We ordered 4 cords of wood from a commercial cutter, so we could enjoy our summer and not spend every weekend harvesting firewood. We like to have at least 5 cords for the winter, more if we can squeeze it in.
If you aren’t familiar with the unit of measurement called a “cord”, it represents wood stacked in a 4 foot by 4 foot by 8 foot cube.
We did a couple firewood trips earlier this summer, so we have about 2 cords stacked, which we are already burning for heat!
For awhile, we were pretty pleased with ourselves that we were going to pay someone else to do the work and we’d just have to buck up the logs he harvested for us. But things kept coming up and his expected delivery date kept getting pushed back. I was getting nervous!
Finally he was ready to cut our wood this past week, but he blew the engine on his equipment! Done for the season. But we did get 2 cords delivered! At least that is 2 cords we didn’t have to get.
We left it piled up in our friends’ yard and went out today to cut some more. It is likely not so wise to wait until almost October to cut your firewood. There was snow on the peaks as we crossed over the hills of King Solomon’s Dome and Hunker Summit. The mountain peaks to our west are covered in thick snow already!
It was just 2°C / 36°F when we went out this morning. But it turned into a gorgeous day! We cut along side the road on Dominion, in the 15 km long stretch that burned a few years ago. It’s been designated as a personal firewood area, from the road to about 100 feet in. (Yukon residents can get a free permit to cut 11 cords of firewood a year for personal use.)
We found a great place where we could pull off with our flatbed trailer so we weren’t right on the road.
Sometimes we’ve targeted the big standing dead spruce, but then you have to handle them twice as many times because every piece needs to be split. With not much time left in our season before we’re doing this in the snow, we were looking for smaller standing dead spruce, small enough we can just buck and burn them as round pieces, but not so small we’d need a billion of them.
I started with a couple warm layers on, but shed them real fast. The weather was perfect! It went up to 10°C / 50°F. There were no mosquitos, just some black flies as the day got warmer. There was a slight breeze. And no smoke in the air. Didn’t sweat like crazy. Didn’t zonk out because we were so hot. It was really the perfect weather for harvesting some firewood!
Jeff cuts the trees down with the chainsaw, cuts them into 8-12 foot long lengths, and then cuts off any large limbs. I wait until he’s moved on, and far enough away that I’m not at risk of any falling on me, and then I move in. I chop any remaining branches off with my Sandvik brush axe and then I get to move the logs out of the forest and to the side of the road. These were too heavy to carry, so I lifted one end, walked my way along it until it was standing on end, then I push it over. And repeat. We used to be able to carry these logs on our shoulders but both of us have lost weight and apparently we lost the padding weight on our shoulder bones! No way could I rest a log on my shoulder anymore.
After a few hours, we had thrown this many off the edge:
It felt like so much more effort. And not such an impressive pile.
It was 1:30pm, and we were hungry! I brought my Jetboil and some dehydrated meals so we could have a hot lunch (thinking we could be freezing out there). Jeff had some chicken gumbo and I had some chicken pesto pasta! Neither was spectacular, but they did the job!
We decided to move our growing intertwined nest of logs into the trailer to get a feel for how much more we still needed to cut.
Well… it wasn’t enough. Not terrible! But not enough.
Jeff headed back up to cut another patch.
After another couple of hours, we had another pile to load up. We had dreams of filling the truck too, but it wasn’t meant to be. We were feeling quite good still, but a point comes when your body get tired and a bit more stumbly, and there are a hundred ways to hurt yourself throwing logs around. So we called it a day and took the almost full load to our friends’ yard to sit the night.
Tomorrow after work we’ll start bucking some of this up. We’ll likely need another trip out to cut another load, but that’ll have to wait until next weekend probably. There just aren’t enough evening hours after a day of work.
These burned logs still have most of the bark on them, so it is DIRTY work, because the trees were burnt. Every time you touch a log you get soot on your hands, and then you wipe it on your face. Then you pick up a log to toss it, and soon your pants are covered, your shirt, your arms, everything. Our friend said we looked like we just came out of a coal mine! HA!
Here’s the pile we purchased:
Overall, we’re doing okay. We’ll get this bucked and stacked after work this week and see how many of our wood bins it fills. I can’t see it filling all of them, but here’s hoping it’ll go a long way!
In other news, the highway south is open! Well, one lane, with a pilot car, and only 8am – 8pm. The landslides are partially cleared so we are no longer cut off! Our friend that was staying with us was able to head home.