1. Construction not only uses a lot of wood, but wastes a lot of wood. The neighbor that gave us the huge pile of construction scraps said that if people don't take it to burn it goes in the landfill (Why don't they chip it and give it to landscape companies?)
2. Don't forget to bring in a pile of wood before you go to bed because the last thing you want to do in the very early morning is run out in your bathrobe and coat to get a load of wood while praying that the neighbors don't see you.
3. The first 1 1/2 stove fulls of wood don't heat your home, they heat the stove so that the stove can eventually start heating your home.
4. Kids love to sit by the fire and then roll on the floor pretending they are actually on fire.
5. If you are OCD about checking your doors, windows, lights, and kids before going to bed you shouldn't use a wood stove to heat the house. My bedtime checking routine is ridiculous. I have even turned back home, halfway to the library, because, even though I new I had checked it, I couldn't remember what I saw or did when I had checked the fire before leaving. (I'm not clinically OCD but I annoy myself many times with my "tendencies")
6. Kids may logically know not to play near the fire but it won't stop them from melting plastic toys against the stove just to see what will happen (Surprisingly it was NOT Monster Man who did this... and did it repeatedly. But I will protect the identity of the heavily-lectured-to child)
7. Don't carry superwoman sized loads of wood into the house when you are pregnant. Having sciatic nerve spasms are not fun for anyone when mom is shrieking in pain every now and then. Don't worry, I've learned my lesson.
8. Using a wood stove to heat your house can suddenly change your whole outlook on the usual post Christmas pile of cardboard boxes. Cardboard is great for starting fires.
9. PRIME YOUR FLU. If the fire has been out long enough for the chimney to get cold it causes air to come from the outside in. So, when you light a fire the initial smoke will just pour into your house, giving everything that lovely just-came-home-from-camping smell. To prevent this you have to light a bunch of newspaper right up close to the chimney opening. This also means that I end up with soot on my arms and hands and must wash before I touch anything.
10. Don't get competitive with your husband over who lights the better fire because one day you will be in a rush and will light the kind of fire you are always preaching against and you will have to eat your own crow.
11. The trick to good wood stove usage is to maintain a constant, steady heat. If you pile the wood stove super full to try and reduce the amount of feedings you have to give it all you will do is waste wood, over heat the house for a small amount of time, and it will also burn up fast without leaving coals so you will most likely have to start the fire again.
12. If you smell smoke, don't wait till your hubby smells it too, run and check it out. We had a smoldering coal in a cold stove and it was filling our entire basement with nasty smelling smoke.
13. Keep baby blankets piled in the same room as the wood stove. These will be needed for performing the smoke detector dance whenever someone doesn't properly heat up the flu (or for situations like the one above). My kids know their stations and their jobs. It makes me glad I have so many of them (kids) because we have a lot of smoke detectors.
14. I've seen a lot of money saving tips on tv before. You know the ones that counsel you to drink coffee every other day, to go without a pedicure, get sensible haircut that will last, change your own oil, and to grocery shop with a list, all to save you a whopping $235 a year! I always laughed at these because I've never been able to afford a pedicure anyway. Well, putting up with a little extra work and few extra burns has saved us a whopping $2,000 this year (yes, it costs that much to heat this place, thus our reason to do this crazy thing in the first place) so take that, all you pedicured coffee drinkers! =)