Collecting firewood is a hard task to do each year. It may be a sustainable source of heat, but it is not sustainable work for the human body. When I built our woodshed, I designed it to easily keep track of how much wood we have stored, and how much we are using throughout the season.
After a few years of collecting and storing firewood, I wanted a woodshed that could easily state how many cords were left during the winter season. Each of my rafters represents a cord of wood since the walls are exactly 8 ft wide and 8 ft high. The rafters are 2 ft a part on center. Since I cut 14-15 inch rounds, it takes about 1 and half stacks of firewood to make 1 cord. We try to gather between 8 and 9 cords of firewood each year, but this includes the wood we did not burn from the previous season. This year we burned about 7 cords of wood and had only a cord and a half left. So, we gathered a little more than we burned last year and hope to possibly have a few cords to carry over into the next firewood gathering season.
We burn primarily birch, ponderosa pine, and lodgepole pine. Each year we gather firewood, we are working to thin and make a healthier forest on our property.
Sometimes I do wonder if gathering firewood is sustainable. As I grow older, I rely more heavily on tools to help me do the task. Perhaps, if I used these tools earlier in life, my body would not be aching as bad as it does now. As my wife and I think about what life will be like in our elderly years. I could see us ordering a log truck of wood and bucking, splitting, and stacking ourselves for a while. If it becomes too much of a hassle, I’ll make sure I finish the radiant floor heating, and we’ll use propane to warm the house in our retirement years.
Please feel free to share how you gather firewood for the winter season. I am always looking for easier ways to do it.