Last Saturday our neighbor, Burl came over with his chainsaw and started bucking up the big log that washed up on the beach. By Monday I had it chopped and stacked on the beach to dry. Aly’s judgment that it was a green log turned out to be incorrect. About half the wood is wet from being dipped periodically in the ocean, but the rest is so dry that we could burn it today without producing visible smoke. When we strike the pieces, they ring.
Yesterday we stacked it in the wood shed atop last year’s remaining wood, along with another smaller pile from the beach. When we finished, we found that we had more than what we need for a mild winter. There’s more wood still drying on the beach, more of the tree it came from to buck up, and the remaining two-thirds of the big beach log. By the time we’re done, our wood shed should be full, and we may have enough wood to see us through this winter, and maybe next winter as well! With the summer before us, it will have plenty of time to dry before we begin to use it daily in September or October.
We stopped cutting the beach log after about a third of the way through because Burl thought the wood might be good enough to sell as guitar soundboards. An artist friend who builds musical instruments came out to look at it, and said that it wouldn’t be good enough to fetch a decent price. We had also talked about milling it for lumber, although we may just go ahead and buck it up. It’ll bring a quick end to the urgency of firewood gathering, leaving us time to find and mill smaller logs that would be easier to manage than this monster. Looking at the rapidly filling wood shed, it’s hard to imagine anything better than the warmth it’ll bring us this winter.
Incidentally, part of the day’s work included chopping up the old chopping block using the newest one. It’s far better than the root wad, so the root wad’s out, the new block, from the beach log, is in.