(subtitle: how we spend a good chunk of our time )
I posted this picture on Facebook the other day with the caption “lost forest workout facility” because stacking wood is my exercise and something that I usually do several hours per week, along with several trips down our long driveway per day and walking around with the dog. I got to thinking about the amount of wood we (mostly Steve) have hauled, cut, split, and stacked in the last couple years and it is a lot!
After the first year of cleaning up only dead trees on our property we had a surplus built up and decided to start selling it. In the process, I’ve learned more about firewood than I ever thought I would know. I should have this BTU chart memorized after referring to it so many times.
A couple years ago, I had no idea that a cord of wood is 4′ x 4′ x 8′ and that a face cord is a third of that or about 16″ x 4′ x 8′ (so we try to make each stack or “rick” approximately that size). This fall, before that first photo was taken, we sold 21 face cord to various people (all the surplus we had and could have sold more if we’d had it). Last fall, we sold about half that and gave away a bunch more to those who needed it. This is not counting the stuff we keep to burn ourselves or other miscellaneous non-hardwoods that have been cut up.
We’d love to be able to sell small bundles at a park, campground, little gas station, etc. Ideally we’d have a road side stand somewhere, but since we don’t live in a visible or high traffic area, we would have to make some connections.
Often the wood is already quite dry depending how long the tree was dead, especially if it was still standing, but we have been storing it for 6-12 months in our barn after splitting and stacking it before we sell it. So the stuff we are working on now we will sell next fall.
Sometimes the whole family helps, though Steve does all of the cutting and splitting and I primarily do the stacking. Steve made a pay scale for each part of the job (cutting, loading/hauling, splitting, stacking), so if the kids help with loading a wagon/trailer in the woods or stacking, they get paid. We also deliver for a fee (up to 2 face cord – limit for our trailer), so the kids like to help with that part since loading/unloading the trailer is fairly easy and they often get tips from nice customers.
Someone who heats only with wood could go through 4+ cord per winter, so selling 7 cord isn’t a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like a lot to me, having seen and felt it go through our own hands. Besides cleaning up our woods, this work keeps perfectly good wood from going to waste, has been a way to meet and help some cool people (could tell many stories), and helps pay for the