"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Friday, October 28, 2011

Next Year's Firewood

This past May we had a tree fall on our house, we were standing right there as it happened...kind of scary. Lucky for us insurance more than covered the repair cost and I was able to fix the roof myself. So this week we took out seven large trees, two of which were totally dead and the other four had dead tops, as a preventative measure. Guess that takes care of next year's firewood...and then some. This will spare us and our poor old truck the challenge of driving winding mountain roads next spring in our annual trek for firewood. Always nice to be one step ahead of the game.

The tree I'm cutting on in this photo is a Grand Fir, Native Americans used the inner bark of this tree for treating colds and fever...interesting.

34 comments:

Gardeningbren said...

Sad to see such a huge tree come down, but the reality is, they only live so long, especially firs and birches (in our locale at least). Glad to read no one was hurt when the tree fell and yes, I would agree when you are nearby when a tree falls, it sure can shock and frighten.

farmer said...

We lost over 200 large trees in last winters huge wind storm,a good 60 right in the barn yard.
The firs and pine seem to be so shallow rooted and can't handle the strength of mother nature by times.

Dani said...

Surprise firewood never goes amiss :) And fir trees are the ones which are mainly grown and harvested here for furniture - so reckon they must be pretty fast growing...?

Robert Brenchley said...

Are you going to try using the inner bark as medicine? It would be interesting to see whether it works.

Jane said...

That is the great thing about living close to the earth is that even a disaster can be turned into something useful.

Buttons said...

Whow Mr. H you have some spam there.

I am so happy to see those gigantic trees waiting to be used next year. Free wood is always a gift for sure. Sorry about the roof but that did work out nicely.
We never have to cut live trees for firewood as all our elms die and we just keep using them.
We are still using firewood from the ice storm of 95. Huge 100 or more year old maple trees went down and it took us years to clean it up.They were beautiful but now new young trees are growing in there place in the bush. The circle of life as they say. Keep warm it is almost that time again. Take care. B

johnnydesoto said...

Oh man...

I've been here almost 10 years to the date. I'll never forget the hurricane the second year in my first house. 70 year old oak went down..I was half sleeping with the howling wind...heard it go down...fortunately IT FELL AWAY FROM THE HOUSE!

After that I started taking down trees. Except for one, all Black Oaks infested with carpenter ants, and all within striking distance of the house. The exception was a 76 year old Red Oak that in retrospect was very healthy. I regretted removing it for a long time but it would have trashed the house if it ever came down and every storm we have favors that outcome.

At least it made for some good heat :)

Glad your damage was only a close call.

Mrs. Mac said...

So that's what I heard go bump last May? Glad you were not hurt and the house got repaired. Had there been a wind storm? We too down two firs this summer with dead tops. It's a good idea to have an arborist check your trees every so often. You did save on gas and wear and tear on your vehicle ;)

Word Verification: fruitic .. how funny

Julie said...

Way to look on the bright side Mr. H!
So glad the two of you are safe ; )

contadina said...

It's great that you are sorted for firewood, but that must have been quite a scare.

We're quite lucky in that the prunings from our olive and almond trees keep us in firewood for both heating and cooking for the year.

That said, a couple of year's back I interrupted my husband who was strimming under a really old olive tree to take a call. Five minutes later we both heard an almighty crack - a great branch, heavy with olives had fallen exactly where he'd been strimming. Whilst the firewood was great, there must be easier ways of collecting it ;-)

LynnS said...

Watching that tree drop on your house must have given you a few minutes of total fear! Thankfully, all was not lost. And you got firewood at your doorstep! :-) Fir is not a common tree in our region and we've never burned it. Is it full of resin like other conifers?

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Looks like you will be very warm this winter. Glad nobody got injured.

Mr. H. said...

GardeningBren - It is sad and the Grand Fir in the picture was quite a beautiful tree.I counted the rings on it, the tree was around 70 years old.

Farmer - 200 trees, wow. During 1996 we had a terrible icestorm out here and lost 20-30 trees...mostly pine. It's a messy business having trees isn't it.

Dani - Fir trees in Africa, I would never have guessed that they were grown there. But yes, suprise firewood is a can be considered a blessing in disquise.

Robert - We have not tried it but I will read up on it some more and perhaps we will.

Jane - That is a good way to look at it...looks like I will be busy splitting wood this winter.

Buttons - Sorry about the spam...there are some pretty disturbed people out there.

We had a terrible ice storm here in 1996 and lost quite a few trees to it. 100 year old maple trees would be a site to behold...hope they didn't all go in the storm.

Johnny - It does make one a little nervous living under the trees doesn't it. I just noticed the other day that we have a beautiful large cedar next to our house that seems to have carpenter ants...hope they haven't damaged the tree too much. I am hoping to get rid of the ants and save the tree. Too bad about your red fir...but one never knows.

Mrs. Mac - It was a windy day but nothing out of the ordinary, it had rained quite a bit previously and I think that between that and the wind the roots lost hold. The tree had been leaning for quite some time.

There seems to be more trees with dead tops in the neighborhood than usual, hope there is not some sort of serious bug issue going on. They say that bark beetle infestations have been on the rise over the past couple years.

Julie - I always try to look on the bright side...:)

Contandina - Sounds like your husband was very lucky. It is great that you are able to be self-sufficient in firewood...and olives.

Lynn - I replaced the whole roof myself a few years back, shingles and wood, so it did not make me happy to see that happen...but I must have done a pretty good job as the damage was minimal.

We mostly burn red fir and it is excellent firewood once dried. The grand fir in the picture is also called "piss" fir around these parts because it is so full of smelly sap...burns OK once dried though. Many people will not burn it but we do.

Mr. H. said...

Malay-Kadazan girl - Yes, we will have plenty of wood to heat with and no one was injured...thank goodness for that.

Mark Willis said...

It's amazing how much wood there is in one tree! It looks a lot bigger when it's horizontal. I had a tree come down on top of my conservatory once: it demolished the roof and completely filled my garden. (And unlike you, I didn't have a chain-saw).

Lrong said...

Wow, the trunks look pretty huge... good idea to fell the trees before they come down onto your roof...

Mr. H. said...

Mark - Bet that was a mess to clean up, hope it didn't land in your garden while it was full of summer veggies.

Lrong - The one in the first picture was a big one, just over 65 years old.

Kimberly said...

That's a lot of wood you've got yourself there. Be safe. Are you letting them dry in place?

Did you experiment with the inner bark medicinal?

Someone told me the sap that oozes from the pine trees can be chewed like chewing gum.

Take care.

kitsapFG said...

I always worry about the trees surrounding our home coming down during high wind events. Thankfully the only trees that have come down have been small ones and some "leaners" that needed to go anyways. We cut up and use our woodlot deadfall but have to purchase wood as well. We stretch our purchased wood out quite far though by supplementing with our own free wood.

Heiko said...

That's a tree and half you're cutting there. I wouldn't even have space to store that amount of wood.

Mr. H. said...

Kimberly - I had to haul it to another area and will spend the winter chopping it up at my leisure...the hardest part is done and I didn't cut off any of my own limbs in the proces.:) We have never used the bark but I do plan to read up on it some more and see if it is worth using.

Laura - These were all leaners too, fortunately all the rest of the big trees around our house are in good shape and we will just have to hope they stay that way.

Heiko - It did make for one heck of a big pile of wood...the biggest tree was about 70 feet tall.

Shanon Hilton said...

Hi Mr. H, Just letting you know that I'm passing the Liebster Award on to you. I really admire your dedication to live the lifestyle you do. Thanks for taking the time to write about it!

http://shanonhilton.blogspot.com/2011/10/sharing-liebster-love-again.html

--Shanon

Mr. H. said...

Shanon - Thanks for the award, very nice of you.:)

Lorena said...

talk about permaculture, your wood lot right next to the woodstove! I'm going to experiment with incorporating some dead rotting tree waste into my raised beds this year in the manner of Sepp Holzer, I've already put some on the soil near my recently planted fruit trees, I'll let you know how it turns out. Glad you guys were okay

Mr. H. said...

Lorena - Funny you mention using the rotten tree waste. We planted a bunch of new fruit trees this fall as well and I put rotted stump and other decomposed wood debris in the bottom of each hole. It will be interesting to see if this helps with water retention and to feed the tree a bit as its roots work their way down to it over time. I have also been trying to incorporate more of this in our garden on top of the soil as you are. Hope your fruit trees do well for you.

Angela said...

Wow, so that's what its like to be in the forest! LOL I really miss the forest and all the trees, but definitely not if one fell on our house! I'm glad everyone was okay. That is an amazing amount of wood. Have you ever thought of doing a Jean Pain method of heating your water, home and provide gas using wood chips? We've thought of doing it, but we don't have the space to build the digester and mound.

Mr. H. said...

Angela - I was not familiar with Jean pain and had to look him up and then watch a video on his method...fascinating to say the least. With as much brush as we have around here this would be an excellent alternative energy source.

Angela said...

I also love that he is about to put only veggie scraps into the digester to make methane...no animal waste needed.

Mr. H. said...

Angela - It really is interesting how many alternative energy sources are out there. As oil, gas, and electricity prices continue to increase I hope that these alternatives become more well known and understood.

Mavis said...

Mr. H please wear some chaps next time. This past weekend my husband nearly chopped off his leg cutting trees. Luckily the chain saw stopped mid bone. Safety First!

Mr. H. said...

Mavis - Micki and I were just talking about how I really should get some chaps one of these days...sooner than later. But yes, chainsaws are nasty dangerous machines...hope your husband is OK.

Mike said...

We only got 2cords this year and it kicked my butt! My trailer only holds a half cord. We went up last week after the big snow storm. It was awful. I'm gad you guys are ahead of the next winter! someday we will be too! I look forward to that day.

Mr. H. said...

Mike - I'll tell you what, getting firewood is enough work as it is but doing it in the snow sounds terrible...but at least you will have it if you need it.

Gene F said...

It's always sad when a beautiful old tree dies.
One suggestion I might make: Please wear some eye protection when using your chainsaw! One visit to the emergency room can cost more than you saved by cutting the firewood yourself. Ear protection doesn't hurt, also.
I Really enjoy your site!

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