It's easy to forget that heating with wood is a year-round commitment. The best time to get next year's wood is in the winter or early spring, when it's still cool enough to work at cutting and splitting it up and when it will have many months (especially sunny summer months) to dry out and get ready to be burned.
When I saw many friends on Facebook post pictures of the process of cutting up next year's wood over Easter weekend, I knew I should get on it. A friend tipped me off to a wood seller who had some Firewood ends for sale, pieces too short to be included in a load of cut-and-split firewood. That's perfect to me, because my stove is tiny! I need wood that's 10 inches long (or less) instead of the usual 14 inches. As an added bonus, Firewood ends are cheaper than regular cut-and-split firewood, basically two cords for the price of one.
So, I called up and ordered 4 cords of firewood ends. They were delivered a couple of weeks ago.
This has meant learning a new skill – wood splitting.
My stepdad loaned me his splitting maul. (He has a gas-powered woodsplitter now, so the maul is a redundant tool for him). I got started splitting wood. I had done a little splitting with an axe or hatchet as you may have read on this blog. But the splitting maul is a heavier tool and it took me a few days to build the upper body strength to use it with much precision.
Also, 4 cords feels a little more daunting than the few feed bags worth of wood I split earlier in the spring.
Fortunately, it turns out that I LOVE splitting wood. I love:
- the satisfying thwack of the maul
- the feeling of accomplishment as the pile of split wood grows and grows (I'm almost half-way through my four cords)
- the emotionally purging aspect (I think a woodpile and a splitting maul should be prescribed over hormone therapy to every able-bodied woman experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms)
Then I hit a little snag. I broke the handle of my maul the other day. It just came off in my hand with a little tug:
With my maul back in my hands, there is no stopping me. In a couple more weeks, I should have all my wood split.