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I’ve got the garden all in, finally. It dragged on this year, mostly due to all the rain we have had. I try to stay out of the garden when it’s raining, because I just end up carrying mud on my boots and walking around on wet soil isn’t good for it.
Besides, there are roughly a million other things to get done here. We have no problem at all keeping busy on the homestead, it seems that the jobs can really be never ending.
One important thing that we need to get done every year is cleaning out the Wood Room. Our Wood Room is an old building with a tin roof. Actually, the roof has many parts, but they are all tin. We enlarged this room when we moved here and scabbed pieces of tin from here and there to get the roof on the addition.
Eventually we hope to build a new Wood Room but even though it has been on our list for years, it has never quite reached the top of the list.
Here’s a picture of our Wood Room as it was when we moved here in 2006. It had only been enclosed on one side (the windy side which would blow snow inside) and the rest of it was left open. It’s important to not fully enclose the room, so that the wood can dry out before using.
Here’s the Wood Room as it stands now. I took this picture yesterday – you can see it is now twice the original size. We enlarged it because we try hard to heat only with wood and we are successful for about 10 months out of 12. Once the temperature gets down to about -20 Celsius in the winter, we need to turn on a few baseboard heaters in the basement because we don’t want the water lines freezing.
You can also see the Wood Room is quite a mess. Aside from holding wood, it becomes a bit of a storage shed. Our bikes go in there as well as gas cans for the John Deere and weedeater. The John Deere is parked there so that it is always under cover, an important part of keeping our equipment running. During the Winter, the John Deere goes into Graham’s large shop.
We always have two piles of wood going. Why? Because it is important to let wood dry before burning and it is also important to remember to use the oldest wood first. Our old wood is on the right in the picture and the newer wood on the left.
And now it is time to clean up and organize the Wood Room. I’ll be moving all the wood from the right to the left so that we will be using the old wood first, come Winter. Since the right side of the room will be empty, that is where we will stack any wood we cut down this year. This way we are always able to tell which stack we need to be picking from.
In our Mud Room, which is attached to the house, we are able to stack two rows of wood. We love this, because it means that we don’t always have to go out to the Wood Room in the dead of winter. Instead, we can fill the Mud Room every week or two and then we know we will have enough for two weeks. Two rows = two weeks.
Yesterday, I started bringing wood over to the Mud Room. If I do three or four wheelbarrows full a day, it will take me about 4 days to get enough in. Since I have to clean up the Wood Room anyway, I’ll load up the Mud Room first, then start moving the wood over in the Wood Room. Why handle each piece more than I have to?
Eventually we will have to come up with a new plan to stock the Mud Room. We want to rip this small addition down and build something bigger, which will also give us a much nicer entryway to the house. I’d love to have wide wood steps with rock pillars along the porch.
For now though, we deal with what we have. Since part of the railing has been taken down, I can just toss the wood into the room from ground level. Yes it makes a mess but I can sweep up later.
Here’s the Mud Room. I usually toss two or three wheelbarrows full of wood, then climb over it to be able to start stacking. It works well and doesn’t take long at all.
The finished result – two rows about six feet high. Two rows = two weeks of steady fire in the Winter. Now I can get back out to the Wood Room and finish the cleanup. So if you heat with wood or are planning to, keep in mind that you will want to be rotating the wood. Try and design your Wood Room so that it will be easy to rotate!
If you want to read more about heating with wood, follow the link to read other articles here. We love heating with wood as we have access to a lot of trees and aside from the labour of getting the wood, this kind of heat is free. We use an electric wood splitter and it was one of the best homestead investments we ever made!