The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Lost and found firewood

Fallen leaves

Punky firewoodI figure we lose about 10% of our firewood post-cutting and pre-burning.  The scenario generally goes like this --- a tree falls across the driveway (or I need a tree out of the way for gardening purposes) and it absolutely has to get cut today.  I beg Mark to come cut it for me, and he kindly breaks it down into stove-lengths.  We stack the wood, or leave it where it lies, planning to come back with a motorized vehicle to haul it home as soon as driveway conditions permit...then something happens and we forget about it.  Six months later, the firewood is so punky from sitting on the ground that it's not burnable.

Log garden edging

The wood is, however, still perfect for use in the garden.  This week, I took the yellow wagon down to the bend in the driveway to collect one of these caches of lost and found firewood, then tugged the cart home to perk up the figs and dwarf apples.  Two and a half trips later, I could almost feel the garden letting out a contented sigh.  Too bad most of these piles of punky wood aren't close enough for wagon-work!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I didn't notice your method of Fig freeze protection until this post. I saw you have the tarp against the base of the trunk. From what I've read on frost protection (which may be different for winter freeze protection?) the base should allow the earth to radiate heat up into the tarp area. There is an image in the following blog post.

It will be interesting to see the results in the spring especially with the added factor of the mulch and wood potentially radiating heat as it decomposes.

Comment by Brian Fri Dec 20 09:25:33 2013
Brian --- Good point! I can see how spreading out the tarp at the bottom would give us geothermal energy. Next year....
Comment by anna Fri Dec 20 11:45:52 2013

Would you mind telling us about your experience with inoculating logs with mushrooms. Would you say it was worth the effort, did you find a way that seems the best for getting it to work and after you harvest them-will they return like perennials? Thank you John

Comment by john Fri Dec 20 20:13:12 2013

John --- I'll bet most of your questions are answered in our mushroom posts. Take a browse through and see if you still don't understand our mushroom operation.

Comment by anna Sat Dec 21 17:10:39 2013
Ive been pondering engaging in hugelkultur experiments. But I'm hung up on the worry at I'll also be feeding colonies of termites. What is your experience with punky wood and termites? Are you concerned about termites much regarding your barn, home, and other structures?
Comment by jen g Sun Dec 22 12:15:46 2013
jen g. --- That's an interesting question! I haven't seen any termites in our hugelkultur mounds --- I suspect the wood stays too wet in our sopping climate. I'd be curious to hear what others have seen in different parts of the world, though.
Comment by anna Sun Dec 22 13:44:30 2013
We definitely have termites here. In punky old oak logs, the wood flower-bed edging, in some of our wine barrel planters and raised beds. We're dry for six months of the year here north of SF, so plenty of times for colonies to develop I imagine.
Comment by jen g Tue Dec 24 18:53:20 2013

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