It might seem like an odd time to be talking about firewood but it's really the best time. Before you need it. Several people have asked about our woodstove, earthberm and how we do winter.
We've been here now for 9 winters and our only heat source is a tiny woodstove, which I also cook on, use for drying and have successfully canned on.
I'm not in my ideal spot but our little earthberm home and tiny woodstove are my ideals to be sure :) When we first moved here it was in late fall. Nik was 7 and I didn't have much more than our basic belongings. My then husband had left and I had lost my job all in a row. I thought we would freeze to death the first winter, I had grown up with fireplace and woodstove at my grandparents and their big house was always very cold in winter. So Nik and I went into the forest (our back yard) and drug up some limbs and branches and I ran us completely out of the house with the first fire !
I was able to buy a cord of wood a few months later but it was almost all to large for our stove. With a small dull hatchet and a kindling finding hero, we figured it out, made do and stayed warm.
A cord, by the way, is 4ft x 4ft x 8ft.
The stove is actually about 21 inches square but take 14 inch logs. I can wedge in up to 18 inches if they're not to thick and if I have a good fire going.
We're in the Missouri Ozarks, elevation between 2,500 and 3,000 feet. It can get bloody cold here, in the single digits and ice storms that can last for days. So far the coldest it has ever been inside with no fire was 44 deg. and that was during an ice storm. It generally stays in the mid 50's to low 60's inside but that can feel colder in the winter. The Burrow is block on the 3 earth walls, wood in front which faces south. The whole house is just over 800 square feet.
The first year i would bank up the coals and wake up in the middle of the night to put another log on but not anymore. I generally only have a fire if it get's down in the low 30's or stays below 40 for more than a few days. If it gets to cold for to long and the ground freezes down then I keep the fire going longer but otherwise I build a fire on the cold mornings and keep it going till the house warms well then let it go out. In 20 to 30 deg weather that usually means I keep the fire going about 6 hours a day.
The Burrow in June
I did buy an electric heater for the bathroom but it's just a luxury, we lived without one for years.
I've only had to buy firewood a few times over the years, mainly when we had no way to haul it ourselves. Otherwise, we get firewood for free each summer from downed trees in town that people want hauled away. Freecycle is a wonderful source for free firewood.
I used to make us carefully stack all the wood but there's so much to be done that it would often get put off way to long. Now we stack the very large piece that have to be cut down before splitting but we just pile the rest of it. We make 5 main piles or stacks .... wood to be cut down, wood to be split, split wood, kindling to be cut down & ready kindling. I also have a some posts to make giant Juju dolls with.
I loath chainsaws (or any other very loud and overly dangerous kind of thing ) so we mostly use hand saws. I do have and use a chainsaw when I have to tho.
Cut wood wating to be split
I'm still in the process of trying to build a sawbuck, which will make cutting, with a hand saw or a chainsaw, much easier. I'm also going to get a good cross cut saw and I'm hoping to get a 2 person crosscut as well.
Nik does all the splitting now, which I'm so very grateful for! But eventually I'll have to split it again myself. I try to keep that in mind for everything and try to work toward the day he'll go on his own way and I'll be doing everything alone again.
Split wood, ready for the stove
There are no burners on our woodstove at all, it's just for heating, but I've learned cook many things on and in it, including bread. You can't really ruin anything unless you burn it to a crisp and as long as you keep an eye in it and check it often you can adjust and make sure that doesn't happen. I'll leave the wood heat stove cooking for another time tho :)
Ye Old Chopping Block