Just so happens I had a dream last night the cabin burned to the ground & I lost absolutely everything (the capital invested in this property). Besides being stunned & horrified, I thought "Man, all that time I took to de-clutter - what a waste!"
I got thinking about chimney fires BIG TIME after reading littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com. I am adding this guy to blog roll - he has lived off the grid for over 30 years in someplace super freezing, as in Minnesota - hardcore guy and also writes insightful state of world financial affairs.
Chimney fires: clean flue every two week, burn combination hard & soft woods, burn hot fires (burn out creosote) especially after damping fire down.
Cabin burning down: always chance one takes living in California - especially as "managed fires" or fires that need to take place to clean out the riff-raff growth are stunted because people like me live here. The good news is there are many redwoods which are not easily burned & the cabin is down in a valley, as opposed to on top of a ridge.
It is not possible to get fire insurance - I have checked & once the insurance company maps out location: sorry, you are in a national forest - cannot be insured.
Just passing on a glimpse of practical things to consider if one has dreams of living in a cabin in the woods.
Simplicity: Heating with wood is not simple - there is a lot of tending the fire & if the temperature drops low one does not want to the fire to go out in the middle of the night.
Frugality: This category is a wild card - if one has source for free wood - great - otherwise a cord of wood is pricey - I have not had to pay for wood yet. But the fireplace is not only source of heat but a great cooking /drying spot: clothes, mushrooms, nuts, whatever. Have considered a propane heater from Craigslist, but now on the homestretch of colder times.
Another bonus: exercise carrying & chopping wood.
Design: Burning wood is carbon neutral. Nothing compares to gazing at wood burning - connects me to people from all times and places.