Thursday, January 13, 2011


We burn wood.  At our proper house, it is the main heat source.  Up here at the homestead, it will be the only heat in the cottage.

One of my goals here is to learn how to harvest the wood we need in a sustainable, forest-friendly way.  For starters, that means taking what nature and a strong wind offer.
The volunteers above came down a week ago or so, when we had a trace of snow up here.  Don't know why they came down, we are just grateful they did no damage.  The bigger one was about 20' of good wood; the smaller was a little pithy, but burnable. 

One thought I had while stacking them was to be sure to come back this spring and gather them up.  There are a smattering of similar piles around the property, diligently cut up, never collected, now rotten.  In fact, I looked up from my stacking to see just such a pile.  (Sometimes, I am not so observant...)
I made a commitment to myself, and to you, our legion of readers, that I WILL collect this pile of wood.

To be fair, there had never been a woodstove up here, so there was little point to gethering the wood.  I am greedy about firewood, and therefore very motivated.

Our driveway is about a quarter mile long, and winds up through the lower woods.  They were logged about a decade ago, so the trees are small to medium sized.
Right now there are 7 or 8 trees down on either side of it.  The one below is half a tree; it snapped off last winter.  My mid-winter goal is to get them cut up, extracted and stacked.
Why now?  Poison Oak!  We don't have a lot of it, but we do have it.  After these woods were logged, the Scotch Broom and Poison Oak took advantage of the light and space and had a growth spurt.  We would love to get down there and clean it up, but somehow weeding several acres of forest has not made it to the top of our list.

Right now, the Poison Oak is dormant, or so I fervently hope.  Without its tell-tale leaves, it is also invisible.  I don't have any idea if I am standing in the middle of it or not. 

In an effort to have an easily removed outer layer, I am wearing my rubber boots, which can be slipped on and off, and my rain bibs, which go all the way down. If I rub against any itchy oils I hope to keep them away from my skin.
I am going to press on with the hope of having it all out of the woods by the end of February.  I don't know if it is enough for next winter, but it will be a good start.  And since this winter is not over yet, we may get some more volunteers.


  1. Good work, and good for you I say from my desk where my task is only to move my fingers across a white surface.......enjoy that fresh air and nice writing. C

  2. Hi Pepper. Thanks for the note. Yes, we get plenty of fresh air up here. Sometimes that fresh air moves a little faster than one might like, but that comes with the territory.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. I LOVE firewood and feel very greedy about it too. Probably because I HATE being cold. Our house is very leaky still so I keep a very close eye on how much we have. We are running out of the wood we had left over and collected from last year but we have a lot of scrap wood left from our house reno. The scrap wood is used as the starter for the wood stove. We want to finish burning that as we have to throw away all the ash since it has lots of nails in it. The last dump trip we had a trash can and a half of the stuff.

  4. Hey Robin. We have the scrap wood situation too, a big pile of it. Most needs to be cut down to fit into the stove and since we are not burning wood right now, it sits in the rain. This summer I hope to get it under cover.

    I wish there was a way to burn blackberry canes in the wood stove. I have to cut them anyway, it would be nice if we could get some use out of them.

    Thanks for the comment.


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