Here's the link to her blog where you can read about her fire issues:
I mean this in the most constructive of ways! I felt like an idiot last year when I struggled to keep the stove lit. Remember that I was trying to housetrain Maggie too, so had her attached to me on a 6 foot leash ALL the time I was home, even sleeping. I would come home from work, take the dogs out, light the fire, then start thinking about dinner. But think about dinner is all I could do. Because if I stepped away from the stove for even 5 minutes, the fire would go out. Then I'd scream, cry or both and re-light the fire. I had to re-light the fire a lot, because the dogs and I didn't have a schedule yet (I got them at the beginning of November last year). And because Maggie wasn't housetrained - if she even looked a little funny, it was outside for all of us, like 10 times an evening. I was attached to the stove (and Maggie) for hours, until the fire got warm enough to self-sustain. Usually, that was around bed time. And then the fire would go out overnight.
I never had the energy or time to go through that routine in the mornings, so mornings were just cold. (Actually mornings weren't all that cold. I kept the thermostat at 60 degrees, but still went through an entire tank of oil a month for three months. Expensive! Then I lowered it to 50 degrees.) I'd come home from work every evening, prepared to do battle with the stove and the dogs thinking, "it can't be this hard! This isn't the way normal people do it!" But I didn't know how normal people DID do it, so I continued to struggle.
FINALLY, at the end of January a friend came over and showed me how to use all the levers on the woodstove, and helped me hang contractors plastic to close off 2/3 of the house. It was like day vs night! It got a little warmer inside (I could never get it warmer than 58), but I stopped using oil like it was rushing out the bottom of the tank. From February through October, I only used 1/4 tank of oil, because now I could keep the fire lit 24 x 7, and I was only trying to heat part of the house.
Anyway - that's all a distant memory now. I read Suzanne McMinn's blog about her struggles keeping the fire lit and constant re-lighting of her fire, and I can smile now. I'm only a year ahead of her on that, but she does so many things well that I can't help but realize - what I was going through was exactly what normal people do!
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