Perspective

They say the devil is in the details and most people barely know the details of anything unless they are personally and intimately involved. Our understanding of details gives us a better perspective on the issues which helps us to make better decisions.  Unfortunately, we all believe that we know the necessary details because we either don’t ask for more or others aren’t telling. We might not even be listening because we don’t think it’s that important. But details are important and it is also important to get another’s perspective to help us better relate to others and the world around us. A broader perspective gives us greater respect and understanding for others and for life in general. What do they say, never judge someone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes? That’s very good advice.

Sometimes putting things into perspective can change our lives.

For example, statistically, most people are overweight. There are a zillion different diets from which to choose but there is no silver bullet. The process for losing weight makes sense when we consider the mathematical perspective. It is estimated that a person needs to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. So, in general, if you cut about 500 to 1,000 calories per day from your typical diet, you’d lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week. That is a LOT of calories to cut from your diet but you have to do it if you want to lose weight. Conversely. a person will gain weight by eating more calories than they burn. Put things into perspective and you will maintain a healthy weight. I like potato chips but the scale doesn’t. I like fried foods but the scale doesn’t like them and neither does my heart. I must keep my diet and calories in perspective if I want to maintain a healthy weight and avoid the big dirt nap. But I really like chips. And fried foods. And ice cream.

Sometimes putting things into perspective won’t change our lives but it’s important to know the details.

When people learn that we burn wood to heat our home during the winter, they typically respond, “I love the smell of burning wood,” or “My grandparents heated with wood.” They are excited that we do things “the old-fashioned way.” They have no perspective on what it takes to heat a house with wood. This picture should help put things into perspective. This is maybe 2 days worth of firewood, depending on outside temperature, factoring in wind speed, and direction.

A cord of firewood is four feet tall, four feet wide, and eight feet long. Most people think one tree will give you about a cord of firewood. Not true. You might get a cord of firewood from two trees, depending on the size and type of the trees. We typically burn eight cords of firewood per winter.

But how do we get the firewood? Forget the forest fairies, they are no help at all. We have to fell the tree, cut it up, bring the wood from the forest to the house, split the wood, stack it and let it cure for a year before we can burn it. Then we have to carry it into the house and burn it, clean the ashes from the wood stove and dispose of them and let’s not forget that we have to clean the flue pipe regularly or the house will burn down. That’s a lot of hard work! I am 65-years-old. Heating with wood doesn’t sound so romantic and fun when you put all of these things into perspective, does it? By the way, you will rarely hear an overweight person say that they heat with wood. Reference the aforementioned example of perspective regarding calories.

Putting things into perspective might help us change someone else’s life.

We heat our animal shelter with kerosene heaters. Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? Kerosene costs $4.50 per gallon. The tank on each kerosene heater holds 1.9 gallons and burns for eight hours. We can easily go through seven or eight gallons per day (and usually more) when it’s cold outside. Let’s do the math. $4.50 times seven gallons per day times seven days equals $220.50. Remember, that’s per week. Winter doesn’t suddenly turn on for three months and then shut off. Cold weather eases in for about 4-6 weeks, hits hard for about 3 months, and then eases out another 4-6 weeks. The kerosene heaters have already been going this year. Last week, we spent $400 to refill our empty containers.

In addition to the cost of kerosene, we have to drive to get the containers refilled and then filter the kerosene before we can burn it. Water and pollutants in kerosene will cause the heater to burn unevenly, stink up the place and destroy the wick. Containers cost $18 each. We added four more this year. The battery-powered pumps that we use to filter and dispense the kerosene cost $22 each and we go through two per year. They are cheaply made and wear out. They require batteries. Batteries are not free. Our filters cost $20 each. We have two. Add the cost of heater wicks that need to be replaced periodically. We go through at least ten and sometimes fifteen wicks per year. Those cost around $15 each if we shop around for the best price.

Now when we say that we need to get more kerosene for WarmFuzzy’s you know the details and because of that, you now have a different perspective on what it takes to keep our fur babies warm during the winter. You can help us change lives.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a “teeth-chattering winter with plenty of snow” this year so we have to be prepared for this.

Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated!

Update: The wood in the previous picture combined with the wood in this one is not quite a cord of firewood. I still need to split it. Three trees. They were hit by lightning. We’re not cutting down healthy trees. I have a lot more cutting and splitting to do. I will cut firewood in the snow but I don’t want to if I don’t have to. I will not cut in the rain for safety reasons.

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