One key component that every true homestead needs is firewood. We are lucky to not only live in the woods, but also that our state is currently removing trees that pose a threat to power lines. Our road alone has a dozen large trees that are being cut down, and the majority of the wood is left behind. The residents are allowed to take it, and whatever is left behind will be cleaned up in another week or so by the city. In our neighborhood, we are certainly not the only family looking to save as much of that wood as possible, but everyone has been friendly and helpful in sharing the available trees.
Planning ahead is very important when it comes to firewood. With wood requiring time to dry and season before it is best suited for burning, especially indoors, this means you always want to be working to save wood for the following year. We were lucky that our city cut down some massive trees in a local park last year, and allowed city residents to take the logs. My husband saved quite a lot, which has had time to season and will be ready to burn this winter. We have come across some other wood that is also dry enough to help boost our supply for the current year.
Whether it’s just for a backyard fire pit, or used to warm the house, firewood is essential and the type of wood chosen must be taken in to consideration as not just any wood will do. When burning wood outdoors, your options are more plentiful; wood can be damp or “punky” and no one will mind the smoke as much. However it is important to choose wisely when selecting wood for burning in your wood stove or fireplace. Choosing tree types that are inefficient for burning or wood that hasn’t been seasoned properly can result in smokey fires, or wood that burns up too quickly, leaving you to burn through your supply twice as fast. Select “hard woods”, like oak, hickory, cherry and beech for burning indoors. While other wood may burn OK indoors, these hard wood varieties will burn more efficiently – lasting longer and burning cleanly – than other woods like pine or poplar will do. Save those for your fire pit!
While collecting and splitting the wood is not a task I’ve assisted in much, having just had a baby, I can attest that my husband has been enjoying the work, as fatiguing as it can be. With all homestead “chores”, there comes a sense of appreciation and value to the work, because you are always the one to revel in the benefits. I have always loved the ache of sore muscles after a job well done, knowing that I have contributed to our garden or home. I suppose it’s good that we love the work – we certainly have a lot more to do!