More Than Meets The Eye – Firewood: What to Buy & How to Store.


Buying and Storing Firewood
As the weather turns chillier nothing beats a nice, warm, roaring fire. But if you have wood burning fireplace, you’re going to need some firewood!

Knowing how to evaluate, buy, and store firewood is key to the safe, efficient operation of your fireplace, wood stove, or fireplace insert.

Before picking up the phone, it’s important to know exactly what you want to purchase so that you can clearly express that to the wood seller. This includes determining the quantity, species, and condition of the firewood, all of which affect its price.

How much to buy
Homeowners who intend to heat their homes through the use of a wood stove naturally will require more firewood than those who burn only the occasional fire for pleasure. A person who burns firewood as his or her primary heat source, for example, may require up to five cords of wood to get them through the season. In contrast, a weekend-only fire builder can likely get by on as little as a half-cord. For the casual but steady fire builder, one cord of wood should easily last through winter.

Measuring a cord of wood
A cord of wood is defined as a stack of cut firewood that measures 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, or any other arrangement that equals 128 cubic feet. The individual pieces must be stacked side by side rather than the looser crisscross style. Other measurement terms, such as ricks, racks, face cords and piles, have no legal meaning and are often banned by state weights and measurements agencies. Regardless what the load is called it should always be converted to cords or fractions thereof so that homeowners can determine if they are getting a fair price.

Seasoning the wood
Freshly cut wood is composed largely of water. Not only is this “green” wood difficult to ignite, but burning it can lead to a dangerous buildup of creosote, the cause of chimney fires. Properly “seasoned” firewood is wood that has been cut to length, split, and allowed to air dry for at least six months until the moisture content dips to around 20%. Dry wood will appear grayish in color and the pieces will begin to exhibit splits and cracks on the ends. Compared to freshly cut wood, seasoned wood feels light for its size.

Hardwood vs. softwood
It’s a common misconception that burning soft woods, such as pine and cedar, leads to dangerous creosote buildup. As long as the firewood is properly seasoned, it can safely be burned in a fireplace or stove regardless of species. But that doesn’t mean that all wood is created equal.

Tree species differ widely in the amount of heat they produce when burned. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and madrone produce almost twice the heat compared with softer woods, such as spruce, pine, and basswood. Fires built with hardwood not only burn hotter, they last longer, meaning the wood pile won’t get depleted as fast. Homeowners can expect to pay a premium for 100% hardwood, but should be cautioned against purchasing cheaper “mixed-wood” loads that may contain little actual hardwood.

Storing firewood
Homeowners should consider storage long before the firewood delivery truck appears in the driveway. A cord of wood takes up a significant amount of space, and if not properly stored your investment will quickly begin to rot. Firewood that is not stowed in a protected space like a garage or shed needs to be six inches off the ground. Firewood racks or simple pallets work well. If exposed to the elements, the wood pile should be at least partially covered with a waterproof tarp. Experts caution against storing the wood too close to the house for fear of inviting pests.

Average prices
Homeowners can expect to pay $75 to $150 for a half-cord and between $150 and $350 for a cord of hardwood delivered and stacked. To save some money, a person with a large truck may elect to pick up his or her own load at the wood lot.

To verify the quantity, species, and condition of the firewood, it’s wise to arrange the delivery for a time when you’re home. Experts say, inspect the wood for type and condition before it’s unloaded, though quantity can only be accurately measured after it’s stacked.

Maximize your fireplace efficiency
It’s true that a traditional wood fireplace can never rival the energy efficiency of a wood stove or even a fireplace insert, but there are ways a homeowner can trim heat loss. Fire-resistant glass doors not only reduce the volume of heated home air that escapes up the chimney, they help radiate heat back into the room. Similarly, a thick cast-iron fireback is an old-fashioned device that absorbs and emits energy in the form of radiant heat. Check the fireplace damper for leaks and always tightly seal it when the fireplace is idle.

(Source: House Logic, Douglas Trattner)

Announcing The Birch for Gracemere at Emerald Woods


The Birch Model for Gracemere at Emerald Woods- Irvington School District


Gracemere at Emerald Woods offers classic, farmhouse style colonials, reminiscent of the homes that have come to symbolize the Hudson River Valley country-side. Each residence features well-appointed kitchens, luxurious baths, spacious master suites and expansive family rooms. Set on one-acre,surrounded by protected green space. A picturesque community of 6 homes in the Irvington SD. Built by Joseph DeNardo. Located 37 minutes from NYC. Homes starting at $2,090,000

Images are artist’s representation and subject to change.

Introducing The Morgan for The Heritage Collection at Dearman Park

The Morgan Model for The Heritage Collection at Dearman Park

Introducing The Morgan for The Heritage Collection at Dearman Park.  An enclave of five finely crafted, semi-custom homes located in a central, yet discreet location in the heart of Irvington. Storybook architectural elements reminiscent of the charming colonials of the Hudson Valley are combined with the interior floor plan to address today’s families’ needs. All HC homes feature luxury kitchens and baths, family room with fireplace, formal living and dining rooms.  Walking distance to village, schools and transportation.  Located just 37 minutes from NYC.
Homes starting at: $1,590,000

Contact Cindy Kief for more information: 914-772-7880

Rivertowns Real Estate Market Stats: October 2013

The results are in! For October Headlines and Housing stats see links below:

Click Here for Irvington School District Activity
Click Here for Hastings-on-Hudson School District Activity
Click Here for Dobbs Ferry School District Activity
Click Here for Tarrytown School District Activity
Click Here for Ardsley School District Activity

NY Times features Irvington, NY!

In case you missed it, Elsa Brenner published an article in the New York Times about one of our beautiful Rivertowns, Irvington! A great article which gives you a great slice of life in Irvington from what there is to do to, how the schools measure up, and even a little history.

Click for the article:
NY Times “Irvington, N.Y., Nature Near the Upper West Side”


10 Great Ways to Avoid The Back-to-School Clutter

How can you avoid annual back-to-school clutter and make everyone less depressed and stressed?

Andrew Mellen, author of Unstuff Your Life!, offers his organizational holy trinity:

Designate a home for everything. Every backpack, skirt, homework assignment must have its own place. Get the kids in the habit of placing everything where it belongs.
Place like with like. All pencils go in one bin; permission slips in one clear envelope; coats on the same row of hooks. Something in; something out. When you buy something new, you get rid of something old. No exceptions! Here are more ways to escape back-to-school clutter.

1. Make a list. Impulse buying is deadly when shopping for school clothes, supplies, field trips, and sports stuff. Take an inventory, make a list of must-haves, and follow it exactly. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t come into the house.

2. Unpack immediately. Don’t pile up shopping bags full of supplies. Unpack and organize as soon as you bring the bags into the house. That way, you’ll avoid day-before-school chaos.

3. Create a Mommy/Daddy binder. Geralin Thomas, a pro organizer featured on A&E’s show “Hoarders,” says parents should make for themselves a three-ring binder that contains kids’ immunization records, lists of active medications, pediatrician telephone numbers — the information they refer to and write on forms frequently during the school year.

4. Establish a homework zone. Kids’ rooms, dining room table, kitchen counter — just pick a place. Stock the spot with bins, jars, or rolling caddies with school supplies — pens, papers, glue sticks — so kids don’t have to hunt for what they need.

5. Color-code your kids. Assign each child a color: Billy’s blue, Mary’s red. Buy basics — binders, towels, toothbrushes, slippers — in those colors for easy sorting and cleanup.

6. Pick a staging spot. This is where kids put their ready-to-go backpacks each night before bed. In the morning, they just grab and go.

7. Give each child a sports bin. A place in the mudroom or entryway where each kid can put their kneepads, helmets, ballet shoes — all the equipment they need for lessons, practices, and games. Also, tape a checklist for each sport above each bin; i.e., Baseball: cleats, mitt, bat, hat. That way, kids won’t forget what they need.

8. Update the family calendar. Update your trusty wall calendar daily. Make sure your schedule is on the calendar too, so kids know when you’re available for conferences and carpools.

9. Digitize the family calendar. Your computer calendar has all kinds of digital features that will help keep everyone on schedule. Sync your computer calendar with cell phones so everyone knows where they need to be.

10. Sign and return permission slips immediately. If slips hang around, they become clutter and disappear. Get in the habit of signing and returning the next day.

Courtesy of: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Dobbs Ferry High School Named New York State “Reward School” for Second Straight Year

This is great news for The Village of Dobbs Ferry! Click Here to read the full press release. Other Westchester area high schools receiving Reward School status include: Ardsley, Hastings, Irvington, and Briarcliff among others.