The Wood is Stacked

We’ve been burning wood for heat in my house ever since we moved to Maine, and so stacking wood has become a bit of an annual tradition. Like holidays, but with more sweat and labor. Interestingly, it’s a process that feels like it changes some every year, mainly because my family changes, and we get more experience with the process.

The first year, it was just Denisa and I out there stacking, and neither of us had any real clue as to what we were doing. We’d asked friends for some pointers, but we didn’t actually get the wood until September, and we stacked all of it outside the house, then covered it with a tarp. The piles always seemed to want to fall over, and going outside to get snow-covered wood was a real pain. Not that we learned our lesson. We did the same thing the next year, only earlier in the season.

Have you ever been forced to chip the ice off wood that’s frozen into the ground so that you might have a chance burning it? It’s not a pleasurable experience.

So we moved the wood into the garage the next year. This was back when we only had one car, so there was an entire bay open and ready for wood storage. This made getting the wood much easier, but it also presented some problems for the house. Wood is wet. When it dries, all that water needs to go somewhere. You don’t want it going into your house, so a new plan had to be figured out. (Also, we got a second car.)

So we built a wood shed, and we’ve been tossing wood in there ever since.

These days, TRC and DC both play a role in the stacking. We get the wood in May or so, dumped in a big pile in our driveway. We stack it outside in the sun so it can get nice and dry, and then come November, we stack it in the shed so we don’t have to worry about going outside to get it. it works great in theory. In practice, it means moving each piece of wood three times before it’s burned: from the pile to the first stack, first stack to the second stack, second stack to the wood stove.

When you’re dealing with four cord of the stuff, that’s a lot of moving. And when November hits and you have a lot of other things to be doing, it’s One More Thing on top of everything else. So we’re very glad to have it out of sight and out of mind. (It also helps that heating oil prices are so low at the moment. Makes it easier to just turn on the oil heat instead of dealing with this awkward stage of heating a home with wood. When it’s this temperature, you typically have to light a new fire every morning to manage things. That can get old too.)

Anyway. There’s our wood update for the year. Next time you turn on your central heat, maybe you’ll be a tad more grateful for it. But the next time I’m sitting in front of my wonderful wood stove in the middle of winter, I’ll tell you to keep your nasty forced-air heat.

Wood is so much better.

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