Saturday, October 6, 2012

Winter Firewood

Ideally, we would be working on next winter's firewood  supply.  We used to work a whole year ahead so the wood could season properly.  The year that Andy's dad passed away threw the schedule out of kilter and we never really got back to being a whole year's supply of firewood ahead.  Burning freshly cut wood is not optimal, but ash is your best choice if you have to do that.  We have a lot of ash in the woods.  Yay.  Unfortunately it is succumbing to ash decline, so stands of it are dying like mad. Boo.  Of course, that also means that we don't have to be too choosy about heavy cutting in any particular area since it's dying anyway.  Sigh.  Yesterday we went to the woods to get a good bunch of trees cut down.  Once on the ground, Andy can spend a day winching them up out of the woods and arrangeing them for easy handling.  You can cut and split wood out in a field when it's spitting rain or snow, but walking and working in wet woods can be hazardous.  No need to risk falling - working up firewood is likely to make one sore enough.

So, Andy finds a good candidate.
He cuts them such that the tops fall downhill, making the butt end of the log closer to the field where the tractor and winch wait.
A lovely shower of bright yellow leaves sprinkles down each time, shaken loose by the falling tree a bit quicker than nature would have done.
After he's felled as many as he wants to deal with in one session, the winch is put into play.  First you drag the cable to the log...
Chain it firmly on and then trek back uphill to the tractor.  Engaging the PTO causes the cable to wind back on the spool, pulling the log along with it.  This particular tree had gotten hung up in a neighboring one, but was still no match for the winch and quickly became horizontal.
Up and over the bank into the field and pulled into line with the rest.  He pulls the entire tree out of the woods and cuts the tops off out there.  You can get a lot of nice small limb wood from a tree top.  The parts that are really too small to mess with can be pushed back into the edge of the woods with the tractor bucket later. 

At least the work will be done on the flat without brush and branches underfoot.

"Mom, I LOVE the woods.  Let's do this every day!!"
Er, you'll have to talk to Dad about that, Holly.  Too much fun is likely to wear him out!


  1. We are behind on cutting our wood too. Oh well, better late than never.

  2. We've been lucky the last few years. Don found a someone who lives right around the corner who works grounds at a local college with lots of old trees. His job is to trim or take them down and dispose of them and our job is to pay him a reasonable price for firewood. It comes cut-to-length, split and he often has time to help stack it.

  3. Nice shots! Your woods is beautiful and well maintained.