One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


  2010, our first year of cutting wood by hand.  I year I will never forget. I broke the sledge hammer once, and only once back then.

Rain, (Rain's Garden Blogspot) asked me to share how we keep our firewood supply.  Back in 2010, the first year of collecting and cutting and splitting wood, we did not have a wood splitter.  

I basically split the wood with an sledge hammer and wedge.  We had large rounds, so I rolled them out and worked them that way, every afternoon, just before the kids got home from school. 

You can read about this: here.  I split an entire cord by hand that year.  We used spare cardboard boxes to hold the branches and pieces suitable for kindling.  Every time I started a fire in the wood stove I would go to the (what we call) the "wood barn" and fetch a container full of kindling.  

We are blessed with a wooded area, mostly behind us, but along the north and south, with trees.  Every year we have access to dead trees.  

We also have friends and family that contact us when they are cutting down a tree, or know of someone who is.  Or know of someone that has a downed tree from a recent storm and needs it taken away.

However, a few years later, a family member purchased a wood splitter at a good price and we made a barter.  I can't remember what we traded.  The splitter runs on gas, and we only run it empty so many times before we give it a break to rest.  We have to work fast to get the most of our work done.  Typically, Hubby puts the wood under, I run the splitter handle (never taking my eyes off of what we are doing), and the kids catch and stack.  

Here is a photo with the wood splitter.  I will never forget this load of "free" wood we received one year.  The lesson we learned here, was to ask what type of wood it is.  There were too many large pieces of cottonwood in this mess, but we got it all chainsawed, and split.  You can read about it here.

 Lately, it's just Hubby and I, so it goes a bit slower, but we get the job done.

As the years went by, we tallied and figured what amount we would use, or need (all depends on the type of wood we have too).  Some years, during -22°F windchills, we went through a lot more.  I haven't measured that width of where we store the wood, but we have figured we need three good tall rows stacked before each winter.  And as high as I can reach, which is pretty tall.

When we remove the furniture from the front porch for the winter, we load it up with firewood.  

We never burn pine, elm is horrible to split (stringy but burns nice), and cottonwood burns up like paper (although it heats well).  Pine is basically good for an outdoor fire that you are not cooking over.  There are many sites online that give you information on the best woods to burn in a home wood stove.

Also, with a wood stove (or fireplace), you must tend to it and clean it yearly.  We prefer a professional at this point.  Hubby and I are not ready to climb the roof where we'd need to access the stove pipe.  It's on the second floor and on the steep part of the roof.  We almost attempted one year, but paid the professionals.  

And with wood cutting and splitting, there is the need for safety.  We use hand, eye and head protection, however, we have yet to buy the safety chaps (and it's on my "to buy" list this year).

This entire post just reminded me we need to sharpen the chainsaw blades this week.   Winter storms blessed us with a few downed trees.


Mama Pea said...

We have yet to start on our next year's wood supply . . . but want to get at it early as we can this spring so we know it's done, done, done and we won't have to work on it during the summer.

Kristina said...

Mama Pea, that is our plan too. I sure hope the ground dries up quickly, nor the ground gives us another freeze (on weekend). We have lots to cut up and haul.

Rain said...

All of that wood split by hand. I've heard people doing that and I can't imagine having the energy or the strength for it. We plan to heat with wood when we buy our place and a wood splitter will be a necessity for the both of us, as will a chainsaw. We can split kindling pretty easily with a good ax thankfully! Thanks for this post Kristina. I didn't know about the different types of wood and their poor qualities for heating/splitting. I've heated my rentals in the past with wood, but it was bought, not harvested. I do know the difference between green and dry wood. I'm learning as I go!

Kristina said...

Rain, I forgot to mention about wet wood. Yeah, you don't want to burn wet wood.