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Wood Gathering Begins

Decided to get an early start on firewood gathering this year. I burn five cords each year, so a lot of work is required to be ready by the time winter arrives. I always cut standing dead trees for my firewood supply. Forested parts of the property have always provided plenty of dead trees each year, though getting at them can sometimes be a chore in spots where slopes are steep and rocky.

Once I have a load hauled down to the house, splitting is a much more pleasant task than felling and blocking the timber, especially while mornings are cool and sunny. My splitting workstation is nothing elaborate, but it is set up for comfort and efficiency with the log splitter set on a metal stand at chest height to minimize bending while operating the splitter.

I don't use a big, expensive, high-powered splitter running on a noisy, stinky gasoline engine. I just use a little $300 5-ton electric splitter purchased at one of the big hardware retail stores in the city and run it on inverted electricity from my little 795 watt solar power system.

At this time of year, I can start splitting at 9:00 AM and continue throughout the day as long as cloud cover is light or non-existent. It's a pleasant task, providing plenty of low-impact exercise for this crazy old hermit. And after splitting a load, it's pleasant to watch it dry in the sun before stacking.

I burn everything I can of every tree I cut down. Last summer, I had to cut down five live trees to use their trunks in a building project. The rest of the felled live trees ended up in the wood stove. Scrap wood, limbs, bark, and even the needles, which are ideal for providing a quick-lighting, high-heating spring morning fire to warm up the house just enough to keep it comfortable without overheating until sunlight takes over as the fire dies down.

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