Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Home Front: log, it's log!

A couple of weeks ago I came home to this rather large pile of timber in my front yard. Apparently the local arborists know that I have a wood fire and after propositioning them to take the least tree they cut down, they've taken it on themselves to not have to mulch any logs they fell, and after asking my eldest who was getting home from school, they tossed a tree into my front yard.
At least this time I didn't have a veggie patch for them to crush.

Welcome Mt Birchmore, altitude 1.2m.
I'm pretty sure it was birch, although there was no foliage for me to confirm with.
One thing I know, there was a whole tree's worth.

Obviously this would need to be seasoned before burning it, but as we've just come into spring here, and summer brings "total fire bans" for weeks at a time, I will be able to comfortably sit through the six months of drying time that is recommended for green wood. Given Melbourne's zany weather, probably just for the best, anyway.

I was lucky that the arborist crew chainsawed most of the logs into pretty uniform lengths, and even the larger blocks of wood into manageable chunks.
I spent a number of hours hauling all this around to the back of our house and stacking it up.
Before stacking my new haul, however, I needed to clear out my vine, leaf litter and as it turns out, bush rat nest filled old log pile.
This pile of mixed logs, including redgum and a variety of other woods that I have salvaged from around my neighbourhood and on my drives to and from Triceratops Girl on the weekends. It's become part of out urban-scavenging mindset to always be on the lookout for logs piled up out the front of houses. When we can, we stop and load up the back of the RAV4 and restock our supply.
After cleaning out my log store spot, a paved area beside the trampoline and fenced off chicken run in what used to be a bare patch of grass, I stacked up my timber booty in three layers, on one side, and a single stack behind the wall my smoker sits on, with a good mix of large logs and thinner ones so that I have a selection when it comes time to burn it. I covered the main body of the stack to attempt to keep the spring rains from setting it to rot. Triceratops Girl was even keen to get involved with the hauling and stacking she has a slow-combustion stove at her mothers place, so knows all about having nice wood fires.

Wood fires may not be the most ecologically friendly, often producing a lot of particulate waste, especially in open fires, or when using green wood, but when it comes to survival and self-reliance, having a supply of firewood, and the means to both cook and heat with it can make the difference between comfort and squalor. In snow-bound areas, it can mean the difference to life itself.

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