My friends, December is virtually upon us. I have to tell you, there aren’t many things I’ve obsessed about in my life as much as I’ve obsessed about firewood, wood pellets and heat. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I’m getting older, but whatever it is, I feel myself getting more anxious as the years roll by.
Pellet inventory doesn’t bother me nearly as much as firewood inventory does. If we run low on pellets, all I need to do is run out and buy more. Someone has to have them. Even during those years when no one could find any pellets, there was a store out there that still carried them. They may have cost more and if you needed to buy them, you’d have to do the walk of shame to the register to ask for them, but still, you could get them. Now that they’re more plentiful, it’s really not even a concern. Taking the truck out and burning all that diesel bothers me more than the fact that I’ve got to buy the actual pellets.
Now, firewood is a different story. If we run out of firewood, we’re screwed. Firewood needs to season. You don’t just run out and pick up a cord of firewood. If we need more wood, I’ll be relegated to the depths of theft. I’ll be forced to pilfer some firewood from some unsuspecting soul, caught, beat with a wooden rake and left to hang out to dry from a branch of one of our areas mighty rock maples. It’s not a prospect I’m looking for.
The challenge with firewood is trying to determine how much you’ll need for the season. Now, I’m of the frame of mind that the more you have, the better. If you don’t use all your wood this season, simply keep it put and burn it next season. It sounds so simple. The problems arise when you move to an area one year, work your ass of to collect as much wood as you can find and then start burning it the next year, only to be reminded that some of the wood you collected is old and somewhat punky – resulting in a fast burn. The space you used to store the wood looks nice and full, but is it? Will a lot of old wood burn for the duration you’re looking for or will you go through it like you’re burning matches? Oh, the woes.
Of course, I’m talking about me here. I did collect a lot of wood and I knew I’d have to face a few challenges come winter, but the fact that I was aware doesn’t mean that I have to like it. It’s times like this when I envy those who collected with care and are now all stocked up with big pieces of seasoned oak or maple.
There is a silver lining to all this though – I stacked the crap wood toward the front, so it’s almost gone. Still, we burned 7 feet into one 27 foot long row. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
Luckily, we have (had) two 27 foot long rows.
I’ve made a few efforts to do the math in my mind regarding how long our wood will get us through. I haven’t come to a resolution yet , especially since the temperature fluctuates so much. To be honest with you though, we’re still one day away from December 1st and winter hasn’t even arrived. I figure I’ll be happy if our wood store can get us through until the end of February, with some special stock reserved for maple syrup boiling season. After that, pellets will have to do and when spring rolls around, I’ll head back outside to collect in earnest. This time though, I’m going after the good stuff. I’ve got my eye on one white birch, a nice fat rock maple and three good tall ash trees. Anything beyond that is gravy because I’ll be adding that wood to my already existing three cord of fresh maple, ash and cherry. I may even purchase two cord of firewood from a local dealer so I can sleep better at night, although I do enjoy the obsessing – to a point.
So, I have a question for you – how much firewood have to burned so far this season? How much do you have total and how large is the chunk you’ve taken out of it? I’m very curious if I burn fast, slow or just right. Please leave a comment below.
One last thing; I know I write a lot about firewood and that you may not be as interested in the topic as much as I am, but many of you might be. If you are, please check out these links. I read through things like this as I’m gathering ideas on what to write and how to go about it. Take a look…
Firewood For Life – A great resource for everything firewood. This blog covers how to clean out your ashes, where to find great firewood in Vermont and whether or not you should burn green wood.
Firewood 101 with Cheryl Barden – I read through this great post a few mornings ago and got some nice ideas from it. It’s pretty well written, so you might want to give it a once over. The author covers important topics, such as how to choose your firewood (something I alluded to in this very post), splitting and stacking your firewood.
Why It’s Hard to Find Firewood This Year – A quite interesting post about a quandary in Vermont. A quandary that some clever investigating found the answer to. Also, there’s a great video in this post that I thought I’d share with you. It’s about a firewood dealer located in the northern tip of Vermont and how he operates his business.
The Wood Guy