Our nights have been getting chillier, which means chilly mornings in the house. Frustratingly it's been too dry to safely light a fire in the woodstove -- couldn't take the chance a random spark might set something on fire -- but we decided to clean things out for when the weather cooperated.
So out came the stovepipe brushes.
Don removed the lower pipe from its sleeve...
...and we shone a light up the pipe. Definitely time to clean.
The technique we use is to punch a small hole in the bottom of a plastic bag with the rod end of the cleaning brush. Then I wrap the top of the bag around the stovepipe and hold it there while Don scrubs the pipe with the brush. This way all the ash falls into the bag instead of poofing into the living room.
As he shoves the brush upward and ever upward through to the top of the pipe, he screws on lengthener rods one by one. At last the brush bangs into the cap at the top of the pipe, thirty feet up. Then he reverses the procedure and scrubs his way down the pipe.
It's dirty work, despite the plastic bag.
A follow-up check shows the pipe is much cleaner.
A few days later, we had a foggy morning and decided it was okay to light the first fire of the season. Don brought in kindling from the shop...
...and the next morning I lit a fire.
It felt good to heat the house again.
Even after all these years of heating with wood, there's something magical about fires. They're comforting, soothing, cozy. They warm both body and soul.