Firewood - 2019

We heat the house for the year with two gallons of gasoline ...

... run through a chainsaw.

All Summer the trees soak up sunshine, fixing it in their wooden trunks and limbs.

This year we were lucky to have logs piled up from when we cleared to make the orchard bigger. Having already dried for a year, they had only to be loaded onto the trailer and hauled to the work area where we cut them into lengths suitable for winter fires.

The thin logs made up almost a half of the coming winter's supply. Below, the picture of the last load, brought in after the pile of large rounds was split, shows the trailer used to transport it all, and the custom sawhorse that makes it much easier to cut up thin wood.

Frequently, while the chainsaw powered its way through log after log, I acknowledged our debt to fossil fuel. The winter's supply of wood was a huge task. It would have been far more tiring if we had to use muscle power. The feeling of guilt for such fossil dependence is only partly relieved by grand plans for building a settlement that captures sunshine and holds it indoors in a way that requires almost no external energy for heating.

Last year there were a number of big rounds that we were unable to split. This year, with Murray's splitter on loan, we were able to split them and many other larger logs that came from the new orchard.

Here is the pile in preparation.

We were fortunate this year to have help from Tim, who recently moved near by,

and Santiago a student recently arrived from Spain.

Claire, Colin, Mary Ella, Bethanie, Andrew and Andrew's grandson Maverick also helped with splitting and piling.

The splitter is an awesome tool! A hydraulic cylinder turns electric power into 9 tons of preasure, pressing logs up against a wedge.

Rather than the fossil energy of a gas powered splitter (and the noise and exhaust fumes), at our fingertips was nuclear power from Ontario Hydro.

Ultimately, we hope to run both chainsaw and splitter from solar power. Meanwhile we dream and plan for the sort of minimum energy consuming structure described down the page at What We Can Build.

Finally the work is done and all the wood we might need is drying further under shed roofs, to be ready in case it gets cold again next winter.

Note the stump with the hatchet in it.

Can you see that large round on the right of the pile shown below?

Note also the blossoms of the Catalpa tree that we had the pleasure of working under.

Thousands of delicate, slightly scented flowers, almost two inches across, hovered above us. Some drifted down as we worked.