Living with forest all around the homestead, one is never at a lost to harvest trees that are downed in a summer wind storm. We rarely experience a tornado in this part of the state but strong summer winds during a thunderstorm are not uncommon. It is not at all uncommon to find a tree or two across one of the trails. Some of the trees are way past prime harvesting age while others are just perfect to turn stack for next year's firewood. We have a wide variety of trees, both softwoods and hardwoods. I am partial to birch, popple, and red oak for my firewood. There are lots of pine and spruce but I rarely use them in the stove.
It doesn't matter if the wood was salvaged from timber cutting, removed from an existing fence line, or harvested after high straight-line winds blew it down, it all ends up here in the wood shed. We stack the wood over 8' high in the shed, which is 10' wide and about 29' long. The wood splitter stays under in shed during the summer months and then is put into the garage for winter storage. I basically alternate between one side of the shed and the other for each heating season. This gives new wood more than a year to finish drying before use. It often times sits stacked in the woods for up to a year before I bring it to the shed for cutting and stacking. Before I split it, the vast majority of it already has good drying cracks in the end grain. With no sides on the shed, it promotes good drying which is reflected in the stove's performance each heating season.
And for those wondering, yes, it does get cold here on the homestead. This photo was taken mid-January, 2017. We will usually have a few nights where it hits -40F but luckily it isn't something that lasts for a week at a time. Our colder temps usually run in the -20 to -30F range while temps around zero are more common. As I right this on October 10, 2018, the snow plow just went down the road. Yeah, it looks like we are having an early winter this year. We've been running the stove for a couple of weeks already.
So, that wraps up this write-up. The stove has made our house comfortable on the coldest of days that northern Minnesota has thrown at us. It is efficient and allows us to burn a modest amount of wood during the heating season. We burned 1.5 cords during the first full heating season and 2 cords during our second season. Our wood supply for the second season had less oak in it when compared to the first season. I made sure this season's supply has plenty of oak. Given the early onset of cold weather, it could still be another 2 cord season. I hope you have found this information both interesting and helpful and should you decided to heat with wood, good luck with your new wood cutting hobby.
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