Please forgive us; here's another of our domestic mess.
This is our wood burner, which is a fireplace with a lid, and the main method of heating our house in the winter. As of last month, homes in our section of Nelson can apply for an interest-free loan to replace old fire places and wood burners. Our is old enough, and we qualify for the loan, and we have three choices: gas heating, electric heating, or a newer, more environmentally safe wood burners.
I am terrified of gas, so that's automatically out. Electric heating, including something called "heat pumps" have been popular here, but one heat pump guy told us the layout of our house wasn't suitable for a heat pump. Besides, in NZ, electricity supply can get iffy at times, so I'm not sure if we want to rely on electricity.
I love the ambiance of burning wood; our wood burner is what is called a "wet back"; it is connected to our hot water tank. Our hot water is normally heated electrically, but when the fire is going, some heat is sent to the hot water tank as well, producing nice, soft hot water. And sometimes that little screen on the wood burner is far more entertaining than the TV.
But with wood, we must buy them before or during the summer and let them dry completely. We must lug them all the way from outside the garage to the living room, or at least stack them outside the kitchen at some point. Burning wood slowly mark the walls and everything else in the room, and leaves a lot of dust and soot all over.
And the worst problem is, what's on offer is an interest-free LOAN, so we have to fork out the money one way or another.
In Central Nelson, open fire places will be banned very shortly. So this interest-free loan means sooner or later outdated wood burners will be banned in this section of town also.
Oh, the wine boxes? I carry the log in those, because right now the logs are downstairs, outside the garage door, where we get quite a lot of wind. We bought a bit additional wood mid-winter, and they need some more drying.
Post Script: I just heard on the radio, 9AM Tuesday, that there is to be no "old" fire places in Nelson by 2013. They proceed neighborhood by neighborhood, so I'm not sure if we're given that much time, however.