Really. All by myself. That pile is about 4 feet high and probably 10 feet in diameter. It’s a lot of wood.
Of course I did all that using the gas powered log splitter our neighbour loaned to us.
It still took about three hours (that’s six quad-trailer loads of wood: chainsaw work done by The Reluctant Farmer, and all hauled home in the quad trailer by The Boy). It’s probably half of what we need for winter, now that we have two stoves to keep going, but that’s a really good start. There were quite a few trees cleared this spring to make room for power lines to come through, and the guys who did the clearing (including the same neighbour who owns the splitter) told us we could have as much of the wood as we wanted. The Reluctant Farmer has been working through one of the big piles, and we wanted to get this batch split and drying so it’ll be ready come the cold weather (even at that, it won’t be good and dry, but it’ll be close, as the trees have been down for a few months already so the wood’s already partially dried out).
We do still run our furnace, but we keep the thermostat at about 15 degrees Celsius – just enough to keep everything from getting really awfully cold when the fire isn’t going, and to keep you from having to get up in the night to stoke the fire (as long as you stay under your warm covers). In the morning, we get the fire lit and warm up the house – both fires if we have people in both wings of the house, but much of the time we only run the one in the south wing. That is the Baker’s Oven stove, so I also do as much of my cooking on it as possible in the winter months – might as well use the wood heat as pay for natural gas.
As I split all that wood today I thought of the trees that soaked up sun for so many years, and how they will release that stored energy to keep us warm this winter. We are very fortunate to live near enough woodland that we can sustainably harvest enough wood to keep our stoves going – we could do that even if we heated exclusively with wood, I think, though it’d be a fair bit of work. The splitter is a marvellous tool, too – all that wood was split with maybe half a litre of gasoline, and it probably took a litre or two to run the chainsaw that cut it up. All in all, a pretty efficient use of fuel, I think.
And although the splitter saves a lot of effort, it was still a whole lot of physical work to pick up each log, set it on the splitter, pick up the chunks and split them again if necessary, then toss the finished logs onto the pile. I’ve had some Advil, and I expect to be moving fairly slowly tomorrow.
It’s worth it though. We’ll be toasty and warm this winter!