Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Matters of firewood

Early this summer, we participated in a county underbrush cleanup program that cleared out a lot of debris from a wooded portion of our property.

At that time, we also asked the workmen to drop two large dead trees (one pine, one fir), a service we paid for separately.

This past week, Don got started cutting the trucks into rounds. It's fall, you see, and firewood is on our minds.

We stacked the rounds, temporarily, near the barn.

We haven't split them yet, because the log splitter had a horrifically flat tire and we couldn't move it around to the back. Don removed the tire and ordered a spare.

The wood is still a bit too green as well. Our plan is to split, stack, and tarp it in a different location from our primary woodpile, and let it cure for a longer period.

Another reason for separating this year's wood is we're going to use up the existing woodpile as much as possible this winter.

Whatever is left over at the end of the season is going to be moved to another location, a permanent woodshed. We don't want to build a permanent woodshed in this exact spot, but instead about twenty feet away (we have a better use for this spot which will be detailed in a future blog post), so the more wood we can use up, the less we'll have to move later. That's why we don't want to stack this year's wood in this spot.

However we did need to replace the tarp over the woodshed, as it had ripped over the last year. So we pulled off the tattered remains of the old tarp, exposing the temporary structure we made with horse panels.

We laid some cattle panels over the top of the horse panels to add extra support under the tarp (for snow and rain loads).

Then we spread out the new tarp...

...and carefully pulled it over the top of the structure.

We tied the tarp snugly in place. The wood is now protected for the winter.

It was also time to bring a load to the house, so I filled the gorilla cart a couple of times...

...and stacked it on the back porch.

Little by little, we're getting ready for winter.


  1. We never burned pine in the fireplace growing up because Daddy said the resin caused a creosote buildup that could lead to chimney fires. I've never known people who used anything but hardwood in their fireplaces. Your choice, but please check it out first to be safe.
    One thing we did use was small pieces of lighter pine to start fires because that resin burned so well. But those pieces were very small.
    About the size of wooden skewers.

    I love all these photographic journals of what you're doing to turn your home into a productive, self- sufficient piece of paradise. Well thought out.

    1. Keep in mind we must burn the wood we have. Pine is too common around here NOT to burn. Hardwoods are scarce, and fir and tamarack or expensive. We clean our stovepipes at least three times during the course of the winter and have never had a problem with creosote buildup.

      - Patrice

    2. Good. Just making sure. A lot of old houses have burned up from chimney fires down here. Not many people ever clean chimneys out and no chimney sweeps are anywhere near. I think people with wood stoves do stay on top of cleaning better.

    3. When we took down some fir trees on our property neighbors asked for the wood, we let them take it and asked about how it burned. They said if you let it cure a year there is no problem. Others said they burned it with other wood and had no problems. Rural MN here.

  2. I recently came across a mention of a tarp company located in Georgia. I think the mention was in an article submitted to Survival Blog. The tarps are made in the USA, of various materials. The web site is helpful in determining which tarp is best for each particular use. The tarp web site is MyTarp dot com

  3. Super excited for the details of the new permanent woodshed... (He says looking for ideas himself...). All wood is fine to burn... Just needs to be dry. Dry pine is marvelous... But quick burning.

    1. You are totally correct. Dry wood whether it's soft or hard wood, doesn't cause the problems it's wet wood that does it. Ask the how many people who burn it all over the country. If in doubt get a moisture meter and check to see if it's below 20%. Advice from a long time woodburner.