Tag Archives: firewood

Seasoned Firewood

Although it’s been cold here this winter it’s been nothing like last year and the before.  We only had a total of six inches of snow the entire winter.  That being said we still have a woodhouse two-thirds full of seasoned firewood.

The woodhouse holds six ranks of firewood from one end to the other and almost to the rafters.

From this position you can tell we can put two more ranks in the woodhouse for next season.

From several downed apple trees and locust trees we think we have enough cut for next year.

This is about six or seven tractor dump loads.

This is our woodhouse which sits in the southwest corner of our back yard.

All of this wood will need to be seasoned. By seasoned I mean, we will split the wood and stack it to air in the open air behind the woodhouse so that the moisture will dry out of the wood. Unseasoned wood is the main culprit of flue fires in our neck of the woods. If you’ve not had or heard of them it means that the creosote from the wet wood builds up in your stove-pipe and chimneys and when it gets hot enough it blazes and a blazing fire in the pipes and chimney sounds like a tornado or a big train rolling down the tracks!! Scares me to death and we’ve only had about two in our 45 years of marriage.

The smaller sticks on top are from the maple tree that I posted about earlier in the year.

Close up of the wood we gathered from a maple tree, two apple tree limbs and several locust trees.

Some of the wood in the pile is from limbs on the main tree and don’t have to be split but do need to be seasoned just like the split wood.

This is our “Wood General” wood splitter which we’ve had for several years. It has saved hubby’s back and shoulders from lots of pain!

This is a closeup of the engine on the Wood General. Gas engine with a pull cord to start it.

The hardest part about using this woodsplitter is the cranking when it’s cold!! So we usually work on the wood on sunny days after the splitter has sat out in the sunshine!

He has split a very little bit of this pile of wood for the time being and says on sunny afternoons he should be able to finish it in a couple of weeks if he splits an hour or so while I fix supper. I call that a “win-win situation”!!

Apple wood is a good wood if it’s dry for getting a fire started.  Most of the wood in the woodhouse is oak and from trees that have died on the farm and were already seasoned.  If you need a hot fire that will last overnight we use seasoned locust and there are times it has run us out of the living room at night because it heats up so fast and lasts so long.

Locust, apple and some maple split from the big pile.

Another neat thing about having the splitter is all of the kindling that builds up under it while you’re splitting.  I gather all of it into feed bags and store it in the woodhouse for starting our fires.

Splinters of wood from the main block make great kindling (fire starter) to start your fire.

Bark from the wood also make great kindling.

REMEMBER:  Season your firewood!!  No one needs their home to burn down at any time but especially in the middle of winter.

 

 

Baby, it’s cold outside!!!

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there's patches of snow on top of the ice.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there’s patches of snow on top of the ice.

My wood pile is disappearing and I'm the only one using it!

My wood pile is disappearing and I’m the only one using it!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Hubby's new weather station.  It's been used more than any he's ever had.

Hubby’s new weather station. It’s been used more than any he’s ever had.

Yes, it’s wintertime and it’s supposed to be cold but darn it we just got teased really bad with 50 and 60 degree weather and my body is just not liking this one bit!  I can stand the cold if there’s sunshine to go along with it but that wind is wicked!!  My son thinks I’m a wimp but one of these days he’ll understand where I’m coming from. Right, Shawn???

I know I have to stick it out for at least three or four more months so I guess I’ll be quilting, crocheting, reading, cooking, embroidering, and blogging a lot to keep me occupied for a while.  I’ll be making hourly trips to the henhouse for eggs and taking them warm water.  I’ll be checking in on Roscoe three or four times a day and making sure he’s okay with just his fur coat and watching to make sure hubby’s hounds will have plenty of protein for food and hay in their boxes for warmth.  We have their houses facing the morning sun to keep them warm as well.  Mother Nature will take care of everything else.

Now, to find my seed catalogs and make a list!!!

What A Day

I’m pooped and this is all you get today!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting.  I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow.  Bet I lost a few pounds today!  ;)

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting. I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow. Bet I lost a few pounds today! 😉

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

All I have to do now is cover it all with plastic before the rain sets in tomorrow afternoon.

I’m totally whipped this afternoon and we’ll probably have a hotdog for supper instead of the roast in the crockpot because I don’t have enough spunk to fix anything to go with the roast!!

Chilling Weather and Orphaned chickens

It was still dark when I left for work last Thursday morning at -5* and Eddie said it would drop more as it became daylight.  He had both stoves going when I got home that night, extra bedding in the dog boxes, extra hay left in the woods for the cows, wood boxes filled to overflowing, made sure new chickens given by a friend of his were settling in and he’s taking them warm water several times a day.  The house was a “toasty 81*” when I got home but the wind was howling and made it feel like 75*.  We even threw on an extra blanket and the bedroom window was closed.  Even though my waist isn’t thinning I believe my blood may be!!  I think the winter is just getting started this year and we’ve lots more cold, wind and snow yet to come.
As for the new chickens, a friend of my husbands had to get rid of them because they were eating his neighbors cat food everyday.  This has caused my usual 3-5 eggs a day to  jump to 12-18!!!  French toast in the making!!  Custard pies on the horizon (to heck with the weight)!!  Egg salad for lunch!  I could go on and on and of course we can’t forget the infamous fried egg sandwich w/cheese!!​  Of course, our benefactor will receive free eggs for a time.

I think he is a crossed Americauna, small but handsome!

I think he is a crossed Americauna, small but handsome!

Barred Rocks

Barred Rocks

Different breeds but beautiful eggs.

Different breeds but beautiful eggs.

Got to think of a name for him.

Got to think of a name for him.

Very pretty hen and very friendly.

Very pretty hen and very friendly.

They stay together most of the time and don't mingle with my old girls.

They stay together most of the time and don’t mingle with my old girls.

The new chickens and my old chickens fought each other most of the day and the rooster that came with them is thankfully one of a kind and will not be with us long.  I want a Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Black Orpington or a Dominique.  Sussex and Americana are beautiful and good egg layers.  I’ll check around in the spring when some of my girls tend to get broody!!
My older hens stick close to the hen-house and aren’t ranging out very far but there’s a very good reason.  A couple of weeks ago a bird hawk, smaller than my hens, decided to invade the inside of the henhouse and killed two of my hens and the day before we found Ms. Crow dead in front of the door.  We have a feeling the hawk got it as well but couldn’t carry her off.  The hens are still skittish and stay close to buildings they can get under fast.  They quit laying for a couple of days or are dropping the eggs outside of the nesting area.
This winter is the first in a long time that I’ve had to buy store-bought eggs and glad it was only for a couple of weeks.  There’s nothing like fresh eggs from the farm.  The eggs are coming more generously now and I can start selling them again but we’ve decided to raise the price on them to $2.00 per dozen because the  is needing a new roof and we’ve had to supplement their feed with scratch grains because of the very cold winter.  Keep them fat and the cold won’t hurt so bad!!  We don’t believe in heated and lighted chicken houses.  We keep everything as natural as possible.
On another note, Fuzzy is missing!!

Fuzzy, my orphaned cat.  She was dropped at our home long before we arrived and survived wild until I finally coaxed her to my lap!!

Fuzzy, my orphaned cat. She was dropped at our home long before we arrived and survived wild until I finally coaxed her to my lap!!

I haven’t seen her since last Wednesday when she came to meet when I got home from work.  I fed her that evening and haven’t seen her since.  She left once before for about four days but this has been over  a week and I’m so afraid a coyote pack got her.  I hope I go home today and she has returned.

Winter stockpile

2014 final wood split and ready to store in shed.  Wonderful oak that has been dead for at least a year.

2014 final wood split and ready to store in shed. Wonderful oak that has been dead for at least a year.

We’re ready for a cold winter after this load is put in the woodhouse. I believe it’s a total of three pickup loads full. Hubby split it in three days while I was at work. Now we need to put it in the shed to keep it dry for winter use.

Wood General wood splitter has saved a lot of sore muscles and pain the back!

Wood General wood splitter has saved a lot of sore muscles and pain the back!

This will all go in the big stove in the living room. We’ve not brought in anything for the wood cookstove yet.
Heating oil tank on the backside of the woodshed.

Heating oil tank on the backside of the woodshed.

This fuel tank was used for heating oil when hubby’s aunt & uncle lived here. The back side of the tank was against the wood shed and years of rain off the roof, onto the tank and draining against the wall has rotted it badly and it was placed against a door to the back side of the shed.  This is what it looks like after years of rotting.

Rotting wood

Rotting wood

Woodshed needs repairs.

Woodshed needs repairs.  A hole and major damage is at the bottom of the door and a short board is holding it shut for the moment.

We’ll replace the door and use it to throw the wood in for stacking. It will be easier to back the truck up to that opening.  Always something to repair or replace but this door will make it easier to throw the wood in the building instead of the window.

The shed is already two-thirds full from wood we didn’t have to use last year.

Two-thirds full

Two-thirds full

We will surely be warm in the coming winter months!

UPDATE

Hubby repaired the rotten door today and did an amazing job.  He plans to paint the entire building with a old time mixture to preserve it the rest of OUR lives.  Here’s the results and it was the first door he ever made from scratch.  He’s so amazing!

 

Repaired with lumber cut from the farm.

Repaired with lumber cut from the farm.

First time he made a door from scratch.

First time he made a door from scratch.

 

TOTALLY AWESOME!

TOTALLY AWESOME!

Heat

Winter 2014 warmth stockpile to be completed.

Winter 2014 warmth stockpile to be completed.

On Sunday morning we took off to the woods and started cutting for the 2014-15 heating season.  We found two oak trees that had been dead from the gypsy moth invasion three years ago and put more than a ton of weight on the farm truck.  Here’s a view of the visit with nature.

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IMG_0014We were there for about one and half hours and Hubby sawed the trees up and loaded the heavy pieces which were way to heavy for me and then I loaded the lighter stuff and enjoyed being in the woods.

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IMG_0004I enjoy anything that involves us being outdoors together and I love the smell of fresh cut firewood.  One of the trees was blown to the ground and heavier than the other because it soaked up the last rain.  The other tree was still standing but the bark had fallen off.  This will keep us nice and toasty next winter.  All we have to do now is split the big stuff and put it in the woodhouse.

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Cleaning up the orchards

Storm aftermath June 29th, 2012

Storm aftermath June 29th, 2012

June duratio takes down several apple trees.

June duratio takes down several apple trees.

 

In June of this past summer, we had lots of tree and fence damage from the “duratio” that hit our farm.  I’ve never seen such wind and we were very lucky that we had no more damage than we did.  We did loose several apple trees and hubby has been working hard since that wind storm to get things back in order.

Hubby started the clean up in the orchard today and got all but one of the downed trees cut up and hauled off.  It looks kind of bare now but hopefully we’ll fix that.  Here’s a picture of the cleaned up orchard as of this afternoon.

Fallen apple trees removed and sun shining on the remaining.

Fallen apple trees removed and sun shining on the remaining.

Lots of replacing to do for the orchard at the house.

Lots of replacing to do for the orchard at the house.

 

We won’t be able to replace those trees with the same type because they were trees grafted by the family years ago.  Luckily there are several of the same type in the orchard and I have 30+ apple stock in the cellar that are two years old and ready for grafting.  I need to get out soon and cut scion from the trees we have left and when spring truly breaks I’ll get that new stock in the ground, grafted and wrapped and shielded from all the wildlife that love tender buds.

I’m looking forward to another try at grafting myself.  Hubby is a real pro at it!  I’ve taken the classes but think maybe I try to hard.  We’ll see how they fair toward the end of summer and look for new sprouts on the grafts.  I LOVE FARMING!!!

No more blocks :(

It’s two weeks into the new year and I haven’t made anymore blocks for my sampler quilt.  The weekends have been slam packed with other stuff and I haven’t sit foot in my quilt room.  Shame on me!!  This week I’ll try to do better.

Last weekend we hauled in firewood and put away the last of the venison and pork.  This weekend we worked around the house, cleaned the hen house nests, and today spent most of the day working cattle.  We had twelve 3-4 month old calves to vaccinate, worm, band and eartag and 15 cows to worm and eartag.  Our daughter helped with was a blessing and we finished in about two hours.

There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done!!  No pictures today!  Cattle don’t fare well in a head chute and having their pictures made.  Anyway, on with the new week and hopefully the sampler blocks will be made.  I’m only about 30 blocks behind!!  🙂

 

Saturday with Hubby

It’s been a good while since Hubby and I spent the day together in the woods.  The weather was nice enough (40* and sunny) for me to get out with my fingers crossed that the bronchial problems wouldn’t re-surface.  It was the last day of deer hunting season and hubby had killed two does and one buck with his muzzleloader in the last three days to complete his big game tag.  The front porch firewood supply was getting low (even though the wood house was fuller than it had been for three years) and it had been a long time since we had cut firewood together.

Porch wood stack getting low.

Porch wood stack getting low.

 

After breakfast was over, I washed up the dishes, fed the chickens and turned them out, and started the laundry while hubby fed the cattle.  Then we headed for the flatwoods with the chainsaw, gloves and a smile on my face.  We saw several deer run as we entered the woods and a squirrel took for the tree tops.

Within a hundred feet we found three dead locust and and a downed oak so we stopped the truck and I waited for hubby to bring them down and within a hour the truck was packed with wonderful fuel for the woodstoves.  We headed back to the house with the pickup full.

Truck full and some has to be split.

Truck full and some has to be split.

Notice the handmade wheelbarrow that hubby made last spring.  That thing is the best tool we own as far as I’m concerned.  It’s balanced just right and I can go anywhere with it.  Hubby decided to use the splitting maul to quarter the larger pieces and while he did that I unloaded the smaller sticks to the wheelbarrow and he pushed it to the porch for me and I unloaded it.  It was good quality time together and even though it’s calling for temps to be in the 40’s this coming week, we’ll still have to have a fire day and night.  We’re saving the wood in the woodhouse for hardtimes (snow to deep to get to the woods) and we’ve talked about doing this for the next few Saturdays together, weather permitting, and fill up the entire three sides of the front porch.  We like to do this because it blocks the winds from the front door and we will have those nasty winds.  Here’s the finished work about thirty minutes later.

One load fills up a pretty big gap!

One load fills up a pretty big gap!

From this point I returned indoors to work on laundry and other chores while hubby skinned and quarted the venison.  We had a very productive day.


New carpet

We had rain most of Saturday night and all day yesterday.  The temps dropped from 70’s to 40″s and there is a definite nip in the air.  I took some pictures to commemorate the season’s definite change and the change in the looks around the house.  Hope you enjoy may new carpet of gold, red and orange!

 

Fall color

Fall color

Orange, gold and red surround the house

Orange, gold and red surround the house

Falling leaves carpet the yard

Falling leaves carpet the yard

Sugar maples all around the house insure color in the fall.

Sugar maples all around the house insure color in the fall.

One tree empty and the other full of gold.

One tree empty and the other full of gold.

The farm is all aglow!!

The farm is all aglow!!

I guess it’s time to load up the front porch with lots of firewood and put fresh bedding in the hen nests and the dog boxes.  That woodstove sure put off some good heat last night.

Work, work, work. . . continued

Two weeks later the greenhouse is full of plants growing faster than I can repot.  The asparagus is coming in really good now and we’ve planted our onions and cabbage with hopes of planting the potatoes this weekend.  The berry vines and apple trees have been pruned.  I fear I may run out of area for all the plants in the greenhouse but I have lots of friends waiting for sharing in our wealth. 

Hubby has hauled in two truck loads of firewood and has it stacked ready to split and move to the woodhouse. We only used about five loads this past winter and the winter was mild.  The woodhouse is still about 1/3 full but we have to prepare for what could always be a long cold winter though we always hope it won’t be.  On the farm you always have to prepared for the worst case scenario and that means bringing in at least six more loads to fill the woodhouse and four more for stashing in the barn for easy access in the event of  heavy snows and we can’t get to the woodland.

We have two calves left to join the rest of the herd and we currently have thirty one running around in the fields.   I “set” two hens in the last ten days.  One has twelve eggs under her and the other has nine and the first hatch will be around the 9th of May and the second will hatch around the 24th of May.  The henhouse is due a good cleaning and fresh bedding in the nesting area and fresh sawdust under the roosting area.  

We’ve finished the renovations to the cattle working pen and it should be a lot more user-friendly for the humans and the cattle.  We plan to work them next weekend which will entail eartags, worming, baby vaccinations, banding and then turning out on the fresh spring pastures.  All of the major fencing that HAD to be done is complete with more to be completed in the fall.

Spring cleaning has begun with the major cleaning to be done in two weeks when I’m on vacation and the wood stoves have been cleaned out for the heating season.  I can’t wait to get them all cleaned up and polished for next winter.  We seem to always be preparing for another season.  I’ve been hoarding the items I need to make my homemade cleaning products and I’ve made lists of everything to be done while I’m off.  Preliminary cleaning has begun to help with the big clean up which includes cleaning out closets, cleaning the appliances and cleaning up the yard and preparing for the greenhouse wealth.  I need to start on sewing the new curtains I’ve planned for three of the rooms in the house.  I also have a few new decorating ideas which entails some crafting to do quickly.

Work, work, work!!

It’s the time of year when the farm is on the way to being very busy,  not only with cleaning up from winter and gardening a little but also for preparing for next winter.

There’s filling the wood house with enough firewood to last through the worst of winter’s even it doesn’t come to fruition.

You can never be sure!  So, prepare, prepare, prepare!!

Mowing, raking and baling enough hay to keep the cattle fat and happy through a rough winter when they’re carrying prospective new babies.

We’re always mending and replacing fences and cleaning up line-fences (fences bordering neighbors).  Gates get in disrepair and have to be changed.  Fence posts after so many years will rot off at the top of the ground and they’ll need to be replaced.  Did I mention deer running through the fences and making openings where none should be while a predator  (coyote) is chasing them?  These all need to be watched and corrected all year long to keep your cattle where they’re supposed to be and keep your neighbors happy.

Building fences, sheds, working pens and more can run into loads of money.  One way that we are able to cut some of those costs is to go into our woodland and cut mature trees, saw into 8′, 10′ and 12′ logs, haul them out of the woods and have a neighbor with a portable sawmill come to the farm and saw our logs into lumber.  Our woodland has lots of mature  oak and pine perfect for the job and if you leave them in the woods they will fall and rot.  We’re returning the logs to the farm in the way of lumber.

I’ve decided this post will go on forever so for time and adventure I will save the rest for several segments of “Work, work, work!  Until then, look around your day to day life and re-evaluate the work you do for your family.  When you break it down like this, it’ll be very gratifying but may make you tired too!!