One of the reasons we wanted to move to this property in New Hampshire was to have our own woodlot. Because we heat the buildings with wood, providing firewood for ourselves was an important step towards becoming more self-sufficient. Since we moved mid-year, we didn't have the time to put up our own firewood, let alone get it seasoned, so this winter's supply came from our wonderful neighbor and friend, Jim D. (He's the one who built all the ramps on the house for the dogs.)
At the moment we are working our way through 12 cords of wood from Jim's adjacent property. A cord is a stack of cut logs four feet high, four feet deep and eight feet wide (1.2 m x 1.2 m x 2.4 m). We're realizing it probably isn't going to be enough!
Thanksgiving weekend was our first chance to get out and start bringing in our own trees, so Alayne and I scouted around looking for recently downed timber that we could reach with the tractor. I do not yet have the skills or knowledge to bring down trees with a chainsaw -- we have a lot to learn in that respect, and for the bigger stuff we'll hire someone to take them down for us -- but for the moment there are a lot of trees already on the ground that just need to be hauled out so we can cut them up.
Part of this property was logged in the year before we bought it, and much of that ground we've now had cleared and seeded for additional pasture, but there's plenty of timber left on the ground that will be excellent firewood. Our goal this first winter is to get as much of that out as we can. What we can't reach with our tractor Jim will help us get with his skidder, a piece of logging equipment designed for this purpose.
We have a huge amount of timber still standing and growing all over the property ... acres and acres of woods, and thick stands in need of thinning, too. But we'd like to use as much of the downed timber as we can while it's still good for firewood (i.e., before it begins rotting on the forest floor).
Alayne took these shots on Sunday afternoon while we were pulling a tree out. This is one of several we got over the weekend. In this shot I'm attaching a chain from the tree to the backhoe on the tractor:
As I get in the tractor, I'm double-checking the angle that I will need to drag the tree through to keep it from getting hung up on other downed trees and brush:
I've started to pull forward very slowly, gradually increasing the tension on the chain:
You can see how tight that chain is now:
And down the lane we go:
This lane runs north-south, and is about 100 yards west of the buildings. I'm driving the tractor north, towards the road we live on. The lane ends where the newly cleared pasture begins to the south.
It was a modest haul this weekend, but it felt really good to finally start bringing in our own wood!
Still 2nd place -- but it's close! Contest ends December 19th.
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It was thanks to all of your amazing votes that we won the $20,000 Grand Prize in the final Shelter Challenge of 2009, and we came in fourth nationwide in the first Shelter Challenge earlier this year, winning $3,000. So this is serious money and can really make a difference for our disabled animals! Please help us win this round of the contest by voting every day, and by encouraging your family, friends and colleagues to vote every day, too. Thank you!