Thursday, July 23, 2009


Approximately 72,000,000 Btu's of firewood arrived a few days ago. I was surprised to see that the load was very nearly all red oak. Typically, in these parts, a delivery of firewood will be predominantly red maple, ash and birch. I have a soft spot for oak. Though there are just more than a few types of wood that top red oak as a source of heat (apple, black locust, hickory, white oak) and a couple that are tied (sugar maple, beech), in this neck of the woods red oak is the best in the most-likely-to-get category. If you asked a firewood supplier if there'd be any apple in the mix, the answer would be most definitely NO. The same would go for just about all the above mentioned species save beech. So, when you order three cords of firewood and it turns out to be 98% red oak, consider yourself lucky. The only issue with oak is that it takes longer to dry, and burning oak with too much water in it extinguishes the benefit. Ideally, the wood I bought this year would be next year's heat, but since I had only a little more than a cord of wood cut from last year, we'll have to rely on some portion of the oak just delivered. To speed the drying process, I've been splitting most of it in two. (This requires just a touch more effort as it takes to lift the maul above my head and letting it fall. Red oak is easy to split.) After a day or so of chipping away at it, I'm just about done. Chloe is excelling as an apprentice wood stacker, not so much for productivity but enthusiasm, and she'll be ready to take over full time in a few years.

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