Doing the Wood

Our winter wood arrived late last spring. We get it every three years. The wood comes in on a logging truck, and generally consists of wood that is harvested as a sort of tidying up of the forests

to decrease the amount of tinder during fire season–deadfalls or smaller trees growing too closely together.

The wood is offloaded into a pile which delights the cats, because now they have an excellent hideaway. This year it also delighted a (photo shy)  cottontail bunny who has taken up residence. He and the cats get along.

After the wood is unloaded, it has to be cut and split, then stacked. My husband used to use a chainsaw to make his living, so he’s pretty good at cutting the logs into rounds. The amount of work is measured by the number of times the chainsaw gas tank is filled. He’s taking it easy after back surgery, so he usually buzzes one or two tanks then stops. On a big wood cutting day, he’ll do up to six.

My job is to chuck the wood–toss it out of the way, thus giving room to roll another log off the pile and start cutting.

Note the excellent wood chucking…:)

After the cutting we split, which is my favorite part now that we have a wood splitter. then stack. When we have enough wood for winter, we stop and the log pile remains a playhouse for the cats and a home for the bunny. 

We are fortunate to have the technology–insulated walls, an airtight stove–that allow us to heat efficiently with wood. This was not always the case and American houses in the 1800s were cold, drafty places before the adoption of the enclosed stove, which I will talk about in my October blog.

I do love the log pile and miss it when it’s gone. 

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Jeannie Watt raises cattle in Montana and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

23 thoughts on “Doing the Wood”

  1. Good morning! I’d love to have a wood burning stove to use instead of central heat or gas for efficiency. Living in Texas we don’t use as much heat as the average person/home. What month were these pictures taken? Stay safe and Happy Fall!

    • Hi Stephanie–I can understand not needing as much heat in Texas. I love wood stoves, and my little propane stove, because I can back up to the fire. 🙂 The snow picture was taken in early February and the sunny one in August. Stay safe!

  2. How wonderful you can do that! I’m sure having the splitter was a gamechanger.

    For many years, my grandparents heated their home with a woodstove. They switched to an oil stove look later.

    We used a lot of quilts at night.

  3. We heated with wood in my childhood home (large 2 story, full basement) Dad used a huge buzz saw in the woods to cut it instead of a chainsaw! Us kids were in charge of moving and stacking too!

  4. When I was a kid we had wood to heat the house and believe me when I say that was a job keeping wood at home. When I was real young we had a coal stove to heat the house. It was always hot in the room where the stove was and the rest of the house was cold.

  5. Grew up with wood as only source of heat. My chore was to put wood on the porch every evening for use the next day. Had wood head until a few years ago—-old age is not for sissies. Still have a fireplace as auxiliary heat.

  6. We are throwing in wood today to burn this winter. Nothing like toasty warm wood heat. Fun to read your blog today. I could relate. Glad you provide for the cats and bunny.

  7. We had a fireplace in the farmhouse where I grew up. They don’t do much to heat unless you are sitting right in front of them. For the most part, they just suck the heat out of the house. When we were stationed in Colorado Springs, we had a hearth and chimney put in and installed a wood stove. It was the best heat we have ever had in a house. It took very little to heat the house which was on 4 small levels. We would get a cutting permit every year and head up to the national forest over the summer and cut downed and marked trees for our firewood. Great exercise at 8 and 9,000 feet. The girls (3rd to 5th grade) were a big help. We live in TN now and bought a 1898 farm house that needed to be gutted and redone. That was just as well since there was no insulation and the curtains fluttered when the wind blew. The modern addition was a mess and had a fireplace. It had only been used one winter and the wall and ceiling were black. The chimney was too short to draw properly. When we redid that room, we put in a hearth and a good chimney and put in a wood stove. This house is much bigger than the other one, but the stove heats it just fine. An added bonus is I can cook on it if I choose. Our son cuts trees so our supply of wood has not been a problem. After the first ten years, my husband broke down and got a log splitter. A good decision on his part. We have a heat pump and when it gets really cold, it is useless for keeping the house warm. We have swing out arms on the stove for drying racks, keep an open pan of water for humidity, and have a kettle on so there is hot water for tea at all times. It is the best heat you can get for keeping a house toasty warm.

    It would be nice to have such a nice supply of wood dropped off, but at 1.6 acres, our yard isn’t as big as yours. At least we have a nice view of the mountains.

    Thank you for an interesting post. By the look of things, your wood pile and gardens will be keeping you busy this Fall. Stay safe and healthy.

    • Please forgive the late reply, Patricia. I’ve been off the internet for a couple of days and am catching up. I love this story! I can just see everything you’re writing about and it’s so interesting. I can see where the log pile would take up a good chunk of real estate, lol. Enjoy your mountain view and stay safe!

  8. Log splitters are so nice! I grew up with wood and coal stoves and winter time is when my dad would cut wood thinning and cleaning our wood lot. The logs,not very big diameter, would be hauled home and stacked in the yard until a nice day in March when the buzz saw would be hooked by a long belt to the tractor power take off and the logs cut. Then we kids had to stack the wood in the woodshed which was attached to the house. I was a junior in college when my parents finally got central heating. How much warmer the bedrooms were. They did keep one smaller wood stove and it came in handy many times during power outages.
    When we built our house we put in a fireplace which we love. I do think a wood stove would have been more efficient.

    • Please forgive the late reply, Alice. I’ve been off the internet. Log splitters are the best. Love the stuff about the buzz saw. Central heating is nice, but I love turning my back to the stove and warming up. 🙂 Stay safe!

  9. This was so interesting, Jeannie. And I love that someone is cleaning up the forests and putting the wood to good use instead of just letting it lay on the forest floor. There’s nothing like the crackle of a warm fire!!

    I love these peeks into your life!!!

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