12 February

Shades Of Mary Poppins: The Chimney Sweep Cometh. (Breakout!)

by Jon Katz
Out Of Mary Poppins

Our wood stove wasn’t drawing properly, and this makes me uneasy. In an old farmhouse like we have, fire safety is not something to take lightly, and if creosote was building up in the stove, we wanted to get to it right away. Chimney fires can be a horror.

It was a miserable and icy weekend, and I couldn’t get anyone from the town to come look at our stoves, so I went online and found a company in Saratoga called Chimney Heroes, which caught my eye.

I was in need of a hero, the winter bites hard.

Jared showed up with Brandon this morning at the farm right on time, and I didn’t realize that the very idea of the Chimney Sweep (a British thing) was quite real. Jared had a top hat and an actual sweep. He had some powerful vacuums and scrapers I hadn’t seen before and he called me out of my office to look at the creosote. It was sobering.

He was not just a pretty hat, he also did a remarkable job. The stoves were, in fact, both clogged with creosote, he scraped so much out – buckets –  I felt extremely fortunate. He didn’t left a trace of soot or dirt, and was fun and friendly. The hat and sweet are a Saratoga gimmick, i think, no local sweep would be caught dead in one.

But then, Saratoga is full of swells and ex-New Yorkers, and getting their attention requires a bit of marketing. After, I was caught by the name. And they sure deliver.

Jared and Brandon were great and did a great job quickly and thoroughly, and our home is warm and toasty once more. They even gave me a detailed report, e-mailed me with photos and recommendations for the future within minutes of leaving. I think they know I’ll never read it or understand it, but I welcome these heroes into the Bedlam Farm family – Maria and I were much impressed.

Whenever any workman says “hey can you take a look at this,” wince. It is never good. Jared came to get me a half dozen times to check on all the junk in the stove pipes.

They’re sending me a wood stove management plan, so that this build-up never happens again, and I’m signing up. We are breaking out, going to see the movie we missed yesterday in the ice storm. Got to get out of the house.


  1. Yowza! What a handsome chimney sweep. Do you think he’d come out to New Mexico to clean out my Kiva fireplace? I just might be willing to pay the airfare. ;-}

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