Yes I'm still alive and still living out here near Bragg Creek Alberta. I see people are still investigating this blog and I figured it is about time I gave an update. I had let this blog slide because I was having internet issues at the time and I just plain got out of the habit of posting to it. Sorry about my negligence.
Shortly after I last posted in late July I was asked by an old long-time employer if I would consider coming back. After clearing the table of a few issues we had had, I started back there about mid-August. It pays not to burn bridges. It has worked out nicely and I am very happy to be back working there.
My set-up out here has changed somewhat so I will bring you up to date. The biggest change has been a huge upgrade to my wood-heating arrangement. My brother and I had talked about the advantages of burying the wood stove and ducting in sand so that the sand acts as a "heat battery" once hot. This idea needed to done outside so I began to plan and build it back in September. I wanted the ducting to be through the dining room window this year instead of the more forward living room setup last year. This reason plus needing room for the heat battery on my pad necessitated facing the coach the opposite direction on the pad. Here are some pictures to get us started and to clarify what I did. My good friend Denis (a welder by trade) was instrumental in the building of my heat battery. Thanks Denis!
As you can see it is a cinder block structure including a cinder block floor. All cinder blocks were stuffed with pink insulation. The floor is topped with 1/4 inch concrete board. Particle board was secured to the outside and then Denis framed the whole thing with angle iron to ensure everything held together. There needed to be a piece of plate steel fitted around the front of the stove and across the entire sand cavity in order to keep the sand from leaking out the front. I used the same u-shaped ducting arrangement on top of the stove from last year but this year it is buried in sand of course. I had a dump-truck load of sand delivered and filled up the structure to almost the top. Then I laid R-12 insulation batts on top of the sand and covered the top with 1/2 inch plywood. I had a bit of trouble fitting the chimney through the top so as not to set the plywood on fire. The first test-burn did set the top on fire after a while so that was all redesigned using old bricks I found on the property. Here is a picture of the first burn test. That is my brother Scott in the picture.