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

Standing snags are firewood insurance

Locust snagA three-trunked, dead black locust used to stand just outside our core homestead.  One trunk fell in spring 2009, and another fell during the heavy snows the following winter.  I'd left the remaining trunk as an insurance policy --- standing snags are generally pretty dry and can be cut and used for firewood nearly immediately.  But I knew the wood couldn't stay good indefinitely.

We didn't buy any wood this year, opting instead to pay Bradley to come over and cut various trees, one of which was the locust snag.  I was amazed at how much firewood that one tree created --- probably enough for a month of fires --- and by how dry the wood was.  I had originally planned to put the locust in the shed for a month, but Bradley thought it could be used right away, and he was correct.  The splinters that came off the extremely hard-to-split logs were top-notch kindling, and the logs themselves felt drier than wood that had been sitting in the shed since last year.

Now we've got lots of piles of wood sitting around waiting to be ferried up to the wood shed.  A day and a half of Bradley's hard work probably created enough wood for the rest of this winter and part of next, which makes firewood-gathering look awfully easy until you realize he's been brushing up on his chainsaw skills since he was eight.

Our chicken waterer gives the flock something to peck at rather than each other.

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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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As a child growing up on the farm my dad always mounded compost in stump holes and around rotting stumps. That is where he planted pumpkins and they did beautifully! Since this was almost a half century ago I guess he was a man before his time and was actually making hugelkultur beds : )
Comment by Canned Quilter Sat Nov 24 11:55:02 2012
Leaving snags standing when you can is also good for wildlife. Cavity nesting birds like bluebirds, chickadees and wrens need nest cavities left by woodpeckers in standing snags. Since your goal seems to be healing the land as well as feeding your family leaving a few snags on the property is a way to encourage the good wildlife that will spend time gleaning harmful insects from your garden.
Comment by Cliff Hawley Sun Nov 10 11:14:13 2013

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