Oct 24, 2017

Makin' Firewood!



Many of you know that our Pennsylvania forests have been attacked by the Emerald Ash Borer, with our Ash trees now going extinct. Our beautiful stands of Ash in New Camp began to succumb before we purchased the property and by 2016 all of our Ash were dead, standing and rotting. After we made a survey we realized that it was not just a lot of wood, but a huge amount of potential firewood for the Farmhouse compound. We pondered.

Three weeks ago we began an all-hands-on-deck effort to begin felling these trees, sectioning them and getting them out of the woods. We arragned to rent a professional firewood processor, located a source for firewood dunnage bags, and went to work. After 10 days in the woods we had a number of very large piles of logs waiting to be cut and split.


Two weekends ago the processor arrived, which we had arranged to rent for a week. Then followed 6 days of morning to sundown labor, rain or shine, as we ate our way through our log piles.

Running the machine was an orchestrated dance for all of us, an example of teamwork in motion as logs were skidded, delimbed and loaded into the "live-deck" of the machine. A second crew of 3-4 people managed the sectioning saw and splitter, coaxing the 3,000 pound logs through the machine. Another handled the conveyor, filling the bags and placing them on neat rows of pallets.

We put 46 hours of run time on the processor and filled 160 bags of firewood at one third of a full cord per bag. That's right, 160 bags and a huge pile of unbagged wood to boot. Enough firewood to run the Farmhouse compound for 8 years. We invested $4,000 in machine rental, bags and pallets; and have saved an unimaginable amount of labor; as makin', movin', stackin' and loadin' firewood is a big part of our labor demand in the winter months.


Next up, moving 160 bags of wood from New Camp to the storage yards here at the Farmhouse. And then the sweet joy of picking up split and bagged firewood when we need it. No more hauling dump truck loads in the snow. Remember what goes into that rosy warm wood stove when you join us for Yule!!