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

Managing the wood pile

Wood shed in the snowI got a bit spoiled for the first month of the princess's reign.  We filled up the wood shed at the end of last winter with a lot of scavenged wood off the property and with some cherry that Joey delivered, and the bone dry wood burned beautifully.  The shed was still two thirds full at the beginning of the week, but we hit a snag --- most of the scavenged wood was too punky to burn well.  Instead, it seemed to dissolve in the fire, producing very little heat.

Since the wood shed has three rows of wood in it, my original plan had been to empty a third, fill it with wood that had been sitting out in the elements, and cycle through the other old wood so that by the time we got back to the new third the wood was bone dry.  Our efficient wood stove uses so little wood that I figured we'd have perhaps a month or two between putting the wood in the shed and burning it, which would be plenty of time for the winter snow to melt off it and for the Smoke coming out of a snowy chimneywood to dry back up.

The punky wood nixed that plan.  Instead, this week I've been burning wood that's only been in the shed for a week or two, and the result has been slightly cooler fires and actual smoke coming out the chimney.  (Granted, the smoke is all white, which means it's primarily water vapor, but I still don't like it.)  Although there's no remedy in the short run, I went ahead and pulled all of the punky wood out of the shed so that I can replace it with Punky woodgood wood and have dry firewood at least by February.

Live and learn!  Now I have a better eyeball estimate of what kind of wood is too rotten for firewood, and I also have a bunch of punky wood that I already put to use in the garden.  Stay tuned to see how....

Our homemade chicken waterer is perfect in coops, tractors, or pastures.

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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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