Firewood and bears

Yesterday, with the help of our visiting family members, we got pretty much done on the firewood front. We’re ready for winter. And Emily made a bear!

Our woodshed requires approximately 600 lineal feet of logs (say, 20 full lengths or 60 x 10-footers).  We collect that amount in the form of ‘renegade floaters’ over the Spring and gather them in ‘clumps’ of six or seven at our back-beach.  Then I cut ’em into ‘hauling up’ lengths (ideally 7 footers) and we then pull ’em up the hill (125 feet on a 35 degree slope) on a highline sometime around late June, July.  At the top, I cut the seven-footers into rounds (6 pcs x 14″) and wheelbarrow them to the splitter and there they are split into usually four quarters (sometimes the bigger rounds make five pieces).  Approximately 2200-2400 pieces.  At the rate we work, that’s usually about ten 4-hour days each complete with tea and lunch breaks. Our woodshed holds five cords.

I am half a cord short from a full shed (yes, I know what that could also mean).  After gathering all the logs and hauling all the lengths and wheeling all the rounds and splitting all of them and stacking them, we are half a cord from full.  That might be two full length logs….we go for 8-10-inches in diameter.  Easier to lift and work.  Maybe three skinny logs.  The real question is: ‘Will we go get ’em and do it for half a cord?’

I dunno . . . prob’ly.  We’ll see.  A couple of logs will float by, we’ll go get ’em and, somewhere along the line (before winter) we’ll finish up.  OR not.  We never get through the whole of the woodshed anyway so that half cord shouldn’t matter but there is some kind of weird code from the Forest of Dreams out here: ‘Fill the woodshed and they will come’ or something like that.  There is an expectation that one fills one’s woodshed and anything short of a full woodshed reflects poorly on one.  

The thing is, doing wood is no fun.  (Making bears is fun, tho).  Furthermore, you don’t just ‘do’ wood.  You also have to ‘do’ the chainsaw and ‘do the winch’ and ‘do’ the log-finding and wrangling.  There is a lot to do all ’round the place before a single ‘quarter’ is stacked in place.  This year, I had to strip and clean and fiddle with the chainsaw.  And, of course, sharpen, sharpen, sharpen.

And my old winch on the haul-out line always needs fiddling.  So does the old, worn, low-compression Honda that powers it.  Doesn’t seem to matter how they are put away for next season, they do not start up and run quite right until they have been ‘fiddled’ with — a lot.  Fiddling is a huge part of everything when it comes to my usual chore-doing but it seems to play the largest role when I am getting in the winter’s wood.

Still, one thing is always true: there is a great deal of satisfaction achieved when one’s woodshed is full.  And when one has acquired a new bear!  It’s like money-in-the-bank…….now:……have I got enough or do I add the half-cord?

4 thoughts on “Firewood and bears

  1. Defo add the 1/2 cord, but at a leisurely pace. You’ll top it up all in good time! and ON time!😉
    How big is your woodshed btw, lxwxh of (normally) usable space please? Just curious…
    We have much enjoyed the filling of our woodshed (2.5 cords), which is connected to the deck, espec since acquiring a new, bigger chainsaw and the amazing Wallenstein splitter, and what a relief it is too, tho I don’t believe our shed is anywhere near the size of yours. We will begin stacking between trees as soon as we are done prepping for the solar power system install, in just a couple of weeks. THEN, and only then will we truly be able to relax a bit.
    I wish you well on the firewood front, and all others.
    Take good care David. Be Well. D.


  2. I agree, money in the bank. Can get awfully cold with nothing to stoke the stove with. Good new, we are coming home finally. Just as long as they let us through the border and let us quarantine in the cabin. Thoughts of confinement in a small hot condo for two weeks is too daunting. – Margy


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