Sorry for the blog silence on my end. The end of November heralded numerous writing deadlines I had hanging over me. When December 1 hit and the pressure was off, I engaged in some heavy-duty literary laziness. I didn't even delete the 75 spam comments I had piled up on the blog until this morning.
But we haven't been entirely idle over the last week. We did, among much else, a lot of firewood.
Normally we purchase a logging truck of pulp logs about every three years for firewood. We finished up the last of the logs in the spring, but rather than order another shipment, we decided to harvest some dead trees off our property instead. Lots cheaper and it needs to get done anyway.
Don's handy with dropping trees, but he called in a professional logger to deal with one massive pine in the bull pen. One bad cut and it would smash the barn. Don knows his limitations.
This logger is the fellow who normally delivers our logging trucks of logs, so we knew him already. Nice guy who knows his stuff. Since he was here anyway, we had him take down three other trees...
...as well as several dead trees just across the fence on our neighbor's property (with their permission, of course -- they also wanted the firewood).
The first thing we did was shoo the cows down into the pasture for the day. Can't risk them getting crushed.
The next thing was for Don to remove this section of fence. It was the only logical place for the trees to fall, so he took it down so it could be rebuilt later.
He also removed the railroad tie post.
The tallest tree in the exact middle of the photo is the tree coming down. There are a couple smaller dead trees to the right which will be cut.
The logger got right to work with confidence. As trees go, this one was a piece of cake for him.
Don watched while the logger got started on the other two trees. Though the one he's working on is a lot smaller, it's leaning in such a way that would send it straight into the barn if not cut precisely right.
Half the job is using a chainsaw; the other half is the judicious use of wedges to get the tree to fall properly. (Everyone knows why they're fluorescent colors, right? It's so they're easy to spot on the forest floor when loggers are out in the woods.)
The logger was very careful and took his time.
Then the tree finally came down, it fell precisely where the logger wanted it.
Here are the three downed trees from the bull pen. The logger also took down a large fir a few yards away. Can you see why we won't need to buy firewood this year? The biggest tree is pine, the others are fir. Pine has a poor BTU rating for firewood, but it burns and it's free, so we'll use it. (And don't worry, we scrub our stovepipe free of creosote every month or so.)
When the cows were let back up from the field, they found their landscape altered.
The next day, Don started limbing the trees.
Meanwhile I split more rounds that had been cut earlier.
Don got through limbing one tree, cut it into lengths, and started yarding the logs in the driveway.
Then he cut them into rounds. (He's using an electric chainsaw, in case you're wondering about the cord.)
We split and stacked and split and stacked until the side porch was brim-full of wood.
A brief snowfall decorated the rounds and made them look very pretty.
Then we split and stack and split and stacked some more, until the front porch was as full as it could be.
This makes something of a wall right outside our front door, but it's a nice sight, in my opinion.
Mr. Darcy seems to find it cozy.
Some people have expressed concern about rodents and moisture when the wood is stacked so close the house. All I can say is, in 15 years of stacking firewood this way, we've never had an iota of trouble. If we kept it stacked like this over the summer, then maybe; but over winter? Nah. And we'll use it up before spring.
After this, we put the log splitter away. We have many more logs still to cut up, but this is all the firewood we'll need through most of the winter, so we'll wait on the others.