Monday, November 28, 2011

Adventures on the Farm

Yes, that's me 25 years ago, up on the roof out at the farm, cleaning the chimney. The old house built in 1908 had hot water heat with a furnace in the basement that had been converted to burn oil. It worked quite well except for the amount of oil it burned and the cost even back in those days. We bought an "earth type" wood burning stove  which heated the downstairs very efficiently but it had to be "stoked" twice a day. One morning we found that the stove had very little draft and by using mirrors in a chimney hole, realized it was nearly plugged with soot. Our old farm truck provided a good base for the 32' ladder to put me in position to be a Chimney Sweep.

My first efforts were to snake a log chain down the chimney but it was clogged to the extent that not even the chain could get through. The next tool was a 2 foot length of 4 inch channel beam that penetrated the soot with a few jabs. Next came a piece off an old go-dig that had rough edges and finally a weighted burlap bag; all of these "tools" attached to the end of a 24 foot log chain. Once we had the chimney cleaned, we took down all the stove pipes and cleaned them. Can you imagine the mess. Three years later when we sold the farm, we left the wood stove and gave the new owners ample instruction on its care and potential danger. Unfortunately, they were only there a few years and the next owners had a chimney fire that did considerable damage. Our life back on the farm for those 9 years, while holding down a demanding State job,  was an interesting adventure.  I'm glad we had it while we were "young".

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