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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chopping wood



Nights have been down close to freezing here in Northern New Hampshire. Fortunately, I’ve got a bit of firewood to hold me over until the big delivery gets here. The bulk of my wood will be split with a log splitter. That certainly saves a lot of time.

Until that load arrives, I’ve been splitting wood with an ax, a fairly enjoyable exercise. It’s enjoyable, that is, as long as I’m not splitting all my wood by hand. Chopping a cord or two over time is recreation and good exercise. Chopping a half dozen cord while racing the snow is a whole lot less fun.

For me, this a good time of the year to chop wood. It’s cool so I don’t work up a big sweat, but it’s not really cold. The fall foliage is coming in with all its brilliant colors and there is a crispness to the air. The spring is too muddy. Summer is too hot and buggy. Winter is too darn cold and icy.

I replaced the ax handle on my favorite ax this year. They make axes now with fiberglass handles permanently bonded to the ax head. They are tough and stand up to abuse, but there is no poetry in them. A good hickory or ash handle has life to it. It feels good on the hand and has a bit of natural spring to absorb the shock.

My wife offered to pick up a new ax handle while she was in town. My first impulse was to say no. What does my wife know about ax handles? Then again what really is there to know? I told her the length needed and to get one with straight grain and no knots. She picked up a fine handle. Maybe I should delegate more often.

There’s an old joke about the farmer who’s been using the same ax for over 40 years. He’s replaced the handle three times and the head twice.

Heating with wood is a lot of work, but I’m working for myself. I’m not caged in an office somewhere earning money to buy a non renewable fuel like oil or gas. Instead, I’m using a local resource, sustainably harvested. It feels good, and a good pile of firewood is better than money in the bank.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. good post

    Wildflower

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  2. Cutting wood. Collecting water. That's how it is. And I wouldn't want to live life any other way...

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  3. The wood will warm you several times before it ever gets in the stove! I cut and split our wood by hand as we have a good supply of trees down on the farm, I don't measure in cords as it is a meaningless measure to me, I cut about 25 full size pickup loads as heating our 200 year old farm house is the next thing to heating a barn. I switched to a man made handle and really like it though it isn't as pretty but then it is in an ugly 8 lb splitter. We are in the low 30s and the house is in the mid 60s so it is close to time to start a fire.

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    1. That should keep you out of trouble for some time.

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  4. wood + ax = 1 form of energy in todays world
    :-) great post!

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    1. Thank you. It's a form of energy I'm comfortable with and can afford.

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  5. I still think wood splits best at 10 below. CRACK!

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome to come up and split wood any time.

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  6. I sure miss my wood stove. Used one for a few years.

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    Replies
    1. What you need Dizzy is a wood fired air conditioner. :)

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  7. I always enjoyed splitting wood, even when I did it for a living. Guess my life wasn't very exciting! :-)

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