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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Ongoing Firewood Meditation

Well I am really getting into it. Firewood Meditation that is. This week I am working myself into shape cutting and splitting wood for my wood stove. It is painful but slowly I am feeling stronger and in a couple of weeks it should be an easy form of recreation. :)

Here is a lesson in firewood! I have been asked some questions about it.

The basic measure is the cord. A cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet of "air and wood". This is a pile 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. In metric this is 1.21m X 1,21m X 2.43. Done confuse this with the Metric Cord 1m X 1m X 1m which is only about 0.276 cord (Imperial)

In a pile of lumber a cord is 70 cubic feet (no air).

Buying wood can be a tricky thing. In some places it is sold in 1/4 of a cord. Around here it is sold by 1/3 of a cord, (which how I have piled mine 3 rows 4 feet high, 16'' long. Every 8 feet of pile length is a cord., of row length, a face cord. (1/3 of a cord. ) Unfortunately they call it a cord when in truth it is just 1/3. There is not a legal 1/3 of a cord measure. There are also long cords or 1/2 cords where the pieces are two feet long, which would be useful if you had a wood furnace to feed rather than a wood cook stove.

To really get esoteric 1 cubic meter is also called a stere and a third of a cord is a rick.

You can dicker with sellers of wood over the price of firewood by volumn but really what is important is the BTU's (British Thermal Units) it produces. This depends on type of wood and the proper curing of the wood. The price of wood may vary when these quality of firewood is taken into account. I am sure you are all confused by now.

My wood is poplar ( a low grade hardwood) and birch (a better grade of hardwood). I have lots of this on my property so I use it. I have not gone after, maple, oak, walnut cherry wood, the better grades of wood that produce higher BTU's.

I resist using a log splitter. I enjoy splitting the wood with a maul and one man power, me!
Splitting wood is both an art and a science. I enjoy finding the lines of the block of wood that allows it to split the easiest. Sometimes it is a struggle. The wood even defeats me on occasion if there are too many knots.

Above is the beginning of the pile. I am trying to do a better job this year at piling it. Invariably my piles fall over. It is embarassing . There are old hands around here whose wood piles are perfect and a work of art. I will settle for it staying upright until it is time to move it into the basement.

The three rows underway.

Here is the pile as of today. It is just over 20 feet long. When I finish what wood I still have in logs it should be over 24 feet long, probably about 10 or 11 cords. I will get another set of logs skidded out of the bush to continue splitting for a while yet.

Heidi keeps me company but does not seem too interested in my activities. She like to jump up on the raised garden I built for Dave and lie there enjoying the sun. In this picture she is choosing a place to lie down. This usually involves a little scratching to prepare the spot. A couple of cats come and join her, making a cozy scene I have yet to catch on my camera.
May you master the fine art of wood splitting.
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At 7:30 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Wow--Philip--that's a LOT of wood.
I guess it's good that this activity is a meditation for are getting lots of meditation in, eh?

At 7:14 a.m., Blogger Tom said...

Thanks Philip...
I really enjoyed reading and learning this. I remembered this from way back and it really hits home how hard a life you live at times... You might find that a strange thing for me to say but I just cannot imagine the work and preperation you do just to survive winter from day to day... I can admire you and your neighbours that have to do this now. Though it makes me feel all soft and wimpy... the UK man as gone all soft and work shy compared to you. I will never moan again at having to get my backside out of my comfy chair to put the bins out for collection on a cold night... I lk ward to seeing the piles when all is drag, cut, chopped, split, stacked and ready to be moved to your basement. I salute you my friend.

At 11:28 a.m., Blogger possum said...

WOW! I am impressed! Guess I would freeze to death if I had to do all that work myself. However, I had a place in the Poconos with a big old wood stove as our only source of heat and I loved it! I loved to cook on it, keep things warm in the oven... baking was a bit tricky.
I am impressed, Philip!
I've got a load of gum trees here, you are welcome to them!

At 1:10 p.m., Blogger John and Carol said...

We split firewood once, but we wimped out and used a splitter. Your information was really interesting.

At 1:26 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

WOW! That's sooo much work! I wouldn't be able to even pick up one of those let alone split and stack all of it!

At 7:29 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I love to see wood stacked like that. It reminds me so much of when we lived in upstate NY and stacked our own wood...but never as much as you have !

At 9:42 p.m., Blogger Cathryn Falwell said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I do love watching the life around the pond.
We only stacked one cord this weekend. Your pile is quite impressive!
In Peace,
Cathryn, UU loon watcher in Maine

At 10:09 p.m., Blogger amelia said...

I guess we're lucky as this year, while we were away, our son split and stacked ten cords for us!! He's never done it before and he'll probably not do it again as he said it's more painful that anything he does at his house in Toronto!!

My hubby and I admire you greatly for doing it all by hand and not even using a splitter!! The splitter is a great help when hubby has to do it himself.

At 11:15 p.m., Blogger Rachel said...

I have split some wood before and it's hard work. I have never had to split as much as you have though!! That is a lot of wood!!
I haven't used our woodburner for the past 2 winters, but we still have plenty of wood left. It should be cured really well by now!

Interesting info. Here wood is usually sold by the pickup load or by the cord.

Heidi has the right idea!!


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