Yesterday morning the phone rang insistently at 7:30 a.m. as we sat on the living room couch sipping coffee and discussing camera ISO settings. Barry was attempting to explain camera settings to Kathy, for the 600th time.
Finally, in desperation, he compared ISO settings to lighting wood stove fires.
Something about how higher ISO settings compare to throwing gasoline in the wood stove. (I know this might not make sense to you photography buffs, but maybe, just maybe, his explanation made sense in the crevices of this non-mechanical brain. Maybe.)
He grumped when the phone rang, because it interrupted our important photography lesson.
Nonetheless, I scrambled over his poor ailing knees accompanied by his horrified fears and protests concerning accidental injury, and reached the phone.
It was for him.
It was the fellow announcing that our load of wood was Ready to be Hauled.
Were we ready?
We were off that couch and moving cars in the driveway before you could say “firewood”.
The driver called from the Citgo gas station in L’Anse. How did he get to our house? He was from Greenland, a couple of hours away, and didn’t know the local geography.
I gave flawless directions, including the infamous “the first driveway after the Pavement Ends sign.”
“If I get lost, I don’t suppose you have cell phone service,” he sighed.
No, Dick, we do not. Please do not get lost.
Dick showed up with our annual load of logs and Did Not Get Stuck in the Driveway. It was tricky. You remember my recent post about all our driveway ice? How would you like to live on an ice rink? I am here to report that driveway conditions are better, but still slippery.
Barry was crossing his fingers, big time. He was nervous. How do you pull a stuck log truck out of your driveway? Would wood stove ashes save the day if he got stuck?
Luckily, he made it out. He had to haul two more loads of firewood before sunset. Reportedly, road restrictions take effect Monday and then there’s no more hauling on back-country roads until after the frost heaves disappear.
Just a few photos to show you what’s going to happen in future months. We have to wait until the snow melts before we begin to saw, split and haul pickup truck loads to our woodpile. (Actually, we may start before then, but we can’t haul until the snow recedes.)
First, Barry chainsaws. We hope he can chainsaw with his ailing knees. (Editor Barry just joked that his knees are not sharp enough to cut all that wood. LOL!)
Second, Kathy and Barry split the wood, with the assistance of our Trusty Woodsplitter.
Third, we load the firewood pieces in the 1949 Studebaker pickup truck and haul them to the woodpile.
Fourth, we unload the truck and stack the wood in the wood room.
Fifth, we build fires in our wood stove every day in cold weather.
You’re wondering the cost of this logging truck of logs?
You’re wondering if we have back-up heat?
Yes. We use it when we go on vacations, or when the temperature plunges below 62 degrees in the house.
You’re wondering why we burn wood?
Because wood heat is the loveliest heat on the planet. Because we were very very poor when we moved here and tried to live “off the land”. Because it’s good exercise. Because we bond as we “do firewood”.
Because we can’t imagine NOT burning wood.
I must go stoke the fire.
Ohhh, goodness! That sure is a load of WOOD! How many trees is that??? Is that whole truck for YOU???
I’ve just fallen off my chair at the thought that you are going to be chainsawing and splitting and loading and stacking this massive pile of wood… Is your back not hurting, dear Kathy? Please look after yourself, Barry will need you with his aching knees.
How many loads do you actually use in one year, Kathy?
Actually, Reggie, with the leftover wood we already have–plus this log truck–we won’t have to buy wood next year. One log truck load equals maybe 1 1/2 years of heat. As for my back, no, it rarely hurts doing our wood-work. As for how many trees, I dare not even guess. I might get too sad. 😦
I am a tree hugger and a tree burner. It’s hard being human…
Awww, I understand. ((( Hugs, dear Kathy. )))
I’m glad you got the wood in. Barry could try having those discussions with me, perhaps the thinking in pictures MIGHT help it to stick in my head, or at least to whip it out to attach new pictures of learning to the subject until I could actually connect good use to the information. Until then, oooooooooooo pretty, point camera, decide close up or not, click.
Elisa, I sometimes think we have commonalities in thinking AND photography. I don’t know why I have such trouble fathoming the camera. It’s like a Foreign Land. Point, make minor decisions, click. For now, that’s OK.
We’ve been cutting our own trees from our 13 acres, but one day will most likely have to have that log hauler drop 8 foot lengths in our driveway, too. At least with our Hawken outdoor boiler, we don’t have to split them! And I agree with all your reasons, except perhaps for the very, very poor part. Indeed, we feel very rich to live here!
Oh good point, Patti! Maybe I should go change my story and add that “very, very rich” part. We used to cut all our own wood, too. Hey–and we used to have 13 acres, too, until we bought an adjoining 10 acres. Glad you understand! Happy cutting & hauling & burning!
Burning wood makes more and more sense as our electric bills go up and up. We had planned to put in a wood stove, then discovered that by adding windows to our house we’d given up a good place for a wood stove. Oh well, husband wouldn’t be able to do much sawing or splitting or hauling now anyway. I sure hope Barry’s knees don’t stop his wood chopping activities.
A lot of people feel this way, Carol. Too bad the windows limited your possibilities. It IS a LOT of work. We’re always wondering what will happen when/if we get unable to do it…
When you get unable to do it, call on Little Brothers. They have a wood program for the elderly who heat with wood and can’t handle it themselves anymore.
Great idea, Dawn! Thank you.
So many people burn wood in the winter where I live, that the sky is so polluted. The city outlawed new houses from burning wood because of the air pollution.
Connie, I’ve heard there is a lot of debate about this. It’s interesting…one forest fire in the summer probably creates a lot more pollution than wood-burning. However, it’s something to think about. The new energy-efficient wood stoves do not create that much pollution, they say. (Not that we have one.)
I went to a fireplace shop here and they told me they are coming out with a smokeless wood burning fireplace soon. I hope so, I would love to have a fire in a fireplace. They do have pellet stoves here to that burn clean. I will have to check those out when I do have my house built.
I love the newer pictures and then we get an old family shot at the end. Lovely.
Cassie, glad you enjoyed. I dug that family shot out of an ancient folder. The kids are near-30 and 26 now!
Yay! I loved reading this. 🙂
YAY! I loved remembering you as a little wood-hauler.
Wow that certainly put my wood pile into perspective- Our wood delivery came on a small flat bed truck. We had 4 stere delivered and that should do us the whole winter. We have a wood burning stove to top up the central heating. Toasted marshmallows are just not the same on a radiator:)
Kerry, Barry is just dying to know what a “stere” is. Logging trucks hold 11 full cords (4 feet X 4 feet X 8 feet) which is also known as 33 face cords (16″X4’X8′). I guess this might be the difference between using wood heat as a backup and depending upon it for full-time heat. Would love a roasted marshmallow now.
Humm – I may well have misspelt that, or it is a French word I am not sure. It is a meter cube of wood.
Just a comment for the other tree huggers out there: we use and put the old dead and dying trees to good use! My husband calls his wood cutting “chainsaw therapy”. He feels better after two years of working hard in the woods and around the property. Clearing out dead and near dead trees makes it a more hospitable environment for the young trees that need their space. 😉
Such a good point, Ruth! We cut like that for years and years–using up a lot of dead and dying trees. It makes one feel much better. Thank you for adding this perspective.
Love you in your Paul Bunyan shirt, Kathy! Be careful of Barry’s knees is all I can say!
Glad you like the Paul Bunyan look, Barb! **grin**
I have to agree. Wood fires are the best. Unfortunately, we don’t have a fireplace that burns anything. All in our house were coal burning and have never been converted to burn wood. Alas!
I have to agree about the exercise, as well. It’s a great workout to haul wood–though, I suppose, it’s hard on Barry’s knees.
Happy Sunday to you, my friend.
Good morning, Ms. Kathy! One thing I like about burning wood is that we know where our heat comes from. It doesn’t just mysteriously arise from nowhere. Kind of like you have to come to terms with your own effect on the environment, and try to live from there. I’m afraid if I used coal or electricity or natural gas I would probably take them for granted. (Not to say YOU do!) Hugs back.
That was something so foreign to me when I moved to the UP, the concept of ‘making wood.’ But I have to say, even after living there for 6 years, YOUR concept of ‘making wood’ is much larger than any other I ever saw!!!
“Making wood” is a big concept up here. It used to be more so. I think if you’d have glimpsed our putzing around for wood in the 1980’s and 90’s you wouldn’t have been as surprised as glimpsing a log truck load of wood. (I grew up in a house with electric heat. This was a brand new concept for me, too!)
Hi Kathy. And Barry, thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve always been ISO challenged. Finally, an explanation that makes sense 🙂
I love wood heat too, there is nothing quite like it. We did the same for a long time, our kids have many memories and stories. And the bonding part was so true….the good (mostly), the not-so-great (there were moments!) and everything in between. We learned to work together. It was either that or thermals in the house all winter. What a wonderful photo of you and Kiah and Chris, memories….
Did that explanation make sense to you, Colleen? Really? (It had something to do with more light–i.e, more gasoline poured on the fire?) Smiling at that reference to thermals. Smiling about memories. Barry just said your comment was very cool. He’s in love with today’s blog.
I grew up way the back side of no where in MS. Our home was heated with two fireplaces and Mom cooked on a wood stove. I never even knew that there was another way for a house to be heated until I went away to college. Even our little school had wood burning stoves.
Air conditioning, however, was a life saver for me when I finally figured out that there was such a thing!!
I have a fireplace…no wood…no wood splitter; no husband; never heard of Little Brothers.
Hope the fire burns brightly for all of you’ll, however…
I kind of remember you mentioning this before, Linda. Trying to remember where you live now–do you even need heat, or have you moved north? Lots of people around here have started to buy air conditioners in recent years. I don’t quite get that. Even though it sometimes hits 100 degrees, we just get the fan out for short durations. If it were days and days of hot and humid weather, though…I would quickly acquire a New Attitude and air conditioner.
Wood costs less in 8-foot logs by the logging truck load! It runs $55-65 per cut and split facecord Around Here–still a decent value if my knees could handle carting it up the steps. I used to go through about 6 facecords per winter–would’ve been more but.I had to be away from the house 10 hours a day during the week. I love heating with wood. It’s a pain in the neck, but you can’t beat the bone-deep warmth of it.
Now I’m getting ready to order another tank of propane. Gack. Must look into Little Brothers.
We would agree with you about the bone-deep warmth of it. That’s a good way to state it. It is also a big pain, at times. Barry was interested in the cost of the split facecord down there. He thinks it’s about $40-50, not delivered. Good luck with the Little Brothers! (For anyone reading these comments who doesn’t know what Little Brothers might be–it’s a charitable group around here that helps the elderly.)
Above and beyond the work, the planning for the entire cycle must be a task in itself. With Barry’s knees are you starting to look at possible alternatives like propane? I know it is not a renewable resource like wood, but …
Have you ever considered giving Lat, Long coordinates with your directions to your house? We do it all the time when discussing things outside of town. My admiration for you and Barry living your values is constantly growing.
John, we do have back-up propane. We just don’t like it much. It’s not as warm. No heat rises from the basement. Will figure something out in the future…we hope…
Thank you for appreciating that we live our values. Or try to live our values. Sometimes I concentrate too much on the ways I fail to live my values. Maybe it would be better to focus on what is working.
Really enjoyed this post and more great photos! I would love to ask you about your experiences of having more than one blog. Is there a less public way I can do that?
Sure, Patty, I will shoot you an email. After I stoke the fire. Thank you!
I’m in love with today’s blog, too! I squealed like a little girl when I saw that photo of the log truck coming, and look at you at the wood splitter! AMAZING!
This is our first time having a wood stove for heat. Unfortunately, our wood stove is a fireplace insert, so it doesn’t emit heat from all sides like a true wood stove does. That said, we LOVE the wood heat! It’s entirely different from electric heat (what we’re used to) and it warms you up to the core.
Marty is very jealous of your chainsaw and wood splitter. He’s been our human log-splitter so far and has the blisters to show for it. We’ve been here since the beginning to December and have used around a cord of wood so far. (I think.)
Dana, tee hee! Glad you enjoyed! I mean, I am glad you REALLY enjoyed! Tell Marty that Barry started out like him as a human wood-splitter. Tell him that he could only stand the blisters for a few years, and then had to employ machinery as assistance. I am glad you know about the True Love relationship one develops with wood heat. It is everlasting…
Love the pictures and the glimpse into the steps involved to keep your home warm and toasty. We have electric heat, but the neighbors across the street have a fireplace or a wood stove and the wonderful smell of their wood burning comes drifting into our place and adds to the ambiance of winter… We love it!
Barbara, the smell is indeed wonderful. It evokes such a wintery special feeling. Glad you enjoyed this!
And because all that activity makes you feel young! 🙂 Hey, anyone can press a button for their heat. Wood burning is an awesome adventure – like you said, a family activity. I grew up on a farm where until I was 8 we didn’t have indoor plumbing! Spare me THAT ever again! haha
Hi SuZen, aren’t we young? LOL, yes, just laughing away. We’re a bit older than young, but not much. I remember the first time I visited the U.P. and the cabin didn’t have indoor plumbing and I “prayed to God” to get me out of here! Here’s to indoor plumbing!
Kathy – We use a wood burning stove to heat our house (with a back up furnace), but we have NEVER, EVER bought that much wood at one time. Lawdy, lawdy, I must go now, crawling on the ground until I find my eyes as they’ve popped out of my head at seeing these photos!
Lawdy, lawdy! It looks like a crazy load, I know. (But you have to realize that this particular load might last us 1 1/2 years because we have some extra in the wood pile.) When you don’t use your back-up furnace much, you tend to burn quite a lot. And we have a LITTLE house in the Big Woods.
Well, here’s my question, Kathy, what kind of wood is is most of
the firewood? I do love wood fires too….I only have a rather nice
artificial fireplace in my living room, and I love to turn it on for the
ambience it creates…..
Sorry, Fountainpen. I didn’t want to answer until I consulted with the Chief wood Guy. It’s mostly hard maple. (Or was that soft maple? Yikes, I’ve forgotten the answer so quickly. Make that–maple.) My parents and Barry’s have the artificial fireplace in their living rooms and it does create a lovely ambiance. Without the ashes and dust…
T just had our last load delivered last week! It is all stacked and ready for use… I have Raynaud’s and he is very warm blooded… Not many wear shorts and flops in the winter, poor T! But hey you do what you have to do! I love to sit by the fire, it lefts my spirit, gives me thought and makes me feel whole… and warm too!
Smiling thinking of you sitting by the fire with your spirits lifted and warm. Such a lovely feeling, isn’t it, RaeDi? I am about to put on another log and drink a cup of warm tea on this mild winter evening. Blessings.
Love your humor here..and I think it’s absolutely beautiful that you’re burning wood. How perfect!
It is perfect for us, Marcie. (Glad you liked the humor, too. My first thought was, “Was this one humorous?) **grin** It must have been!
that is a lot of wood… you could build a log cabin… I’m allergic to smoke… we have 50 trees that need to come down… want some… LOL
It is a lot of wood. Luckily, we now have enough that we won’t need to buy any next year. Wish we could have your trees–although that would involve cutting them down and Barry’s knees no can do. Sorry you’re allergic to smoke. No fun.
One of the best sounds in the world is the sound of a cracking fire! Burn on!! 🙂
Completely unrelated note: I was using my GPS yesterday, and when I was starting to type in “Lansing” for the city, “L’Anse” came up when I typed the first 3 letters, and I thought of you!! 🙂
It is a sweet sweet sound, Holly. How fun that L’Anse came up on your GPS! We were much closer for a short instant…
Love the photos of the kids especially. That is… a butt load of wood and you just launched right into it!
It was sweet digging up that photo of the kids. Gosh, where does time fly? And, boy, we are RICH in wood right now! Thanks, Christine.
The entire time I was growing up we burned wood from around the farm. My dad would cut down the trees, and then we would split, stack, move, restack, burn, repeat. I have no idea how much we did, because we would fill a trailer and the basement multiple times during the year. Good memories, but I can’t say I miss the mess or hassle. Sometimes I’d still like the wood heat (it is my favorite, and I love the sounds and smells, too), but even though we work from home, we go on lots of adventures, and would use our backup heat so much that the wood would (get it? teehee) become our backup.
I’ll bet my daughter would say the same thing, Heather. (Although up above in the comments she did say she loved reading this.) I love that you go on lots of adventures. That is the best way to spend winter in the North Country!
We burn wood too and enjoy the heat from a sustainable source. When we were young and had zilch money we used to scour the beaches and pick up fallen branches anywhere they had landed. Now we buy in loads from local guys – keeping the local economy buoyant.
You are so right, Claire, we help keep the local economy buoyant! What a good way to look at it. When we were young and had zilch money we scavenged alongside the back-country roads, taking what the loggers left behind. Thank you.
I have trouble remembering the mechanics of picture-taking. I finally had to sit down with a book and look at pretty photos, then look at the camera settings (there is a word for that but I can’t remember what it is), and imitate the settings with my camera. After a few thousand times of that, I started to get it. Sort of. But I couldn’t explain it. Not even to save my life. lol!
That is a lot of wood! And here I thought my woodland workout last week was a good one. That was nothing compared to what you and Barry have to do.
Good morning, Robin. **yawn** I went back and took a nap and feel much better. I like that you actually had the gumption to sit down and learn your camera settings. I kinda wonder why I can’t get that gumption, too. Of course, it took nine months to learn a single yoga routine, so I’m kinda slow. Oh, we have so much work to do. But we can wait until the snow disappears. Thanks goodness. Thanks for stopping by.
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Wow Kathy…that’s a lot of wood! It’s good it’ll last you so long though. You and many others are right…there is nothing like wood heat to warm a person way down deep…the bone deep warmth ♥ I remember my Dad’s wood stove and how wonderful it felt when a fire was roaring inside…I remember the crackling sound and the delicious smell of the wood. ♥ Rick made his own wood stove (it’s gorgeous by the way 😀 ) and he said when he moves, that stove will come with so I am really looking forward to enjoying wood heat again. Not sure how good I’ll be as far as help (dang knees) but I will certainly do whatever I can to help! I remember from my times with Dad out in the woods, the work involved in cutting the wood and loading it in the truck and hauling it home, unloading it and throwing it in a pile for Dad to split and then stacking it. I liked it and didn’t like it both at the same time. I truly enjoyed the physical work involved (back when I was young and my knees didn’t hurt with every movement) but I didn’t like the bugs involved. lol. Especially the spiders…ewww. I’m going to froward this link to Rick so he can read it and everyone’s comments…I’m sure he will enjoy it! Love the pictures…you look great in the Paul Bunyan shirt Kathy!
I’ve never heard of the Little Brothers assistance…what a great idea!
On to the next blog…:D
I hope Rick enjoys the blog, Brenda. I am wondering if it’s possible for you to have the knee scopes and/or knee replacements, as well? Barry’s doctor told him that he’s lucky–his knees can be fixed and he’ll be able to walk again some day. I am hoping the same for you.
Kathy, he did enjoy your blog! I have forwarded your link to him on a few occasions 🙂 As far as my knees…doesn’t seem likely…no insurance and another medical condition that would be worsened by surgery. Have to just deal with it. I really should stop complaining so much….life could be so much worse. Thanks for hoping though…you’re so kind. ♥
You don’t complain, Brenda. You share. There is a difference. I won’t stop hoping the best for you and your knees.
Thank you dear Kathy ♥ Sending you many grateful hugs ♥