Dateline: 11 October 2015
As explained in blogs past, we heat our house with firewood only, using a wood stove. I bought the stove used when we built the house some 30 years ago. We burn 10 to 15 face cords of wood every winter. It's a simple, inexpensive, dependable approach to heating a home. I'm sure I've saved many thousands of dollars over the years by not having a more sophisticated heating system.
For almost all the years we have heated with wood, I have purchased the wood from a neighbor. He is a small-scale dairy farmer who has augmented his low farm income by selling firewood to the locals. His prices have been very reasonable. But this year when we called to order our yearly supply of wood, he inform us that it was all spoken for. This was totally unexpected, and it presents us with something of a crisis.
It is October and, though the weather is not bad at this time, we have had snow in October in past years. There is some wood in our wood shed from last year, but not a lot. So I bought a truck load of firewood logs, as you can see in the picture above.
The man I bought the logs from didn't know how many face cords were in the load, but a friend who has bought similar loads says it is about 30 face cords. The cost was $700. Not bad when you consider that it will heat my house for two years.
It's nice wood. But it's green, which is to say, it is freshly cut and full of moisture, which is to say, it will be good firewood for the winters of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. But it really won't be good for this coming winter of 2015-2016.
I need dry wood, so I'm going to cut down several dead elm trees on the edge of my field, along with a few dead ones in the woods. That might get us through the winter. But probably not. I'll be looking to buy some seasoned firewood to help with the crisis.
My plan was to have the logs put off to the side of my property to season for a year before cutting them into chunks and splitting them. But the truck driver was concerned about driving on my lawn after a recent heavy rainfall, and there were overhead power lines to contend with. So he unloaded right by the road....
That's way too close to the road. The snow plow wing would surely hit the pile. So I'm faced with having to cut up the logs now, and then go and cut the dead elms.
The work is not a problem. I love cutting and working with firewood. It's a bit more of a physical challenge that in past years, but it's doable.
The problem is one of time. As usual, my Planet Whizbang business keeps me very busy most days until well past noon. And it gets dark earlier these days. So I'll be cramming to get my firewood issues taken care of. Oh, and I need to dig my potatoes. And plant some garlic. And Marlene has picked a LOT of apples to make more cider.
Thus it is that I must extend my blogging break a bit longer than I had expected. I have much to write about, but it will have to wait. And I have a YouTube 2-part video about making Whizbang apple cider that will also have to wait. And I was hoping to introduce an idea I developed (two years ago) for a new woodland sport, but that will have to wait. And making a production run of my new Whizbang tool for gardeners will have to wait. And...
So that's my story. I'll be back when my firewood crisis is resolved, (though I may return briefly for short blog post about a new Planet Whizbang product my youngest son is working on).
I'm sure you're busy too. Here's hoping you fellow Northerners finish all that you need to finish before the snow and bitter cold come.
Oh, one more thing, while I'm on the subject of firewood...
A two-wheeled garden cart is a great tool for moving firewood, especially heavy, water-laden chunks. You simply tip the front of the cart down by the wood and transfer it into the cart, then you can very easily lever the cart up and transport the load. This is much easier than lifting every chunk up over the edge of the cart.
|Click picture for larger view. And check out the tires.|
Of course, a Whizbang Garden Cart is better for this job than any other. But I'm using an old and decrepit cart of another kind for this job. That's because one of my Whizbang garden carts is holding my outdoor sink, and the other is chock full of apples. Note to self: make another cart.
I'm piling the chunks of wood on pallets by my wood shed, as this next picture shows. Pallets. Very handy on a homestead!