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Bringing in the Wood

January 10, 2013
life in the forest

forest fungi and lichen

I enjoy bringing in the wood.   I like crunching through the snow to the wood pile; the rhythm of picking up each piece; bending to put wood on the sled;  pulling the sled through the snow and enjoying the sun as I go;  stacking the wood near the house;  and repeating the whole operation again until I have enough wood by the door to last for the next few days.   I enjoy  finally watching the wood burn and feeling that warm wood heat (is there any other heat like it?) as I warm myself near the stove.  There are of course, those mornings when the house is cold and the wood refuses to light right away: those mornings when the chimney needs cleaning and the box needs to be cleaned out.  But all in all  I do enjoy having wood heat.

A snail in a lichen forest

A snail in its lichen forest

I still heat with a wood stove.  Now I buy split wood that comes from the nearby forest but I used to collect my own wood.  I would look for  birch that had been cut and left behind, and pull larch, douglas fir and other wood out of slash piles and cutblocks.  I  used a “C” hand saw to cut the wood into lengths that would fit into my little Mazda truck.  My room mate and I then cut the wood into “stove-sized pieces” with a hand saw.   We would pause occasionally, and take satisfaction in just how much our pile of cut wood had grown. And then that  moment when I light the wood stove for the first time in winter – when I finally acknowledge that the cold weather is here to stay and that summer has long gone.   When I collected my own wood, I could often recognize certain pieces of wood and where I had found them.

I have never enjoyed turning up a thermostat as much as I enjoy using woodheat.

Mountain Caribou track

Mountain Caribou track

I was bringing in the wood this morning and got to thinking about energy, and where it comes from. You have the time to think about things when you are stacking wood.

And I thought:  Every living thing on this planet relies, in some way, on our sun for energy – for survival.   Our little planet is busy every day changing light into energy – into life.  But using energy always has a cost.

I am lucky to live where I do.  I still have choices in how I live.  I live where I still see large predators and other wildlife; where I drink clean water from a mountain stream; – and where I can still burn wood for heat.  But, I know I live in a pleasant little bubble.  The majority of the world is not that lucky.   Is there enough energy on our planet for everyone to live as most (no, shamefully, not our poor) Canadians live without stripping the planet bare?

I don’t know.  I have no answers .  I did not make “correct choices” – I lucked into this “life style”.  But, I will try to remember where I get my energy (to use less), to recognize the costs – and I will try to do better at “leaving a smaller foot print”.  And, for now, I will keep bringing in the wood.

Courgar track in sand

Courgar track in sand

photos and writing in this blog copyright J.A. Siderius, 2013

2 Comments
  1. There is something very satisfying in heating your house with firewood, especially when the logs come from your own woods. I think all the work is worth it.

    • I enjoy the quality of heat you can get from a wood stove – and the fact that you can dry your laundry nearby!

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