Tuesday, September 30, 2008

from sawdust to ashes

making sawdust

Smoke and Ash
by David Budbill

I spend every fall out in the woods, felling trees, cutting their trunks and branches into blocks, splitting and stacking the blocks in neat rows. I cover the wood with old metal roofing and let it sit for a year or so. Then back to the woods with a tractor and wagon. Load the wood into the wagon, haul it back to the woodshed, toss it in and stack it again.

All through the fall, winter and spring I carry the wood by the armload into the house, and stack it again in the woodbox next to the big, old Round Oak stove. In it goes, fire after fire, day after day, month after month. All the while I shovel the ashes into a galvanized coal scuttle, haul them out to the garden, and scatter them over the snow.

After all that work!
A bucket of ash
and smoke
into the air.

When I read this poem Saturday morning via The Writer's Almanac it was quite appropriate, as that was our day to get firewood.

sustainable fuel

From sawdust to ashes, there is a process to cutting your own firewood. Finding the dead or downed trees, the tractor pulling the logs out of the woods, the chainsaw slicing through the trunks, the woodsplitter making short work of big logs. Sticks of firewood loaded onto the wagon, pulled up the hill behind the tractor, unloaded into the wood shed.

the wood shed overflows

Whew! It makes me tired all over again just thinking about it. I am not sure how much longer we can keep this up, but it sure is satisfying in many ways. Saving money on heating costs, recycling the dead wood out of the forest, using a sustainable fuel instead of the expensive fossil fuel that is in our heating oil tank, the fact that cutting your own firewood warms you twice...

hot stuff

...and of course there is nothing better on a cold day than to back up to a warm wood fire.


janeywan said...

We didn't cut wood this year which bummed me out a bit. Although I don't do much of the physical labor, I do what I can. Sometimes it just means bringing something from the truck, keeping the dogs safe etc. He'd never admit it but I suspect hubby enjoys the company as well.

We get warmed by using firewood a few more times then twice. We count loading, unloading, splitting, stacking, hauling into the house. We count 5 time. As you with you, we wonder how long we can continue doing it. I think hubbies dad was well into his seventies when he had to quit. That's a few years off for hubby.

dot said...

You will be toasty warm in your beautiful home this winter! You sure have it stacked up but I imagine ya'll use a good bit.

Byron Chesney said...

I miss our fireplace so bad. All 3 of my kids stayed sick when we were burning wood so we had to stop. Chopping that wood is a good workout too.

cj said...

I am so jealous! Your house looks like the one I want!