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Aim at the Ideal.... Live in the Real

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by lowroadacres, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    This week marked a turning of the corner for our wood heat lifestyle. Without going into huge details our journey has been challenging but we finally feel like we are getting on top of things. I hope to begin posting photos in the next few days of our growing stacks of firewood. As well we are finally getting some solid equipment together for hauling wood home from a wood lot that is essentially our own even though it is on a neighbour's property. Yesterday morning I was able to get a small load of downed ash home.... Never mind the fact that I almost made my wife and I late for a wedding because I was having so much fun finding and cutting wood.

    We have rarely been ahead of schedule on wood and now we are still not ahead but we are making headway.

    The fact that we have wood now split and stacked in proper locations for drying and in a volume that could get us through next winter is a great feeling. What it has done though is motivated me to not slow down now but to get my butt in gear to continue cutting standing and lying dead wood to be further prepared.

    My wife has bought into the wood stacking being a part of the landscaping on our yard. She is especially pleased to know that I can stack in such a way as to "hide" the bark, sawdust and woodchips. We are eventually hoping that the entire perimeter of our yard will be lined with a wood fence.

    As the title of this post states, we are aiming at the ideal.... To have 2- 4 years of wood ready to go at any given time... But at the same time we are living in the real of doing our best with what we have.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Congratulations lowroadacres. You are thinking right. If you are pleased now and have a good feeling knowing you have all of this coming winter's wood ready, that good feeling will multiply once you get 2 or 3 years on hand. It is a feeling that is difficult to explain to most folks but when you get there, you will fully understand.

    I've been both praised and criticized for having as much wood on hand as we usually do. That's okay with me either way. The plain fact is that I'm not as young as I once was (well, nobody is), and I've had a couple of times when I could not put up wood for some long stretches in time. Sure, I have friends, neighbors and relatives who would gladly come in to help put up wood for us, but.... I just feel much better putting up our own wood. I love the work, I love the exercise and I dearly love working in the woods during the cold winter months. Therefore, I will continue having a large woodpile and if something bad happens and I can't put up wood for a year or more, there is no problem as we have enough wood for 6 or 7 years burning. The wood won't rot either but will certainly be dry by the time we burn it. Another plus is that sometimes we find some needy folks and I hand them some wood to get through the winter. Makes me feel good about giving and makes them nice and warm during the cold.
  3. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    Well I got back into the woods this morning and while I am no quads I was able to snap a few photos while hustling to get a load home.

    My puppy brained 8 year old Black Lab joined me for the adventure. This spot is less than half a mile from our yard and is chock full of Ash wood.

    Mosquitoes were a bit crazy early this morning but once the saw was buzzing it did it's own fogging and they backed off.

    Attached Files:

  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    NOTHING wrong with that set-up! Looks like your heating needs are over......
  5. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    For me the first year was the hardest. Cutting 2 years worth of wood was hard. Now I am 2+ years ahead. I burn 4 cord a year so all I have to do is cut 2 in the fall and 2 in the spring. I try to do more just in case. Once you get ahead it's pretty easy. Good luck.
  6. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Looks good to me and I love that the land is FLAT!

    Half Billy Goat
  7. bsig31r

    bsig31r New Member

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    Gives hope to a newbie like me. My wife thinks that I have wood on the brain. Hopefully she will buy into it sooner than later. How long did it take you to get up and running(tools, saws, hualer....etc)?
  8. mrsmarv

    mrsmarv Member

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    East Fishkill, NY
    We'll be going into the third year of burning and currently we have almost 8 cords of wood on-hand, with 5 cords being ready to burn. I long ago gave up on having the front of the house nicely landscaped. For us, our 8 cords of wood is landscaping LOL. I'm in the stack it as you go camp and am my husband's helper. I can even run a chainsaw and our logsplitter, even though the logsplitter is way easier to handle. You have a very nice set-up there.
  9. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    Some more photos... Explanation to follow shortly.

    Attached Files:

  10. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Looks great to me! You even taught your maul how to stand at attention, like any good maul should!
  11. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    The photos left to right are our stack by the house that is all that wonderfully available but not so great wood known as Box Elder/Manitoba Maple. We have lots and lots of it on our yard so rather than trucking it away we grit our teeth and prepare it as firewood. We have about 7-8 cords of it right now with 4 of those split and mostly seasoned with the other 3 or 4 cords in blocks and lengths right now.

    The view towards the house shows a basement window just to the right below that stack. This is where the wood goes in the house with no stairs or wheeling the wood around. When we have it to the window it goes into a large woodbox right there.

    The next picture is simply a wider view of the same spot.

    Then you can see where we are stacking in full sunlight at the north end of our house yard and the nearly completed double stack there is Ash. We are now leaving the box elder alone for a little while to focus on getting at least as much standing dead, bark falling off, beautifully drying dead Ash home as soon as possible.

    to Bsig31r you asked how long it has taken us to get setup with equipment? Over time we have had wood heat in a few different houses and if you are bored you can search my older posts for the long and winding road we have taken to get back to wood heat. We are not nearly where we want to be yet for heating appliances but we will get there. We burn wood in our small Drolet woodstove and in a masonry fireplace. We hope to upgrade the drolet to a much larger stove at some point and to fill the fireplace with an insert that is capable of throwing ridiculous amounts of heat into our home.

    The tractor is actually my Dad's and he "stores" it on our acreage as he is now a town dweller and he cannot stand the idea of a country yard without a tractor. This works for me and I do not complain.

    Since moving back to the prairies 17 years ago after 20 months in school on the wet coast I have not been without a chainsaw and a maul. Right now I think we have three mauls, two which are operational-one that needs a handle, we have 2 axes and we actually have a one man crosscut saw and a 2 man crosscut saw. I have dreams of getting to the point where our woodcutting uses minimal amounts of mechanical or fossil fuel involvement.

    We have considered having our own splitter but we can rent one for $50 per day so buying is not high on the list. If I stay ahead of things I can split as I go as I did this morning. My little trailer holds about 32 cubic feet of wood but I am thinking about adding sides to raise it up higher. When I did the math it blew me away that it can hold approximately a quarter cord. It is hard to believe but math apparently does not lie.
  12. Jaugust124

    Jaugust124 Feeling the Heat

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    lowroadacres,
    The title of your post says it all. That's my philosophy thus far. I'm a newbie that will be burning for the first time for heat this coming season. Right now I have just over 3 cords c/s/s and probably 1 more that needs splitting and I plan to continue building up my reserve to get at least 1 year ahead by fall, if not more so. I figure I might go through 3 cords as I will not be burning 24/7. If I can get 12-16 hrs of burning in per day then that will be a lot. I know some days won't come close to that.
    Due to my set up, I don't think the insert will heat my whole house anyway, just looking to keep the oil man from clenching his fingers too tightly around my neck.
    I try to do a little bit each day even if its just for an hour. With the heat we've been having that's about the most I can do anyway, plus all the other projects around here that need to be done.
    I guess what I'm saying is, I like your philosophy. Do what you can when you can.

    Jamie
  13. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    Well... Nothing I could do about it but now we will get another crack at stacking some of our shorter c/s/ and was stacked Ash.... Big brief Thunderstorm moved through last night and the stacking done by or junior stackers came a tumbling down. Oh well. It is still on the yard and still drying nicely. More exercise for all involved I guess.
  14. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I'm about three years ahead
    but I'm not getting any cutting done this year due to building a garage, demolishing another, and runnning 400 feet of pipe and electrical wire to the garages and well and houses.

    Being ahead comes in handy when projects bog down.

    Things happen.




    I like that trailer. Not quite sure why.
  15. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    billb3.... I know why I like the trailer... I have about 20 dollars invested in a trailer that can carry a quarter cord behind a tractor or a quad... I don't worry about scratching it or denting it. The only thing that could make it work better is if it were a dump trailer. A fella can't have everything though.

    I managed to get the stack that was victimized by the thunderstorm re-stacked this evening after taking the nephew and our older son fishing. No bites except the one's the mosquitoes took off of us.

    If all goes according to plan I will get my rump out of bed in time to get another trailer load home first thing before getting at the computer and phone for work.
  16. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    I think you can make that happen before you know it...if you do a little each day.
  17. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    Well, this morning that "little bit at a time" found its load limit. Tires almost hitting the box had me worried as it is a very short and steep drop off out of the bush right now until I cut further in and make the path such that I can pull through the bush.

    I actually cut more wood with one tank of mix and one fill of chain oil than I could safely load on the trailer. And to think I could have gone to the gym instead this morning and sat on a bike and watched TV.

    Attached Files:

  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Everyone starts somewhere . . . to paraphrase . . . the man (or woman) with a 1,000 cords of cut, split and stacked wood in their backyard starts with but one piece of wood . . . the key is to just plug away and sooner or later many folks will find that it is no longer work, but rather a great stress reliever to be outdoors cutting wood, splitting wood or stacking wood . . . and then it is enjoyable. Working with wood for me is always more play than work . . . if given a choice of jobs to do around the house I almost always would choose working with wood which is why my wife sometimes needs to keep me on task.
  19. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

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    I am with you entirely as I am far more interested in cutting wood and seeing the stacks grow than mowing lawn, working on house projects or (insert most activities here). With firewood you can clearly see progress as you go which I find incredibly energizing.

    Like so many things, a bit of balance goes a long way and I find that working in the bush helps provide a huge balance to the busy-ness of a people focused job.

    There are days when I would like nothing more than to cut wood for the entire day as the wood doesn't talk back, it doesn't have unrealistic expectations, I am the boss in the woods... you get the point. :)

    The really fun thing right now is where I have begun to cut there is so much wood it borders on obscene. Some of what I was cutting this morning was laid down by beavers who took what they wanted.... The bark and the branches.... and left me the rest.

    This morning I remembered to take the wheelbarrow, which I ended up not needing and the "splitting tire" for holding the wood in place as I split. It blows me away how much time I save by filling the tire with standing wood before I start swinging and walking around the tire.

    If I haven't said it before.... A HUGE THANK-YOU to all of the Hearth.com crew for sharing tips and tricks for a wood heat lifestyle.

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