Not unlike the cycle of life things happen around here that denotes the cycle of the seasons. Case in point, farmers have already started the second cutting of hay. Male deer are starting to congregate into bachelor herds. Canning jars are laying about the kitchen table as canning starts and the whine of chain saws and log splitters can be sporadically heard as you drive about. All signs that the summer is coming to its end.

Second cutting

One item that I have spoken about in the past is cutting, splitting, and stacking one’s firewood for the winter. That is the project I am working on currently. I wrote an article back in January 2019 about the process that I use titled, Heating With Wood. The article goes into great detail of what I do and the cost savings of processing your own fire wood.

Back in March right at the beginning of the pandemic, I had the diesel tank filled that my hobby farm neighbor and I share and ordered a tri-axle load of hard wood logs. I wanted to get the best price on off road diesel fuel which we did. Have you noticed that diesel is climbing as fall approaches? I also wanted to get a head start on our heat for the winter because I knew that logs would rise in price and become less available in August, as demand will rise partly do to the deteriorating political landscape.

I bought our tri-axle of logs for $675- this year, $25- up from last year. You can get about 10-cords of wood from a load +/- a half cord. We use 6 to 7-cords a year depending on the severity of the winter. Last year (2019-2020) we only used 5 ½-cords. Yup, a mild winter for our AO. Last week while at our bible study class one of the men was complaining that he had just received his tri-axle load of logs which he ordered in June at the cost of $750-. It is good to be ahead of the curve. That applies to many things like ammo, canning jars, extra lids, etc.

After looking at that big pile of logs for months now, I just can’t wait for the lumber jack elves to come out of the forest and cut the logs into usable firewood lengths for me like the cobbler who had the shoe elves finish his projects. It was time to fire up the chain saws and get to work.

Several weeks ago, I dropped off to the Husqvarna dealer eight chains to be sharpened. Yes, I sharpen my chains with a file as needed during the cutting phase but there is nothing like starting with sharp chains. When I dropped off the chains there were three sets in front of me. When I came back to pick up the sharpened chains there were over fourteen sets to be sharpened and I was told the shop was two weeks behind. In front of the curve again.

Once home I put a set of the newly sharpened chains on my Echo chain saw, gassed her up and filled the oil reservoir. Three pulls later the old beast fired right up. It pays to use non-ethanol gas and to make sure you drain your chain saw at the end of the season. As already mentioned, I have an Echo 18-inch and a Stihl 20-inch chainsaw. I prefer the Echo because it is lighter than the Stihl and it seems to start easier with the manual choke versus the Stihl’s automatic choke.

Just a short commercial here. Only use non-ethanol gas in your outside gas-powered tools. Yes, it costs more, 30 to 40-cents more per gallon however, what you will spend today you will save in repair bills in the future. Plus, the added benefit is that your tools will fire right up when you need them to. If you do not know where to find non-ethanol gas, just do a search for your AO. Also, most motorcycle shops like Cycle Gear sell the gas in five-gallon cans.

Back to the task at hand. I try to cut ½ cord of logs every other day. Stack the logs cut on the off day and when I have the desired quantity stacked, I then start the splitting process. A cord equals about 85 cut logs. This year my goal is to cut six cords of wood so that comes out to about 500, 20 to 22-inches logs in length. Perfect for my Jotul F-500 wood stove.

Jotul with beef barley soup on top

In the past when I was new to this seasonal project I use to just cut away and the law of physics would have whole logs roll down as I cut. Eventually the logs would resettle but if I wasn’t fast enough I could trip and fall or my leg might get caught between logs which was always exciting with a running chain saw in hand. I now think ahead and pull down enough logs from the stack with a chain and my tractor for my next cut.

Chain hooked to ‘key’ log and tractor

 

Quarter of a cord now in position to cut

 

Quarter of a cord of logs cut and ready to stack

For the most part I stack the logs by hand however, on occasion do to the diameter of the log and the close space I have to work in it is easier and safer to remove the cut log using a chain and tractor. Once it is picked up, I move it over to where the log splitter is located.

Moving some of the heavier logs

In closing, what are you and your family or tribe doing to get ready for this winter? What is your cycle of the seasons? With China on the brink of starvation, with AntiFa and BLM in the streets along and a rapidly mentally declining man on the DEM’s side running for president howw are you preparing for winter? This winter is going to be one that you will be telling your grandchildren about while sitting at a fire about a generation from today? Get in gear and get it done.

Freedom Through Self-Reliance

 

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