When The Landing Is The Highway

Cows walking through log landingSimply wanting the cows to move from one area to the next can be a challenge, especially when we place our log landing right in the middle of the path that they chose to use as the highway between one pasture and the next.

We have large fields for the cows to meander around and this time of year they have many, many acres to do just that. They tend to think of all the ground as their space and make their paths wherever they feel compelled to walk. If one cow walks a path, several others will walk the same path and before long there is a highway with designated stops and hazards. Continue reading

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Planning Ahead

While we are working in the woods to clear out some of the damaged, sick or dying trees, we are sorting the pieces that are still green and piling them up in their own landing. These green pieces of today will be the logs for next year’s firewood project.

A log deck in a landingSome trees are good enough to make into merchantable logs and have their own log deck that will be hauled by a truck to a mill.

These are logs that are too defective to make marketable timber products so will be used for our firewood project. Some have too many scars or limbs, some have sucker knots or two tops, others have twisted butts, or are simply too small in diameter. By next year, the pile will be ready to begin the cutting and splitting process of firewood making. After cutting and splitting, the curing and drying will continue until the wood has less than 17 percent moisture before the wrapping and delivering can occur. Continue reading

Moving Wood Production

While we are gearing up firewood production for our own winter use, we are also ramping up production for the bundle project. Moving outdoors while the weather is holding clear and dry for a couple of days will speed up the process.

Splitter with stacks and crib of firewoodWe have moved the portable Super Splitter out of the production area of the barn so it is closer to the log landing.

While one person is cutting the wood into 16 inch pieces, another one can be chopping the larger pieces into halves or quarters with the wedges and sledgehammer in order to make the heavy pieces light enough to lift up onto the platform table of the splitter. Quarters can still weigh too much to lift and will be split smaller if needed. Continue reading

Generosity, Gratitude, And A Bit Of Angst

We were still a little punch drunk and trying to recover from the last frantic days of hay season when my sister and brother-in-law came to the farm for dinner. It was a very good thing they did because time ( as with many times ) they even brought dinner with them!

My sister and I get along well now that we do not have to share the childhood bed with each other. As for my brother-in-law, he is just like another brother and has assisted in countless backyard demolitions, rental clean outs, re-wiring jobs and is my go to guru for all computer related problems. These two are generous and caring and play a mean game of dominoes.

But back to my story, Sis and BIL came over to catch up with all we have been doing and we had a wonderful and delicious evening. Since everyone was still dog-tired, the evening ended before the sun went down. I walked them out to their car and when they popped the trunk they were reminded that they were carrying some wood scraps around. Continue reading

Waiting For The Sounds

Chainsaws are loud even with earplugs to temper the noise. The dogs use the sound of the chainsaw to keep track of us humans while we work. If the saw is running, they are off exploring, chasing pesky squirrels or splashing in the river. Once the saw is shut off, the dogs make a bee-line for the source of the quiet to make sure we are still intending to work. Today, Butler was the one on duty with me while I worked.

White and black dog sitting in front of logs being cut for firewood.On this warm afternoon the dog was gone off on his own adventures while I was cutting firewood from the log deck. I had just run the saw out of fuel and took a moment to sit on a log for a breather.

Butler wasted no time in plopping himself right in front of me to inspect the reason for the sudden disruption in the sound.

Without a word he surveyed the scene assuring all was well and patiently waited for me to decide if I was going to fill the saw with gas or if I was going to put the equipment away for the day. Today, after a little break, I found that I indeed did have enough energy for another tank of fuel (run time about 30 minutes) and cut enough firewood for a full Gator load of 16 inch long pieces.

Butler promptly took off and disappeared until I ran out of gas for the second time. The scenario played out as before when he came back to check on me. This time however I did not have enough ooomph left to saw any more, or split the cut wood, or to load it into the Gator. Butler walked with me to stow the saw away and make my way back to the house. Both of us were tuckered out and looked forward to another day with me at the log deck and him on patrol.

Let Me In

The weather has not been cooperating to be able to get the seedlings planted on the hill so we have been keeping busy with other projects around the farm. Snow and frozen ground have that job on hold while orders for firewood have skyrocketed.

Remember the commercial where the excited early shopper pressed her face and hands against the front door while chanting “open, open, open”? I’m not sure what the ad was about or what it was trying to entice me to buy,  but I remember the shopper clearly.

Continue reading

Valentines On My Mind

I normally don’t pay much attention to the national Happy Sappy Day. Life on the farm doesn’t take a holiday and cows, cats, dogs or trees do not care for frilly cards, decadent sweets or promises of everlasting devotion. Showing by doing is the motto around here.

A heart shape scrar on a piece of firewood.While out in the barn bundling firewood, a natural heart showed up out of the pile of 16 inch wood blocks.

It was determined that the injury happened pre-mortem because the edges had sealed and formed a protective barrier around the edge of the heart.

It might have been simply because it was February 14 that the heart was noticeable and recognized, but it sure made me crave chocolate.