Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting In Wood

If anyone ever figured the number of times one single piece of wood is handled before it is burned, there might be the possibility that no one in their right mind would use wood as a heating fuel.

While getting in wood today, I thought about the whole process and documented it. We use wood to heat in the garage and also in the house. So that means we need a supply of wood in these two spots to fuel those two stoves.

We've got the bigger of our two wood sheds full of maple or hard wood. This is the wood we use in the coldest weather and/or for overnight fires because it burns slowly and gives off more heat than soft woods . . .

. . . which is what we have in the front part of the smaller of the sheds. (Zoey the Wonder dog has to check to see if any chipmunks or squirrels have taken up residence in the stacked wood.)

Even though we've had a very snowy winter, we haven't had any sustained periods of really frigid weather so we've got lots of wood left as we approach the last couple of months of our wood heating season. Good news, and we're mighty thankful for it!

To fill the wood rack for the garage stove, we fill a wheelbarrow in the wood shed and bring it to the people door of the garage. It's easiest to roll the garage stove wood rack right to the door where the wheelbarrow is and fill it from there.

When the rack is full, it gets wheeled through the unheated part of the garage to its spot near the wood stove in the smaller heated part of the garage. There. That's taken care of.

We have a wood box on our enclosed back porch where we store the wood we use inside the house. So another wheelbarrow full (or two most of the time) of wood gets parked by the door to the porch . . .

. . . and the wood is hand carried from wheelbarrow to the wood box on the porch.

We have a rack that we keep full of wood in the house right inside the door leading to the enclosed porch so it's handy to fill this rack from the wood box on the porch.

How often do we have to bring wood into the garage and house? Depends totally on how cold the outside temperature is. In the very coldest of weather, the garage rack needs to be filled every other day. Because the wood box on the porch holds more wood, it's less frequently for that supply.

Of course, getting the wood into the house and garage is only one part of the operation. How many times is a single piece of wood handled as it goes from a pile of 8' long logs to being stacked in the wood shed? Many, many times, trust me. Sometimes I feel I know each and every piece of wood intimately because I've handled it so often.


  1. And therein lies the satisfaction of a warm and cozy house :)

  2. Jen - Yeah! It is kinda nice to be able to say, "I am responsible for this." :o)

  3. Great post - I think a lot of people would be surprised to see just how much handling that bunch 'o sticks gets!! We are just about out of wood here, so we're looking to cut more...

  4. My in-laws heat their farm house with a wood stove also. I want one, you just can't be the warmth of a wood stove!

  5. Hmmmm... no wonder my back aches just reading your comment. I thought about it... Tree felled, 1x, cut into rounds 2x, split, and tossed to side 3 and 4x, then tossed into pile to dry 5x, then tossed into truck or trailer 6x, then tossed out to stack 7x, stacked 8 x, carried to wood box 9x, carried to fire 10x! wow...

  6. You two must be Energizer bunnies up there - that's a lot of motion! But wood heat is sooo very nice and warm. Scrappy said he'd like to come up and help Zoe the Wonder Dog look for squirrels - and sleep by your woodstove.

  7. I've always thought it would be handy to have a woodbox (like the one on your porch) that has a back opening (on the exterior wall), so you could fill the box from the outside...would cut down on those awkward trips from outside to in with wood from the wheelbarrow AND would cut down on the mess on the floor that inevitably results from said trips!

  8. Ok, I saw that wood cart and my eyes glazed over and it is all I can think about. Did you build that? We were going to make one out of a welding cart. If you find yours in missing, you may want to check a certain homestead in PA. Just saying..

  9. Mama Tea - We have a BIG stack of 8' logs in our back yard also that we are going to get on pretty soon here. Even though we have a lot of wood left in the sheds, it's better than money in the bank to have EXTRA wood cut, split and stacked. Such a good, secure feeling.

    meemsnyc - It's hard to explain but heat from a wood stove IS a more comfortable (is that the right word?) kind of warmth.

    Ruth - Some day I am going to tie a red ribbon around a piece of wood and take a marker and put a mark on it each and every time I handle it until it goes into the stove. I think it will be astounding to know how many times a piece is actually handled. (Do I need to get a life?)

    Susan - Scrappy is welcome to come for a visit any time. Zoey can show him the very best spots to snooze near the wood stove.

    Claire - Look for a post soon that you'll be interested in!

    Jane - I feel guilty every time I come in contact with that wood rack we use for the garage wood. Hubby insisted on buying it at an estate sale ($10). I thought it was a dumb investment (some times there's no accounting for my mental capabilities). For some reason I thought it looked like a "gimmick" for wanna be wood users. Well, we have used it everyday since the purchase and it is just about the HANDIEST thing on the homestead. He may never let me forget I poo-pooed the idea initially. And if it goes missing, he will definitely travel to PA to get it back!

  10. You know, I personally love that whole process! I do have electric baseboards in my rental, but I just love the wood stove way too much to use the electricity! There is nothing like the fragrance of wood burning in the it! Great photos! You have a nice pile left!

  11. Great post, Mama Pea! You know how Papa Pea feels about our tractor? I feel that way about your woodpile. I think I'll write a parallel post tomorrow about our wood burning 'adventure.' Yep, we're rationing woods, not just hay. This *is* the simple life, right? Sigh.

  12. I love this! You are right about all the handling that goes into wood heat, but wow are you organized, love it! It must be a great feeling every time you go out there to see so much quality wood stored away.

  13. Rain - I have to agree with you. Once you get your routine down, it doesn't take that long to get both areas restocked with wood. Gives you kind of an "on top of it" feeling!

    Fiona - My dear, in ALL of our years of burning wood as our heat source, this is the first year we've been in this good of shape. Both with dried, seasoned wood in the wood sheds and plenty more in the back yard (paid for!) yet to be cut. You'll get there, too.

    Erin - You betcha it makes us feel good! As my husband is fond of saying, "A full wood shed is better than money in the bank!"