Montana Outdoors

September 24, 2012

Firewood time again

Filed under: Wood cutting — Tags: , , — montucky @ 10:08 pm

With the arrival of Fall and the start of cooler temperatures, our thoughts turn toward winter, and for many of us who live in the northwest one of the things that means is our supply of wood to fuel our stoves for the cold months ahead. We already have a fairly good sized wood pile here at home, but just in case, I will add one more cord, cut and split, to fill up our firewood shelter. When this big rig pulled up in the little draw beside our house this morning it meant that I will have the logs to work with; about 50,000 pounds worth.

Truck load of firewood logs

Truck load of firewood logs

Truck load of firewood logs

The logs are being unloaded and piled in a log deck where I can work on them at times of my choosing, mostly in late Fall when it is cool or in early spring before it warms up, avoiding the heat of summer for doing a job that is inherently a hot one.

Log truck boom operation

The gentleman operating the boom of his log truck to unload these logs is someone who in my opinion deserves the utmost respect. He is, as he has all of his life, making his living driving his log truck. His morning started today at 7:00 am loading the truck at a logging site about 30 miles down river from here and after these are unloaded he will have at least one more load to load and haul before his day is over. He is an honest, tough, hard working man, always smiling while still doing what he loves to do… at the tender age of 84.

Log truck boom operation

Now, it you get up one morning and want to start on a big, big job…

Firewood log deck

Firewood log deck

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60 Comments »

  1. Wow! You don’t do things in a small way, do you?!

    Like

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 24, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

    • Well, it seems to make pretty good sense to buy firewood this way if you can and have the room to do it. We heat almost entirely with wood and it is comforting to me to know that we have enough fuel on hand for at least three years, probably four, and though there’s still work to be done on it, it’s all paid for. We will always be warm even if the power is out and if need be we can also cook on the wood stove. The first time we bought a truck load it looked overwhelming, but it’s not so bad when you get used to it.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  2. Enjoyed these photos portraying a mans life work. Also the shot of the Stihl and maul. I can almost feel the invigoration required to turn shape it in to firewood.

    Like

    Comment by Grampy — September 25, 2012 @ 3:48 am

    • Turning that into firewood is of course a lot of work, but very rewarding in many ways. I love the satisfaction of providing our winter’s heat by physical effort and doing so with natural materials. Perhaps there is some residual primitiveness in my nature!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

  3. You certainly need more firewood than me. Have a good work, Montucky. πŸ˜‰

    Like

    Comment by bentehaarstad — September 25, 2012 @ 3:59 am

    • In about another month we will begin to have fires every day, and that will probably continue until into next June as it did this year. It’s good to have plenty!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  4. Oh WOW… That’s… WOW. So you say that amount should last 3-4 years? And you use just this to heat? I have a friend who grew up in the UP, and she lived the same. I adore your outside space β€” can’t show my guy, or he would show up there, I fear. Heaven! Now that’s my kind of world.

    Like

    Comment by FeyGirl — September 25, 2012 @ 5:36 am

    • That load of logs should give us enough for 2 to 3 years and we already have about 6 cords cut and stacked, so we have a total of about 4 years worth. We do have two small oil heaters, but they are seldom used. The wood stove does nearly all of our heating. Among other reasons, it is very nice on those cold and stormy nights in mid winter to know that we do not depend on the electric grid for our heat. When the power goes out on a stormy night, we can just turn over and go back to sleep knowing we will be just as warm as always.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  5. Oh, how I miss my little cabin! Certainly no shipments of logs were required, as it wasn’t a full-time home, but the routine always was the same. We’d walk the property in spring and find acceptable fallen trees, then cut them into movable pieces and haul them through the woods to the cabin where they’d be split and dried.

    That surely is some good-looking wood. What is it? And kudos to that fellow. It’s a fact of life that, more often than we imagine, it’s work that enables us to keep working!

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — September 25, 2012 @ 5:54 am

    • Not a bad routine at that! When I was a child we lived in the city and had wood and coal heat, followed by an oil furnace then natural gas, but I also spent some time at my grand parents’ ranch and learned at a very young age how to use an axe. I haven’t been able to get it out my blood ever since. Over the next couple of years I will probably cut more wood from the fire-killed trees in the area of the Chippy Creek fire. This year I had too many projects that had to be done to do that. The routine is really complete when it starts by falling the trees.

      Most of these trees are lodgepole pine. Looks like there are three Ponderosa and a few fir. We do not have hardwoods here. I prefer lodgepole because it is very clean burning and produces hardly any creosote.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

  6. How many cords will that pile turn into? That’s one big pile of wood.

    Like

    Comment by anniespickns — September 25, 2012 @ 6:33 am

    • Once it is cut, split and stacked, that load will compact into 10 to 12 cords. Depending on the severity of the winter we will use 4 to 6 cords. It looks overwhelming at first, but it’s surprising how quickly it can be processed.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

  7. This too was how we used to get our fire wood back in NY. One load would last us for almost 2 years.

    Like

    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — September 25, 2012 @ 6:48 am

    • Our last load lasted about 2 years, but we gave a lot of it away too.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  8. Been there, done that, hated it. I repeat …..hated it. Plus I was allergic to the wood smoke and was sick all the time. Although you will be in good shape when the world runs out of oil…………….

    Like

    Comment by Roberta — September 25, 2012 @ 6:56 am

    • I know using wood as a primary source of heat isn’t for everyone! It is a good feeling to not have to be dependent on oil, coal or electricity for heat. If need be we can cook on the stove too, and I remember from childhood stays at my grand parents’ ranch taking baths in water heated on a wood stove.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  9. Wow, that’s quite a haul. Is that an apple tree in those photos?

    Like

    Comment by Tammy — September 25, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    • Yes, that’s a very old apple tree. We eat a few, usually a bear or two come through and eat some and the rest are for the deer and birds.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  10. Here’s a hooray for local forest management, by the folks who know it best. Very interesting, Montucky.

    Like

    Comment by C.C. — September 25, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    • These trees came from a private land owner. I don’t know if he was thinning his trees or selling some timber as many do.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  11. We used to heat strictly with wood, and I did the same thing. We used to burn 6 cord each winter and I have to say I miss cutting, splitting and stacking it. I always found it to be a real satisfying job. Looks like you have considerably more than 6 cord.

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — September 25, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    • After enjoying it for so many years, I would certainly miss doing it too! We usually burn 4 or 5 cords a year, 6 in a very cold winter. This load should be 10 to 12 cords when cut, split and stacked.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  12. It’s great that you have so much stockpiled! Yes, it is long, hot work but must be done. I must say, though, that I don’t miss not having to do it anymore!

    Like

    Comment by allbymyself09 — September 25, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    • I like having the logs because I can do the work during the cooler times in spring and fall instead of the heat of summer. That has worked out well for years now. I know that I would miss it, and especially miss being able to get really warm from the wood fire when I come in out of the snow!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  13. boy, your idea and my idea of a cord of wood are two entirely different things! if you don’t mind me asking, how much does a truck load like that cost? interesting to compare it to the little bundles they sell here at the local grocery store =o/

    Like

    Comment by Sandy — September 25, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  14. WOW, Montucky! That’s a lot of wood! It was really neat seeing these photos and realizing what work lies ahead of you to prepare for winter. Makes me feel like I take my natural gas heated house for granted!

    Like

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — September 25, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    • The cost of this load was $1050. That is $800 for the logs and $250 for delivery, so in round numbers, about $100 a cord. ( a cord is 128 cubic feet or visually, a stack 4 ft X 4 ft X 8 ft.) Those little bundles are really marked up, aren’t they!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

      • yeah, and i can’t see me putting ‘that’ load in my shopping cart to get it to the car =o)

        Like

        Comment by Sandy — September 25, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

    • There is natural gas available in the larger cities here, but not in the rural areas, just propane. It works for me to take advantage of a natural resource since it’s readily available and I really do enjoy the whole task.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

  15. Wow! You should certainly have plenty of wood this winter.

    Like

    Comment by alskamom — September 25, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    • Yes. In a few days our wood pile under its shelter will have about 7 cords in it. It’s easier to make sure there is plenty there now, rather than have to do the work whe the snow is deep!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

  16. Hi Montucky, I have never thought of firewood as being from big whole logs. I usually have only seen deliveries of smaller pieces of logs – oh say 36″ then split into 16″ pieces for the wood stove or fireplace. We have a wood stove fireplace insert at our lake house and I miss having it. No fireplace at the little farm. Great interesting pictures. Good luck with the cutting and splitting. Have a great Wed. tomorrow!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — September 25, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

    • These will be cut to 16″ and split too. We lived in Arizona for many years and when we were there we bought a house that had a big fireplace in it. We thought that was very strange for Arizona but we found that we used it a lot in winter and really enjoyed it. Since then we would be just lost if we didn’t have a fireplace or wood stove.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  17. I do like to split wood. It provides an excellent opportunity to think about things.

    Like

    Comment by jomegat — September 25, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

    • It sure does, and removes aggressions at the same time! While splitting and stacking your mind can be on other things, but when cutting on the log deck you really have to concentrate to stay alive! It’s like a big game of “pick-up sticks”. I am not surprised, but I have admired the way the man who stacked this log deck sort of wove the logs together to keep them from rolling. He knew what he was doing and I really appreciate it!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

      • It is an excellent activity for removing aggression. It seems like it would be a Bad Idea to give an angry person an axe or a maul, but it is incredibly cathartic.

        Like

        Comment by jomegat — September 26, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  18. Holy cow! 25 tons, that’s massive. I remember you showing your wood delivery in previous years. That’s a lot of hard work for you ahead. How nice that the man is able to continue what he loves. And, yes, it’s funny how many people in greater Phoenix have fireplaces. I would love to have one! It seems silly but the desert really does get cool at night in the winter, as you know. And I love to smell the fires burning, especially if it’s mesquite. Of course, that all adds to our horrible pollution problem here, too, and there are many no burn days. Oddly, you still smell plenty of fires on no burn days; it doesn’t seem to be enforced much.

    Like

    Comment by Candace — September 25, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    • I hadn’t though about Phoenix having no burn days. When I lived there that wasn’t necessary. I remember burning mesquite and going up north to get alligator juniper too. Phoenix has changed so much since I first lived there in the late 60’S! Here in the rural areas, smoke isn’t a problem, especially with stoves that have catalytic combustors as ours does. In the Missoula area new installations of wood stoves are not permitted now and they have a lot of no burn days for the ones that were “grandfathered”. They seem to tolerate industrial pollution though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  19. I really hope I am that fit and active and happy at 84! Those are some serious logs, too!

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — September 26, 2012 @ 1:51 am

    • I do too! His must have been a hard and simple but happy life!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 26, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  20. It has been years and years since I split firewood…and oh, what memories. You have a bit of work to do…. πŸ™‚

    Like

    Comment by seekraz — September 26, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    • There’s a lot to be said for it! It’s like an inoculation against too much civilization.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 26, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

      • Oh…I imagine that it is! And this winter, you will be warm because you worked to get that way, as opposed to simply flipping a switch…. I’m a wee bit envious. πŸ™‚

        Like

        Comment by seekraz — September 26, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

  21. I think you’re going to need a bigger chainsaw…

    Like

    Comment by zannyro — September 26, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    • No, but a new bar and a new chain are in order. There’s not much you can’t do with a 20″ Stihl!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 26, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

      • LOL! My son spends his weekends working on his saws..

        Like

        Comment by zannyro — September 26, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  22. I’m glad to see you have a chain saw. I’d hate to think of you doing all that work with an axe. Good exercise, right?

    Malcolm

    Like

    Comment by knightofswords — September 26, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    • Once I watched one of my grand sons fall a tall dead tree with an axe. It wasn’t a pretty sight!

      Yes, excellent exercise, and also a closer tie to this earth of which we are a part. When all of those sine waves upon which we are so critically dependent these days go straight-line, wood will still keep us warm and cook our food.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 26, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  23. We too have begun to gather wood..We don’t get a big truckload of logs like you but we both get a pretty good workout,, More so my husband.

    Like

    Comment by Roberta — September 26, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

    • In the next few years when I will have more time I will do a lot of that too. I enjoy falling the trees too and plan to make each trip a two-day trip which will make it even better!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 26, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  24. Great, great. This post has great interest for me. As You know, we have in our house heat recovery fireplace. It means that it will keep our house warm for two nights. The capacity of fireplace is for 90 cubic meters. We have 139 square meters inside area. That area is heated in winter with electricity and with firewood, but mainly with firewood.

    During winter we burn from 7 to 9 cubic meters firewood and this amount includes firewood for our Sauna too.

    10 years, I logged trees from my late father’s plot, then chopped them to suitable length for my trailer to the transport them. All this I made by handsaw. Now You might think that I was fool. It was hard job indeed, but I wanted to do it, because nearly after forty years sitting in an office, I needed exercise in practice. It has helped to keep and to get back good physical condition.

    When at home, then I sawed them by hand again to the proper length for the use in fireplace, After that I cut them by axe and put them into a huge heap to dry during summer. When autumn came, then I started to pile them into our warehouse. Now about during nine years I have bought readymade firewood. I have only to pile, not to throw, them into my warehouse.

    After my incoherent explanation of my firewood, I want to know how long time this amount which You presented here, is sufficient for Your use? Of course one determinant factor is how long winter is and how cold there is generally in winters. Here the heating season lasts from mid-October, to the end of March and most cold temperatures are -33 Celsius / -27.40ΒΊF generally in January and February.

    Thank You for this post.

    Like

    Comment by Sartenada — September 27, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

    • The new supply of wood will be about 12 cords or 43 cubic meters and will be sufficient for 2 to 3 years of heat, depending on the weather. Our house is about 2100 sq feet or 195 sq meters. Our heating season will be about from mid October through the end of May. We would have only a few days as cold as -33C. Most winter nights are in the range of -6C to -12C and the days around -6C.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  25. I cannot even imagine…..!!

    Like

    Comment by skouba — September 30, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

    • Rather overwhelming when they are first unloaded, but it’s enjoyable to go through the process, and there is a lot of satisfaction in doing it.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 30, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  26. 84 yrs old! WoW! I bet he’s in good shape, esp for that age! God bless him! =)

    Like

    Comment by Tricia — October 1, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  27. 84! Wow! Respect.

    Like

    Comment by Finn Holding — October 16, 2012 @ 1:43 pm


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