Montana Outdoors

August 15, 2017

Firewood season

Filed under: Winter, Wood cutting — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 3:35 pm

Yesterday for the fourth time I received delivery of a full logging truck of logs to provide wood for my winter fires. For anyone who ever wondered what 30 tons of firewood looks like, here are a few pictures:

Firewood logs

Firewood logs

Firewood logs

"Firewood

And here are the tools used to turn the logs into firewood:

Chain saw

This saw has cut three loads like this in the past decade. I take very good care of it! It will take somewhere around 2,000 cuts to turn these logs into 16 inch blocks (called “rounds”) which will then have to be split.

7 pound splitting axe

This seven pound splitting axe has been in use since about 1975. I take good care of it too. I replaced the hickory handle several years ago and after it was carefully fitted to the axe and sanded smooth, it has received 20 hand-rubbed coats of Linseed oil. It slides like fine silk through my hands.

Gloves

It will take about 6 pair of these, but that’s still cheaper than all of the bandaids and other medical supplies that would otherwise be needed.

The eventual results will be:

…..Three Montana winters enjoying a nice, warm house, independent of electricity (which is especially nice when there is a mid-winter power outage), and there will be plenty on hand if someone else needs it in the midst of a cold winter…..

…..All of my muscles will be firm, my hands hard…..

…..I will sleep very well at night…..

…..The heating cost for the whole house will be $400 a year…..

…..And most of all, the consummate satisfaction of having done the work myself!…..

Notes:

The trees are Lodgepole Pine harvested during a logging operation in a cutting area about 100 miles west of my house, about 17 miles off the highway in the area of Gem Peak at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. They are all dead and dry trees, no good for turning into lumber. Eventually they would burn in a wildfire anyway and that would actually create far more more smoke and particulates than in my wood stove which uses a catalytic combuster and burns very clean.

The longer logs are 50 feet in length, weigh around 1,000 pounds (454KG) and are 18 inches (4.6 decimeters) in diameter at the base.

May 23, 2016

Meanwhile, in Phoenix it was 88 degrees.

Filed under: Wood cutting — Tags: , , — montucky @ 8:47 pm

Today, after 6 days of rain, I decided it was time to get out a bit and scout for a place to cut firewood for next winter. I chose the Siegel Creek drainage and hoped that the last snow drifts on the high road would be small enough to let me get to the divide. It was a little surprising to see that the road was clear, and I drove the Jeep another 5 miles past the divide, 14 miles (and a mile higher in elevation) after leaving the highway. At about 7,000 feet there was a pretty good snow storm going on and the heater in the Jeep felt good. A lot of blown down trees showed that winter was not kind to the mountain and the rocks on the road made me happy that I had spent an extra couple hundred dollars for extra good tires last winter, but the miles of green were very pretty and the entire trip was quite refreshing.

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

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

August 25, 2009

Renewable energy

Filed under: Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Trees, Wood cutting — montucky @ 9:23 pm

Because there were so many projects that had to be done this summer, we decided that it would be good to buy a little firewood instead of spending the time going out and getting it ourselves. We bought a truck load of lodgepole pine from a guy who was thinning some of his timberland 25 miles down river and it will heat our home for about the next four years.

Firewood

Firewood

Firewood

Firewood

While I am performing the task of cutting these 25 tons of logs to 17 inch lengths to fit our wood stove, splitting and stacking them, this will probably be known as the “exercise room”. You know, with all of the ballyhoo now about health care, this might just be one of the best health care plans going.

September 20, 2008

Wood cutting day

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wood cutting — montucky @ 9:21 pm

Eleven hours of hard work, 50 miles of driving on beautiful high-country roads yields 1 cord of dry, seasoned lodgepole pine; a ton and a half of firewood.

Firewood

I’d be willing to bet there are lots of folks across this country who would love to work a day like this for a month’s worth of winter heat! Total cost including Forest Service firewood permit, diesel for the truck, chain saw gas and shampoo to get chain and bar oil out of mustache, about $15.

October 17, 2007

For its elements

I like this photograph, not because it’s a great photograph but because of the elements of the natural process that it contains.

The tree trunks are black from the fire in 2002 which killed about 50,000 acres of the forest which is sad, but:

  • New green pines can be seen which in due time will replace the dead ones and the clump of willows provides cover and food for the animals.
  • The blow-downs in the foreground will decompose and return nutriments to the soil.
  • The standing dead trees for several years now have been providing a renewable and economical energy source for many of us to use in heating our homes.
  • The traces of red are the fall color of huckleberry bushes which took advantage of the openings to the sky and are now growing where they could not grow before.
  • In the burned areas after a fire, the low growing grasses and shrubs provide excellent food for wildlife, and these four Mule deer are typical of those who use it to their advantage.
  • The bare, tan-colored stalks in the foreground are the stalks of bear grass which have provided beautiful summer blossoms in the burn area ever since the first summer after the fire.

Nature is quietly doing what She does so well.

Siegel Creek burn area

(This setting is at an altitude of about 6,000 feet in the burn area of the Siegel Creek fire of 2002. It is in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of western Montana.)

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.