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


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.


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!…..


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.

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

June 5, 2011

Summer’s work, winter’s comfort

Filed under: Montana — Tags: — montucky @ 10:39 pm

One advantage of living away from the cities and near the forests is the ability to utilize wood heat, if you don’t mind doing a little work for it. This is about twenty five tons of wood which will heat our home for the next three years. It also serves as an exercise room: note on the right end of the log deck in the last photo the tools that will be used to turn it into firewood.

Fire wood

Fire wood

Fire wood

Fire wood

March 30, 2010

Alternative or alternating…

Filed under: Montana, Outdoors — Tags: — montucky @ 7:57 pm


Alternative energy is on all of the front pages now, but this isn’t exactly alternative energy, it’s more like alternating energy, whereby you put energy into it now and then get energy out of it later. At the moment I’m questioning whether I’ll get as much energy out of this as I’m putting into it!


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