This weekend, I finally got around to cleaning up some deadfall in our forest, removing some hazardous trees while at the same time prepping some firewood for this coming winter. Bob and I have this down to a science; fall the trees, limb them then tow them to our bucking, splitting and stacking area. I’m trying to only take down damaged or dangerous trees and we’re going to replant with a variety of mountain ash which grows quick and burns hot. Last year I gathered enough firewood to heat our house through the whole winter with about 1/2 a cord left over. With hydro rates set to increase by 50%, I’m glad we don’t have to rely on electricity for our heat.
Posts Tagged With: firewood
Over a recent weekend, Tim, Dad and I opened our version of Monster Garage as we worked on converting Tim’s old tent trailer into a utility trailer. Our first step was to strip down the old tent trailer structure, right down to the rusted metal frame. Next, we bolted the deck, made of 2x6s, to the frame. Despite my best efforts, I managed to screw up the initial bolting stage by using 3″ carriage bolts instead of 2″ – I didn’t have a socket set to tighten the nuts on a 3″ long bolt! After removing the old bolts, we replaced them with the 2″ version which worked great. In addition, we used self-drilling screws to attach the uprights to the frame. The mid-span screws went in like butter but the frame corners, perhaps due to extra thick plates of metal were like, er, iron. We had to use a metal bit to screw through these sections and went back to the bolts instead of the metal screws.
Once the deck and the vertical stanchions were in place, we added the rail, three courses, and tailgate. The finished result was solid and square but it wasn’t known how much we could actually load into it; only one way to find out – load it! We hooked Bob up and towed the trailer to the North 40 where we loaded it about half full of dry firewood which it held just fine. Bob towed the loaded trailer with no problem, over grass and ruts, all the way back to the woodshed. We’re probably going to need to make couple more trips to clear up the firewood cut thus far.
This Monster Garage production was a challenge but we ended up with a utility trailer that will serve our three families for years to come!
Hockey tournaments, trips to Vancouver, bad weather and, of course, work have all done their best to derail my attempts to complete this blasted woodshed. With a four day weekend ahead of me, I was determined to put this thing to bed once and for all. After visiting Black Creek Farm and Feed (yes, Home Depot doesn’t corner the market on all projects) where I picked up the 3×10 sheets of galvanized roof, I called up my trustee labourers, the Queen of Sheba and Manuel. We unloaded the roofing sheets ($20 at BCFF versus $33 at Home Depot) and laid them out on the roof, anxiously double checking my measurements. Thankfully they were accurate.
The Queen, as Manuel so aptly named her, perched upon Bob’s spring-loaded seat, barking out commands like a sergeant major at parade. I spent most of my time perched upon a ladder, drilling roofing screws into panels of galvanized metal while Manuel arranged them from the ground. Josée was busy cleaning up around the backyard and brought us a cup of tea as well – thanks, love!
We wrapped things up by stacking what little firewood we have left for this year and then standing back to admire our work. The shed should hold 5-6 cords of wood once full and, judging by the rainfall we’re having tonight, is nice and dry. I just have to tidy up a few loose ends and then figure out my rain-water collection system but that’ll be another day!
I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who was bemoaning our use of a wood stove as our primary heating source. He quoted all the usual arguments – pollution, environmentally unfriendly, dirty, inefficient to name a few. I thought it interesting that he didn’t seem to mind the electric base-board heat in his house. Here are a few facts and thoughts on wood as fuel.
- Burning wood releases the same amount of pollution into the atmosphere as wood left to rot on the forest floor. There is no difference. The manner in which it is released is different – combustion versus decomposition – but the net effect is the same. Although carbon makes up about half the weight of firewood and is released as carbon dioxide when the wood is burned, it is part of a natural cycle. A tree absorbs carbon dioxide from the air as it grows and incorporates this carbon in its structure. When the tree falls and decays in the forest, or is processed into firewood and burned, the carbon is released again to the atmosphere. This cycle can be repeated forever without increasing atmospheric carbon. Heating with wood, therefore, does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. Moreover, when wood energy displaces the use of fossil fuels, the result is a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- The firewood we gather is from our property so we expend very little in the way of energy (gas for the car or paying a delivery vehicle) to harvest the wood. We haven’t started yet but this summer I plan to start a re-forestation project on our property. We have enough wood here for probably 20 years or more but it doesn’t hurt to start new trees early.
- Depending on the source, generating a unit of electricity can actually require three units of energy. For instance, most electrical energy in North America comes from coal-fired plants. It requires three units of coal buring to generate one unit of electrical energy which is obviously not a good ratio. Consider the pollution effect of the coal being mined and subsequently burned and this ratio increases further.
- Natural gas, oil and other fossil fuel derivatives release carbon from its “stored” state but have no mechanism to re-absorb this released carbon.
- Wood is natural and renewable.
Ultimately our goal is to build a new house which is completely off-grid and produces 100% of it’s own energy through solar, wind and geothermal sources. The technology to make this happen is here – we as a society just need to use it. Until then, we’ll enjoy our woodstove and the wonderfully ‘warm’ warmth it produces.