 9:00, their Christian rock’n’roll band fires up very loudly. I have heard better teenaged garage bands. Please. I just want a quiet Sunday morning. I can’t help but wonder if they are violating some ordinance. But so far no one has told them to cease and desist.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,421
Location
London, UK
You really have to wonder about the long-term viability of any system that has as its foundation the continued availability of cheap labor.

It certainly seems that there has to be a backlash sooner or later - as with pretty much any trend. There surely has to be a point at which there are no more corners to cut and still be able to produce a marketable product. The 'slow fashion' / 'buy sustainable' ethos is still pretty niche, but I suspect it's going to start to catch on... at least among those of us who can afford it. "Disposable" culture rubs my fur up completely the wrong way, but I'm reluctant to criticise those who buy it because it's all they can afford.

There is a pop-up church (new to me, we didn’t have such things in Vienna) that uses a covered parking lot near us. Every Sunday morning, starting about 9:00, their Christian rock’n’roll band fires up very loudly. I have heard better teenaged garage bands. Please. I just want a quiet Sunday morning. I can’t help but wonder if they are violating some ordinance. But so far no one has told them to cease and desist.

There was a group like that used to meet on a Sunday morning in a hired auditorium in our local cinema. Neighbours complained regularly to the cinema, but any pleas from the management to the church group to turn it down a little were variously dismissed along the lines of taking it as an "attack on God". In the end, the cinema had to stop hiring out to them.
 
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