Let’s talk about WOOD.
That’s right; Wood! You know, the stuff that grows on (and is) trees! Back in Philly, I didn’t think much about wood. We lived in a brick house heated by gas. Our fireplace didn’t even work. But now that I’ve moved to Maine, I think about wood all the time. Here we are back in October.
Even though it is beautiful and green, early October in Maine is WINTERTIME. Well – not the actual season (as you can see we aren’t wearing coats); rather, it’s preparation-for-winter time. And for us, that meant one thing. Although our house has radiators and can be heated exclusively by oil, we wanted to use wood. Wood is a renewable resource. It burns clean. It is physically and psychologically warming. Wood is good. And our house has NINE fireplaces!! But for all their appeal, fireplaces aren’t efficient. Maine-uhs use stoves. So we did our research and bought the granddaddy of all wood stoves. The Hearthstone Equinox.
Now that we had a stove, we were going to need WOOD. Lots of it. My husband negotiated a deal though a friend at work. 5 cords, cut and delivered, for $750. Nowadays I truly appreciate the sweetness of this deal. Back in October I suspected it was pretty freaking fantastic, but before moving to Maine, I didn’t even know what a cord of wood was. Hint: it’s a big pile.
When these big piles started showing up months ago, we started stacking them. But there is a big difference between stacking wood the RIGHT way and stacking it the dingus way. Being city folk, you can guess which way we stacked. Going on cord number three, our wood guy warned us we’d stacked the wood too close. Stack too close and you risk the wood molding. So we re-stacked it. But we must have stacked it too loose, b/c the new stacks collapsed. So we re-stacked again. In between stacking, it rained several times. So we covered our wood piles w/ tarps. Unfortunately these tarps were the wrong size (too big and/or too short). Some of the wood stuck out at each end and got wet. The rest of the wood was covered completely, but the big tarps pooled water, which sagged between the stacks, weighing them down and collapsing them. So we had to re-stack again. Finally, we wised up and cut the tarps to fit each of wood stacks individually. We tied each of these tarps down, leaving room for the wood to breathe, and keep it covered from the rain & snow, but not enough GIVE for it to go cascading across the yard.
Here is our yard mid-October. Green & lush. Neat & tidy.
Here is our yard today.
Brown. Not looking so hot. The wood at the top is all new; we just got it and have begun stacking it the RIGHT way. The lower collapsed wood pile is all that remains of the old stuff. The tarp had been tied down protecting it, but flew off during the last hurricane-force wind storm. This storm also hurled our (heavy for 2 people to lift) canoe 20 feet across the yard. We’re moving all of the wood to the top left, to season for next year. “Seasoning” is a special wood term. Seasoned firewood is good firewood; it’s dry, it burns well. In order to season firewood. you have to leave it out uncovered for a year. Exposed to the elements, the sun, snow, wind and rain. Seasoning literally means “leaving your wood out in all seasons” rather than “adding flavor to your wood.” Though I guess you could say seasoning does that too. You can see the turkeys like our wood. This might explain why the last bundle we brought in smelled like a combination of turkey poop and vomit. We have no idea what happened, but we are blaming it ALL on the turkeys. And yes, that would be the last wood we brought in. After dealing w/ the stench for about a week, we decided the winter has become mild enough to switch exclusively over to oil.