And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cut wood, so far no water to carry

Let's start with a writing link that I didn't grok from anybody else, you know, except for hearing about it on the radio. TV Tropes is a wiki that as they say, "This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction... The wiki is called 'TV Tropes' because TV is where we started."

Yesterday, when the garage broke, I had been putting together a new 4'x8' wood crib. Today I commenced to splitting wood to put into the new crib. From the trees we had cut last year we have plenty of wood that need splitting. So I took about three and a half hours and turned 15 or so sections into about 8 square feet of split wood. Doesn't sound like a lot, does it.

Until you consider that I was only using an ax, a single wedge and 3lb sledge. Also, I was taught how to split wood by an 65-year old grandmother in the mountains of Tennessee, using wood too tough for her to split, and she needed it split to fuel her woodstove (as in, like your range/oven or cooktop/oven, only hers was run by wood). The split wood needed to be smaller than the diameter of a quarter. You think I'm joking, but I'm not. We helped build her house for Habitat, however we were only painting and we didn't have enough rollers for everybody. So I volunteered to help out doing other chores. She had a stack of wood to tough for her to split herself. If all you've ever done it split logs into four quarters of it's diameter, or even eights, you haven't really split wood.

The wood I split today was 1) all oak and 2) started with a diameter of at least 14" (some were over 24"). I didn't go for a quarter's diameter, but I tried to keep them below a half-dollar's diameter. Some of the wood wouldn't go as small than that, so there's some larger pieces out there. Hopefully, when I get a new job we'll be able to get a wood burner this year. I've got plenty of wood for it, and we had looked at it two years ago. Most of what I split today had some nasty twists, some had grown around branches, some had twisting fibers and growth patterns. Only about three sections went easily. The rest fought me all the way.

So, happy Spring. Don't forget to start splitting wood for next year.


Rick said...

This is why I only use nuclear energy. Anybody knows its easier to split an atom that it is to split oak.

Steve Buchheit said...

Well, sure, they're smaller than an oak. But then you have that whole pesky "Possible Earth Swallowing Black Hole" problem.

Now, if you can jam the atoms together to get heat, then you've got something. Probably a melanoma, but still, something.

Christina said...

It is the happiest day of my year when we turn that woodstove off for the season. Not only is the splitting a chore, but there is also the delight of the constant hauling, stuffing the stove without burning yourself and cleaning ashes what seems every three and a half minutes. Sometimes during the summer, I dance in front it out of the pure joy of not having to use it.

Steve Buchheit said...

Christina (sorry I didn't get back with you sooner). I hear ya. The constant ash and wood hauling is a chore. But if it saves on the gas bill I'm all for it. Plus, I've found wood just feels warmer (and we can put a steamer on the stove easier than putting an AprilAir on the furnace, plus no fear of mild in the ductwork). So hopefully soon we'll have a full time, well paying job and we can afford to add it before next year.

Plus, you know, they do make pellet stoves which are much easier to handle. It's just we've got all this wood outback and it's constantly falling on our heads. Might as well use it for something.