A Good Day To Be Stuck Inside

It started off a rather gloomy day with thick fog and indistinguishable views of the forest so it was a good time to spend a couple of hours in the barn across the river. In this barn we have the Super Split set up along with several empty cribs awaiting to be filled up. My job on this day was to split enough wood to fill at least one of the cribs which hold a half-cord of firewood each and to make enough wood into kindling sized pieces to rack up for drying which is about a quarter-cord of wood.

As the fog thickened and obscured most of my view, I was comfortable in the barn with the dogs as company and only needing to go outside to get a second and third Gator load of wood that had already been cut from the log deck into 16 inch chunks. Continue reading

Self-Imposed Jail Time

Jackson and Butler, the two farm dogs, keep us company while we are working. They complain and pout if we go across the river for any reason and don’t take them along. The John Deere Gator is a sure fire clue to the dogs that someone is about to go somewhere. If we head toward the Gator, the dogs perk up and begin to anticipate the next adventure.

A crib made to haul firewood sitting in the bed of the John Deere Gator with dog insideOn this day, Mike had just completed another crib to hold firewood. This crib was fashioned with a regular sized pallet for the base and salvaged wood from the house that we tore down about 10 years ago.

It fits nicely into the bed of the Gator so it can be hauled across the river where a stack of wood is waiting to brought inside before the rains begin that are expected to last a week. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Wood 3

Part 3 in a series of stories about our farm, the firewood production project and our involvement with Oregon Woodland Coop.

The first story of the series, looked at history, growing conditions and what kind of wood that is available with our farm/forest protocol. The second story got into the volume of wood, the manner of storage and how much space is needed for the process. Story three will examine our steps of how to get from log to firewood.

Story 3- From tree to firewood

an 80 foot fallen tree being dragged by the Gator in the woodsWe begin in the woods. Unlike clear-cuts that make huge gaps in the landscape, we selectively thin out trees that are too thick, sick, dying or are broken to let the rest of the trees grow to their potential. Our stand of timber does not decrease in mass board feet each year from this process and in some years, where we do not do much logging, actually increases in volume. We are also planting new seedlings each year with the expectation of 50 to 100 years from now having the forest land can continue with our set protocol. Continue reading

My Old Friend Is Back

I blew up my chainsaw. Dang it anyway. I really liked that saw and it wasn’t that old. I know that I do use it quite a bit but I make sure to use the approved gas/oil ratio with preferred lubricant. Mike even uses it once in a while when he doesn’t want to start up one of his huge saws that he usually uses. But for some reason my saw lost all compression and I could not even start it.

Mike took it into the saw shop since it was still under warranty. They said the same things that any owner of a repair under warranty owner hears, “Gee, we sell hundreds of these and nobody else has a problem.”

Once they tore the saw apart and saw that the motor was toast they called the company and they heard that same line along with some new ones like, “It must be operator error. Did the operator read the entire owners manual?” The company seemed to be under the impression that I (as the owner) liked to rev the motor at full tilt without actually cutting wood, putting too much strain on the motor, and causing it to fail. Mike argued the point vehemently saying that I didn’t have time to do such nonsense. (Thank you so much for coming to my defense honey.)

Eventually the company gave the saw shop a new motor, but the shop had to do all the labor to put the motor in and put the whole saw back together.

side view of a stihl chainsawIt took about a week to get the saw repaired and now I have it back in my hot little hands. I just can’t get the thoughts of those comments out of my mind. Why would the company think that someone would rev up a saw and not cut anything? It that a fun thing to do? Am I missing out on something?

If I didn’t love my brand new motor in my good old friend, I might just be tempted to find out. Except for the fact that I don’t have time for such nonsense…

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.

Double Duty For Barn And Dog

A white and black dog on haybales in the barn.While the barn is used for hay storage and feeding for the yearling bulls, the empty half of the barn is used for bundling firewood.

Each use creates its own kind of mess and it is only about 10 feet between the two so we make an effort to keep the hay mess and the wood mess cleaned up as much as possible no matter which area we are working in.

It was a very stormy day and everyone was happy to be out of the weather. As we were working in the wood, Butler the dog was inspecting part of the haystack in search of vermin that like to move in this time of year, but he would always peek around the corner to make sure we were still working on the crib of wood that needed to be bundled. Both dog and barn were doing double duty on this winter day.

Shuffling Cribs

As we empty the cribs of dry firewood during the bundling process, we are gearing up to refill them with split wood that still needs time to cure and dry.

There is room for two rows of cribs along with storing the bulldozer for winter now that we have fed up the fall portion of the hay we put in during the summer

One row is designated for completely cured wood ready for bundling and the other is for the freshly split wood. There always seems to be competition for storage space no matter how big or how many barns we have and that was the case even before we started filling the gaps with firewood!

The front loader tractor with pallet forks makes for easy shuffling of empty cribs to convenient staging areas so the re-loaded cribs that can be placed in rows for drying. Right now we have four empty cribs so this week will be spent cutting 16 inch pieces off the logs in the landing, splitting them and stacking the four cribs so they can dry. It is going to be a busy week.