First Garn - A toast to the heating season!

From Peter Allison: I fired up the Garn today for the first time in over 2 years since leaving then returning to the hill. I must say, I had some trepidation, but it was more of a cloudy sense of uncertainty rather than a raging worry. Presumably, I would have done something other than ask if we are using both Garns these days if it was the latter, in advance of my 5:45 truck up the path this morning. I woke up at about 4:30 as I often do, and started to run through in my mind how does one start the Garn. I remembered that there is this period of figuring out what condition things are in - if they are still burning, are there ashes - hot or not, and what is the status of the wood in the cart. 

I decided to get up there a bit early as I have to leave at 7 for a meeting in Southern VT today. That was a good thing for my anxiety level. Fortunately, captain Bill Stack was the closer for the Tuesday crew and the place was spotless, with full carts and some very cute pieces of kindling laid across the top calling out to be first in the fire. "Take me", they sang. I realized that one of the fans was running, and wondered if some eager beaver had decided to just get the pot rocking early, but then I remembered that Jesse and Bonnie were at their cabin - so that couldn't be it -  I guessed it's just a function (malfunction?) of the old Garn's fan cycle or switch. Anyway, I found an empty metal bucket from the wood room, picked out the shovel of my choice from the fabulous collection of tools hung with care on the opposite wall of the Garn (kind of like the stockings in that Night Before XMas meme), and scooped out most of the ashes, leaving enough to add some paper, cute kindling and see if the thing would take. Walla - I was in business. I then tried to remember how to find all the data to record on the sheet. Which button do I push to get the read-out on Tank Temp and Outside Temp, etc, and how do I know if it's cloudy because it's dark out and really there isn't a place to record that even though the column heading asks for it - but Bill didn't do it, so I figured I was good with 43. Then I started the Garn room jig, where I walk around with clip board in hand trying to find the right meters that have the other info, and wondering (as now I remember wondering for many years in the past) why 6 is closest and 4 and 5 are further away, but the numbers on the chart go 4, 5, 6. And, oh, there are those sneaky BTU's.  And, I admit, I don't remember and could not determine how to figure out if the pump was on or off. I'll find an expert to ask about that before next week. 

Anyway, I moved on to Garn 2 - the new kid. I figured I had it down now, but after removing the ashes, putting in some paper, adding kindling (this grouping was more handsome than cute), I remembered that I had to start the fan.  I figured pushing Start would be a good choice. But it didn't Start, in fact nothing happened. I found the note that says if it doesn't start or the screen is blank, turn Off then On. I turned the On to Off, then back to On and pushed Start again. Again nothing. I reread the note, dated in pencil 2013, and wondered if there was another clue somewhere in the joint. Ignoring Einstein's advice about not just continuing to do the same thing if it doesn't work in hopes that it will - or something like that - I just kept pushing Start. Finally it went on. So there, Einstein - I guess even he was not really an "Einstein". Anyway, I cleaned up, put wood in the cart, trying to be as thoughtful if not as fashionable as Bill in my final layout, and went outside. 

It was then that I first heard the whooshing. Oh crap. I remembered that you need to put a brick in the front of the Garn. So I put a brick in the front of both Garn boxes. Then I went outside again, and I still heard Whoosh. I went back in and read the treatise on wood and brick placement, with useful info on distance from front and back for wood and the distance between front and the wood for placement of the brick, along with the reasonings (ashes in flue, cracking bricks, etc).  I made a few adjustments. Went outside. Whoosh. Back in for more adjusting. I now remembered that bricks get very hot after being in a fire, even with a glove on. I found tongs from the carefully hung tool rack and moved the brick around more. Knocked it over. I wasn't able to carefully place it with the tongs. Took it out as it was too hot to handle, picked up a cool brick from the floor and placed it by hand per instructions. I went outside and convinced myself that none of the noises I was hearing was a real Whoosh, but rather just the whirl of the fan. I hope that's the case. 

I guess this qualifies as my 15 minute morning writing exercise today. Moreover, I guess I better get a shower in and out the door. 

Toast to the Heating Season!

 feeding the garn

feeding the garn