Whittling Away at It

By , July 24, 2015

Slowly but surely, I’m cutting the coming winter’s firewood. Most of my current effort focuses on the far end of the property, in “the Blowdown” where I recently felled a couple of standing dead trees (see A Little Excitement in the Wood Lot). I’m bucking these into 18″ rounds, splitting and stacking them to dry in the forest. At the end of each work session, I strap a split round to my backboard and haul it home to dry on the beach.

She just told me it's time to go home (Photo: MIchelle L. Zeiger).

She just told me it’s time to go home (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

It’s a slow process. You might say I’m whittling away at the job. Luckily, we didn’t use all of last year’s wood. I stacked it along the back wall of the cabin, to be added to the top of what I cut this summer, so it can be burned first. In addition, I have a stack of wood roughly the same size that I cut last summer, and dried in the forest since then. That still needs to be hauled to the cabin, but at least it’s dry. If I keep at the current trees, and cut one or two more beyond that, I should have most or all of what we’ll need by October, possibly before.

The job site (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger)

The job site (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger)

As always, timing plays a key role. While I prefer to fill the woodshed well before autumn, we may decide to leave some wood in the forest until we get the first winter’s snows, when we can haul it to the cabin using the pulk (see The Pulk: Our Homestead’s Winter “Truck”). That’s an iffy proposition. The stack of wood I mentioned above remained in the forest over last winter precisely because it awaited a good hauling snow, which never seemed to develop. Eventually, it may all end up crossing the ridge on my back.

This year, unlike all the other years we’ve lived here, I’m trying not to worry too much about covering the drying wood. Ideally, I don’t want any rain to fall on a piece of wood I’ve cut and laid out to dry. On the other hand, I expend so much time and effort trying to ensure that my wood stays covered, despite days of high wind, I’m trying not to let it bother me this time around. I know from experience that, while it may take a little longer, the wood dries more than it gets wet out in the elements. As autumn approaches, I may change that tactic, but for now, I’m trying to devote that energy into cutting more wood or tending to other jobs around the “homestead.”

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