Friday, August 10, 2012
What to do? What to do?
For us northern folk, there is nothing so comforting as a big wood pile. When the air gets frosty, it’s nice to know there is plenty of wood to get through the harshest winter. Around these parts, winter is never very far from our minds. Prudent people have their wood squared away by now.
I am not one of those people this year. Frankly, I’ve become a bit complacent. I haven’t planned on a full winter’s woodpile in a few years. My plan has been to either shut the house down or get a house sitter to heat the place. It’s not that hard to heat the house until January. Last year I did it with a few gallons of heating oil, some wood a friend gave me, and junk wood casually gathered.
What if I can’t travel south for the winter? What will I do then? There is no way that I’m buying heating oil. The price is too high. The basement woodstove will be hooked directly into my heating ducts, warming the whole house. That is, if I can find something to throw into it.
Now the first couple months of heating season will be easy to cover. A friend has some wood he needs hauled out of his yard. It’s good and dry. In a pinch, I can take my crosscut saw and get a fair amount of dead wood within walking distance of my house.
The problem with that is that as the winter goes on, wood has to be gathered from further and further away. Now imagine that we get a lot of snow. That complicates things. Much of the wood gets buried and hidden. What you do find has to be gathered on snowshoes. Work. Work. Work.
Now you see the comfort of a big woodpile?
For me, the drop dead, final time to hustle, is the month of September. During that month it’s possible to get a dead and down permit from the National Forest and gather enough dry wood for the winter. Forget about doing much else that month.
Today, I may have gotten good news. A friend of mine has discovered a huge source of seasoned oak -enough wood for both of our households, and then some. With a small bit of money, some sweat, and barter, my winter heat problem could be solved soon. It all depends on if he can close the deal or not.
The same friend just let me know he has some firebricks that I can have. With those, I could reline my kitchen woodstove and definitely get a few more years out of it. I love to cook on that stove in the winter, so that’s a great thing indeed. It’s perfect for those fall and spring mornings when all that’s needed is a small fire to take the chill out of the house.
Ideally, I’ll have a good solid year’s worth of firewood in the yard and not need it. With any luck at all, my lovely wife and I will be heading south again. Any wood left over will be the start of the next year’s pile.