A few days last week were clear, crisp and dry. Like a large, crazed, and possibly hyperthyroid Easter Bunny, I began stashing piles of firewood rounds at various places around the property. The push for next winter’s firewood has begun.
I enter the season well positioned—better, in fact, than ever before. My diligence last year paid off well. We heated the cabin using an auxiliary firewood pile, overflow from the wood shed’s capacity, up until December, when we finally began using the shed’s supply. We managed this even though we began heating the cabin on colder days in August, and burned in earnest by at least mid-September.
Here at the beginning of April, we still have a good supply of wood. It seems to be enough to see us through the remaining burning season, which may extend till the first of June, but might end much sooner.
That means that everything I cut these days is devoted to next winter. I may even have to clear out the remaining wood, fill the shed with new-cut wood, then put the older, drier stuff in on top of the pile. That’s my hope, I least!
I’m encouraged by the number of trees that fell close to the cabin over the last winter. While the majority of my wood cutting efforts will focus on the far corner of our property, where “the blow down” intersects our land, I’ll harvest a lot of wood from close at hand, which reduces the time and effort of hauling, always a major factor, and perhaps the greatest strain on my aging body. For a few of these wind falls, the greatest challenge will be ensuring that the cut rounds don’t arrive at the cabin too early—the slope on which I’ll be cutting could allow them to roll down and strike the cabin or our outbuildings and cause damage.
Most of the wood, however, comes from farther away, which is part of the reason those wood piles are beginning to grow all around the property. I’ve learned to make a temporary rick in sunny spots near where I’m cutting, to stack wood where it will hopefully dry and lighten for a few months before I lug it to the cabin. If I were smart, I’d leave it until next autumn’s snows create a good surface for transporting by pulk. That means deferring the satisfaction and security of ensuring that the wood shed is, indeed, full. I have yet to be that courageous.