Free Heat

The previous owner of our house left a scraggly, almost-dead, three-trunked, 40 (+?) foot tall Norway maple growing in an obtrusive spot right in the middle of the back yard.  There is absolutely no shortage or Norway maples hereabouts, so I decided to turn this particular one into firewood.  Friend D. jumped on the plan, asking if he could use it as practice for his new avocation (“power-tool-free amateur arborist”), which I agree to after considerable eyeballing of the distance to my neighbor’s house.

The tree felling was a great success.  Using a looong ladder D. notched the upper reaches of the trunks so they would snap as the tree came down.  Then axes and two-man saws were used at the base.  Here is a photo of the last moment (actually a still from a grainy video, taken by J., who was safely (?) hiding behind a tank filled with 100 gallons of propane.)

After the tree’s slaughter, the butchering began– again, all with hand tools.  D. and another friend came by after dark the next night, and we caroused in the back yard with headlamps, various antique saws, and a few beers, limbing off the small branches and turning the rest into 16″ logs.  Then I split it all with a maul.  Overall it was excellent exercise.

Results:  40 cubic feet of firewood!

Enough for at least 1/3 of a winter, maybe more!  Exciting.  Now we’re monitoring craigslist for postings of people having nuisance hardwoods on their property that they want felled and/or sawed and hauled off.

Meanwhile, in other good news, I had a call from some old friends who are moving to San Diego and wanted to dispose of the remaining firewood in their garage– so we got a pickup-bed-full of old wood from them, too.  J. says between these two events, and the remaining 1.2 cords from last winter, we should have enough wood for TWO more winters!  I don’t know about that, but maybe.

In any case, it’s become evident to me that with our recent lifestyle, and a bit of vigilance and labor, we could probably manage to never actually pay for heat again.

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2 Responses to “Free Heat”

  1. William Says:

    Norway maples are an alien invasive species and you should feel good about removing as many as you can from your property. Their seeds spread everywhere, and then they grow and shade out native plants. Don’t ever feel you have to have a reason to cut one down.

  2. Heating Season Over « Cold House Journal Says:

    […] went out and inspected the pile of wood from the tree we felled this time last year.  It looks lovely– nice silvery patina, light in the hand, full of cracks and check marks. […]

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