First snow

We got some heavy, wet snow last night and with the leaves still on the trees, it’s caused quite a mess. We lost three of our five apple trees that are producing, including hundreds of apples that hadn’t ripened yet, and about 30 other smaller trees plus a bunch of branches. Didn’t lost power, and no real damage to anything.

The ducks, though, are unfazed.

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Cabin Life – #101

Well, the low temperature last night was still above zero for the first time in Fresh Eggsa week.  It’s not much, but it’s something to look forward to.  And then tomorrow they’re saying that the highs will be above freezing.  It has been a wild winter so far, weather-wise.

While the rest of the nation was experiencing record cold last week, we were watching the snow melt and the ruts in the driveway disappear.  Then we had bone chilling cold with nasty wind.  So much so that if I didn’t check the chicken coop every hour or so for eggs, the eggs I did find would be frozen and cracked.

One nice development out here at the cabin is that Brownie the chicken has started laying eggs too.  Nice light brown ones that make the egg carton look so pleasant.  With Whitey and Brownie laying now pretty much every day, I’m getting more eggs than I can eat.  At least when I find them unfrozen.

But back to the weather.  It was so windy the other night that I actually had to prop one of the chairs up against the door to keep it from blowing open.  The corner of the old woodshed roof lifted and had to be repaired (the people who built it only used about twenty screws for the eight sheets of metal, so no wonder it pulled away from the shed).  I’ll have to keep an eye on it the next time it gets windy like that.

The one upside of the wind is that I had several trees come down.  I could hear the popping and crunching of branches falling all night a few nights ago, and when I took Pico for a walk to check on the upper cabin, I found about a half dozen green ash trees down.

This was a huge bonus for several reasons.  First, they fell right across the road to upper camp, making them very easy to get to.  I can use the sled to bring firewood back or let it sit until spring and use the four-wheeler.  Either way, it’s a bunch of wood that I don’t have to work too hard for.  For once.

Second, and more importantly, with the ridiculous cold we’ve had, I am burning through wood faster than ever.  And it’s not the stove.  The new stove is far more efficient.  I get about eight hours of burn time with three big logs in there when I put it on the most efficient mode.  The old stove would have needed six or seven logs jammed into it to last that long.  But, it’s just been so cold that I can’t have the stove shut down all the way for the most efficient burn.  I need some air getting in there so that the temperature in the house stays comfortable.

With the wood shed about halfway empty, and three solid months of non-stop burning left in the winter, I’ll be dipping into next year’s firewood before the winter is out.  It’s a good thing I started working on that in the fall.  I already have about three cords tarped and split, so when the shed gets empty, I have a little safety net.  It’ll just mean more work and more money next winter, but I can’t stop burning wood and just turn on the furnace.

I have to admit, I kind of miss the days when the heat was just on.  It didn’t require any work or effort, just had to set the temperature and go about your day.  And sure, the wood stove keeps it steadily comfortable in here, but at what expense?  Year-round work trying to find and cut and haul and split and stack and carry and burn wood.  It’s a ton of work, and then add to it the unpredictable length of winter and it becomes a lot of stress too.  Luckily for me, one of my favorite ways to relieve stress is to cut trees up with my chainsaw.

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Cabin Life – #88

I’m sitting at the table, looking out the big window at the layer of frost The Scythecovering everything.  The car has a white windshield and the chicken coop has a good layer of frozen dew on it as well.  I guess now that it’s September, there are going to be more and more days like this.

Now that fall is almost here, I’ve been thinking back on the summer.  At the beginning, I was worried that this would be the summer that never was, what with snow until early June and then nothing but rain for quite a while too.  Then there was the heat wave, followed by more rain.  August was nice though.  It was hot but not crazy hot, with some rain here and there.  Of course, it rained almost exclusively on my days off each week, but what can you do?

Last night, I rebuilt the fire pit in the side yard.  It was working fine, but I wanted a larger one out there.  I dismantled the old pit and built a new one, about twice the size.  The funny thing is that I didn’t add any rocks to it.  The old pit just had so many rocks laying around not performing any function that there was a ready stockpile handy.

I got a fire going to enjoy the new pit, and since it was still daylight out and I was out of beer, I thought I’d do some work on the side yard.  I tend to call this area the front yard, since this is what I see when I look out the big window.  But my front door faces another direction, so the side yard it is.

In a way, the side yard is a much more active place than the front yard.  I park and walk through the front yard a lot, and that’s where the big fire pit is as well.  But the side yard is where the chickens are, the junk wood pile, the compost bin and the more manageable fire pit are.  It’s also where the solar panel and the remnants of the garden are located.

As I stood there surveying the yard wondering what project I could start, I decided it could be something fun.  The woodshed is done and almost full and the chickens are happy in their coop.  The main projects I wanted to get done are done.

I’ve wanted a horseshoe pit out here for a while, and this seemed like a good time to start it.  However, the most level part of the yard was covered in small balsam sprouts and other brush.  I had already cleaned up the entangled pile of old metal roofing and burned a bunch of old lumber that was slowly rotting away under the apple tree.  The ground was clear of debris, but not of brush.

I went to the shed and grabbed the scythe.  I had never actually used one of these before, but when I saw leaned up against the outside of an antique shop, I had just given in to the impulse and purchased it.  For twenty bucks, I got the scythe and an extra blade.

Walking back to the side yard with scythe in hand, I figured it would be best to have on steel-toed shoes.  So with the proper foot wear in place, I attacked the lower part of the side yard with the scythe.  I started out small on the goldenrod and tall grass, but soon got adventurous and tried my luck on a couple of the small balsams.  To my amazement, the scythe sliced right through them.  This was getting fun.

The huge blade on the scythe made short work of the brush, and I so had cleared a lot more than I intended to.  There’s plenty of room now for the horseshoe pit as well as a couple of raised bed gardens.  I had decided to do something fun for the night.  I may have sweaty from all the work of swinging the scythe, but it sure was fun to me.

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Cabin Life – #86

Well, it’s finally happened, I have electricity.  Granted, it’s not much The Panelelectricity, but it’s a start.  I don’t need enough to run appliances or a whole house, just enough so that my phone and computer don’t go dead, and hopefully a light or two to read by.

A few months ago I got an email from a reader who said he had an old solar panel lying around and didn’t need or want it anymore.  It was mine, he said, if I just came and picked it up.  You never know who you’re meeting through an email, so I was a little wary.  So, fighting the urge to tell everyone where I was going and with whom just in case I didn’t make it back, I drove the little ways to his camp.  I did bring my girlfriend with me, you know, for protection.

He was nice enough to pick us up at the boat launch and give us a ride out to his camp.  It was a nice place, bigger than mine, but much better set up.  He had running water, internet, and a beautiful location right on the water.  We got the solar panel and hung out for a little while, then headed back to the car.

I’m sad to admit it, but that was almost three months ago.  For three months, I’ve had this solar panel sitting in the cool shade of my shed, doing nothing.  I even had the charge controller and a deep cycle battery, but was too busy (lazy) to get around to hooking the thing up.

So this week I pulled everything out to the yard and set I up just to see what would happen.  The charge controller showed a charge, and I was angry with myself for putting off what turned out to be a ten minute job.

I left the panel out all day in full sun and went to town to buy an inverter.  I picked up a nice one and did some other errands before getting back home in the evening.  I was excited and ripped open the package for the inverter and hooked it up.  It immediately started flashing and beeping, and not in a good way.  The charge was too low on the battery to power the inverter.

No big deal I thought, it’ll take a couple of days for the battery to get fully charged.  But, since everything else seemed to be working, I set the panel up in its full-time place on the south side of the porch.  I moved the battery onto the porch and drilled a couple of small holes for the wires to run through.  I then fed the wire through, and the positive wire was about eight inches too short.  Of course.

The next day I went to the hardware store (again) and picked up some wire.  The thing was now fully set up and actively charging.  But not fast enough.  I took the battery to work the next day and plugged it in to the trickle charger.

Now, the battery is fully charged, the panel is up and running and hopefully it will be enough juice to keep the battery charged.  It’s a big step up in the cabin life, and the prospect of having light this winter is very exciting.

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Cabin Life – #83

I really enjoy fall weather, just not in July.  The last few nights have been The New Shedbeautiful, though cold.  I really struggled on Wednesday on whether or not I would get a fire going in the stove.  I decided not to, based solely on principle.  I will not be using my woodstove in July.  I just won’t do it.

But it has made the evenings pleasant.  The water is warm when we go swimming, and the heat isn’t as oppressive as last week.  On top of the coolness of the nights, they have also been really clear.  With a big moon in the sky and the stars shining, it’s been great.  As the moon moves to one side of the sky, the stars come out on the other, making a whole-sky panorama with the Milky Way visible on one end, and nothing but the slate gray sky around the moon on the other.

Now that the wood shed is done and partially stocked, I’ve been able to relax a little bit after work.  Ed and Herbie get to go outside for a while and the chickens have been enjoying eating bugs and grass in their run.

I was sitting on the boulder that serves as my front step the other evening, letting the day’s accumulated warmth keep me comfortable.  Pico and Herbie were lying in the dirt by the car, but Ed was not immediately in sight.  I then noticed something moving off to my left in the taller grass.  A lifetime of toys and free food have left Ed lacking in the hunting skills department, but he still gives it a good effort.

I watched as he not-so-subtly snuck down through the grass and toward the chicken run.  It took him a while to get up the nerve, but he finally launched an attack and ran smack into the fencing.  He seemed to have taken the girls by surprise, but they were safe the whole time.  They squawked and ran around a bit, but settled back into the rhythm of being chickens.  Ed settled in at the end of the run and hung out for a while to watch them, no doubt dreaming of hunting glory.  Soon, they’ll be bigger than he is, and I’m not sure how Ed will handle that, psychologically.

After watching Ed for a few minutes, I glanced over at the new shed.  I have a full cord of wood in there, and will need probably another two full cords to get through the winter.  I like the way the shed turned out, and with a grand total cost of about fifteen bucks, I think it was a good project to get done.

My dad had come up to help me build it, and along with my friend, we built the whole thing in about four hours.  I used a bunch of old lumber from underneath Upper Camp and only had to buy a box of wood screws.  The old metal roofing has holes in it, but they’re small and it will keep the vast majority of rain and snow off my wood.  It’s comforting to have it built, though now I really feel the pressure to get it filled.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to buy some fire wood this winter, but it won’t be as much as last year.

When my neighbor came up to brush hog the lower field, he noticed the new shed.  He said that he’s built a few sheds, and the biggest problem is that when you build a new shed, you fill it up, leaving you no choice but to build another shed at some point.  I like building things, so this wouldn’t be so bad, but luckily this new shed will be filled and emptied by the time next summer roles around.

Now I just need to figure out what else can go into a shed, so I can build another one.

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Cabin Life – #81

I just got back from the neighbor’s house, where we had a couple of beers The Big Snakesby the fire.  Even though I tend to have a beer by the fire whenever it’s not raining, it is nice to share the fire with friends.  Plus, how often do you get to drive a four-wheeler to your friend’s house?  On top of the pleasant evening, it is actually starting to feel like summer.  We’ve had almost three whole days without rain.  I am really excited.

There’s been a lot going on out here at the cabin.  I bought a new woodstove and am waiting for it to be delivered.  The new woodshed will be up and doing its job within a week.  The chickens are growing and the coop will be built and operational in two weeks.  The peas in the garden are growing like crazy, and the few that I’ve eaten were sweet and crisp.

But on another note, the snakes may be getting a little comfortable in the yard.  Now, granted, I don’t mind snakes and appreciate the services that they provide, but I had a bit of a run-in with a few, and they’re getting on my nerves just a touch.

Last week, we had a warm, sunny day for the first time in a while.  I got the four-wheeler going and took a ride down the road.  It’s about a mile to where the pavement starts, and I cruised up there and turned around.  Not long after I turned around, I was startled by something on the handlebars.  There was a decent-sized garter snake winding its way around the cables and controls down back into the body of the machine.

The snake wasn’t big, and before I could grab it, it slithered down the controls and under the plastic body.  I glanced down in there to see if it was easily accessible and noticed a bunch of stuff that kind of looked like a nest.  When I leaned over a little farther, I could clearly see two more little garters curled up in the nest, and the one from the handlebars making its way around.

I was startled, but took off for home and figured I’d dig them out when I got back.  I pulled into the yard and my friend pointed out to me that there was a rather large snake head poking out from under the seat, right where her legs had been dangling on our ride.  Now, I’m not afraid of garter snakes and routinely remove them from places where I don’t want them (like in the chicken cage).  But this one seemed big enough that if it did bite me, it would hurt.

Unfortunately, it’s head was resting directly on the release that would allow me to remove the seat and therefore remove the snake.  It seemed pretty docile, maybe a little woozy from the ride, but I grabbed a glove and pushed the snake’s head back out of the way and released the seat.

As I pulled the seat off, I was amazed at the size of this snake.  It’s body was wound around itself quite a few times, and it’s girth was enormous.  I followed the contour of its body all the across the width of the four-wheeler and realized that this snake had a head at either side of the seat.  This was two snakes, both equally large, wide and, luckily, docile.

I grabbed each one and tossed them into the long grass at the edge of the driveway.  They were hands down the largest garter snakes I have ever seen, and the fact that they were that close to my crotch made me uneasy.  I decided to leave the four-wheeler parked in the shorter grass, and walked over to the rock pile where it had been parked.  As I walked up and picked up the tarp, I saw seven different little snakes take off into the grass.  Hopefully they find a nice place to nest.  It just can’t be in my house, car, or four-wheeler.

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Cabin Life – #66

Well, they say that spring is here, but the eighteen inches of snow on the Horse Stable Fenceground out here says otherwise.  While show shoeing up in the back of the property, I took an old ax handle and checked the snow depth.  There’s still two feet of snow where the sun doesn’t shine.

I needed a break this week.  The wood stove is once again giving me problems with negative pressure causing smoke to come into the cabin.  I would be a lot more worried about this if it was December or January, but since it’s the end of March, it’s really not bothering me that much.  Obviously, the stove and the chimney need to be replaced, but now is not the time for that.

I can get by for a few weeks, occasionally staying at friend’s houses or just getting a small fire going to take the chill out of the air at night.  I’m done having a fire going all the time now though since I would really like to avoid having the cabin burn down.  Luckily, the end is in sight and the days are warm and sunny enough that I don’t need a fire.

I’ve spent the week sleeping at a friend’s house, with the cats and Pico.  I’m still spending my days and evenings at the cabin, but taking advantage of the offer of an “on-grid” place to stay.  It’s been really nice having internet and TV and hot water.  I know I’m not the only one who feels that it’s time for winter to hit the road, and I enjoy knowing that the end is near.

But in the mean time, I’m taking advantage of the warm days and the sun staying up much later.  I like not falling asleep at six in the afternoon, and the solar lights are working well with the increased daylight.  The solar radio still doesn’t get enough juice during the day for more than an hour or so of listening time though.

This is also my favorite time of year to go skiing and snow shoeing.  There’s enough snow on the ground that it’s still easy to bushwhack through the woods without getting caught on downed trees or branches.  My girlfriend and I went for a snow shoe the other day to check on Upper Camp and just kind of explore the woods behind the log cabin.  We had no problem with obstructions, but definitely needed the snow shoes to get around.

For most of the fall, I was looking for an old double-bit ax to rehab.  I decided it would be easier to just buy a new one, so I did.  But on our trek to Upper Camp, I checked the wood shed and barn to make sure that no critters had moved in.  I found an old double-bit ax in each of the buildings.  The handles are shot, the heads are pocked and rusty, and the edges are most likely too far gone to make either ax all that useful again.  But I grabbed them and carried them back to my cabin anyway.

I’m going to clean them up and put new handles in even if I don’t get to use the axes for anything other than decoration.  It’s part of the feeling of spring that I want to rehab something that’s pretty much useless.  The season is changing and it’s a chance for all of us to rehab our mental states and start looking again for the simple beauty in the world.

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Cabin Life – #59

Tools of the trade
Like most people, I sometimes make decisions that I regret.  Last week I made one of those decisions, and I have been regretting it ever since.  The decision I made was to shave off my beard.  On the coldest day of the year.  It’s not that I’m worried about my ability to grow another beard, but it’s been, well, cold and for some reason I seemed to forget how much insulation I get on my face from the beard.  In hindsight, it was a horrible decision.

I made another decision recently which is turning out to be much better though.  I bought a double-bit axe for use around the property, and I could not be happier.

Amy doesn’t want me to cut down any live, healthy trees out here for fire wood, so I am relegated to cutting only trees that are already dead and/or down.  Luckily, we’ve had some pretty severe wind this winter and there has been no shortage of trees to buck up and drag out of the woods.  I use the chainsaw for almost all of this work.  But when I’m cutting what’s called a “widow-maker,” the chainsaw can get pinched in the tree if I misread how the tree will fall.  It doesn’t happen that often, but it’s good to know that I now have a nice axe to use to chop out the chainsaw.

I got a double-bit for two main reasons.  The first is that they have straight handles, so it’s a pretty accurate axe.  The other is that I can keep one blade sharp for chopping, and the other a little more dull for splitting.  After splitting several cords of wood by hand last year with an eight pound maul, swinging the three and a half pound axe is much, much easier.

I’ll still use the maul for knotty wood or the really big logs.  It’s heavy, unwieldy, and gets stuck a lot, but gets the job done.  I also have a ten pound mini-sledge to get the maul through the really nasty logs, but that’s a lot of weight to be swinging around all day.  The combination of the two pretty much guarantees that I can get any log split, but it might take a long time to get a few pieces of burnable fire wood.  Three and a half pounds versus eight is a pretty easy decision.

And speaking of decisions, there is an annual event that starts this week which always makes me happy that I’ve decided to make the northern Adirondacks home:  Winter Carnival.

Carnival is what makes a hard winter bearable.  Carnival is something that I think everyone who lives in the Saranac Lake region looks forward to.  It is like a winter break for everyone.  And as an adult, who doesn’t wish that they still got all the vacations that school kids get?

For those of you who don’t know, Winter Carnival is a weeklong celebration of surviving through the winter.  There is a Royal Court, concerts, contests, an Ice Palace, and the whole thing culminates in an unforgettable parade.  Outside.  In the middle of February.  Needless to say, there may be some alcohol involved in one or more of these events.

Back when I was in college, there was a standing rule that my parents were not allowed within fifty miles of Saranac Lake on parade weekend.  I’ve grown up a little bit since then, but they still honor the buffer.  The parade really brings the community together.  People travel from all over the country and world to attend Carnival, and I have yet to hear of anyone coming away disappointed.

It’s a boon to the town, as well as to everyone’s psyche.  You have to be pretty tough to survive the winters up here, and Carnival is a great reminder that we’re all in it together, no matter who you vote for or how much you make.  We’ve all decided to tough it out up here, and Winter Carnival is our reward.

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Cabin Life – #58

Cherry logs
It’s twenty-four degrees below zero outside, and even though it’s warm in the cabin, I’m still going to be wearing longjohns under my jeans all day.  I had a problem with the wood stove last night.  One of the metal grates that keeps the fire and coals up above the ash trap got knocked off kilter.  Not wanting what was sure to be a very hot fire sitting in the ash pit all night, I attempted to put the grate back into its proper place.  Even with a big metal poker and heavy leather welding gloves, I still managed to burn my thumb pretty bad.  The smell of burnt leather and flesh made for an aroma that was… unpleasant.

Last week, I wrote about my plans to build a new wood shed this summer.  I estimated that I will burn a little more than four cords of wood this year, and so I would like to cut, split and stack at least five cords of wood for next winter.  My supply this year is getting pathetically low.  I have a lot of extra soft wood that I can burn when the hardwood runs out, but on nights like the last couple, I want nice big hunks of cherry and maple roasting in the stove, not pine and poplar.

A lot of people commented that my estimate of five cords of wood seemed awfully high for a small, one-room, four-hundred square foot cabin.  They are correct in that I am over-estimating for next year.  I think it’s better to have too much than not enough.  Especially since I am facing the dilemma of not having enough this year and the fact that fire wood doesn’t really go bad if it’s stored properly.

There are a number of reasons that I think I need so much wood.  The first and foremost on my mind is that my stove is a piece of junk.  I may upgrade this summer in an effort to get more efficiency.  The stove I have now is actually a coal stove which gets horrible draft.  The one upside to this stove is that fire box is huge, allowing me to load up the stove and keep the fire going for as much as twelve hours.

But there are a few other reasons I’m going to need so much wood, and they can all be boiled down to one big statement:  My cabin was not built for someone to live in.  It was built to keep a few guys warm on weekends during hunting season.  From the half dozen single-paned windows to the complete lack of insulation in the walls, this place is more than a little drafty; it’s basically a tent made of wood.

From what I can tell, my cabin is the second or third structure to be built on this particular site.  There’s an old stone foundation that is larger than my place, and under my cabin is a big slab of concrete.  The cabin I live in was built sometime in the nineteen sixties or seventies, and it shows.  My bed is in the corner against the outside walls and there is a noticeable difference in temperature from one side of the bed to the other.  The walls are cold to the touch.

I keep one of the windows open a crack all the time to let in fresh air.  This is an inconvenient safety feature since I burn wood, candles, oil lamps and propane inside.  Without the fresh air feed, I’m not sure how long myself and the animals would have lasted.  But even if I didn’t crack that one window, I think there is enough of a draft coming in through the others that we would probably be ok.  The front door swells and shrinks dramatically with temperature changes.  When it is warm, the door barely closes.  When it’s cold, I have to latch it just to make sure a light breeze doesn’t blow it open.

And then on top of all of that, there is the floor.  I hate the floor in here.  The cabin is built up on cinder blocks placed on top of the old slab.  Then someone just piled field stones all around the base of the cabin to create a wind-break of sorts.  It is ineffective to say the least.  The floor is not insulated underneath, and even with the field stones, there is a steady breeze blowing only about an inch and a half directly under my feet.  This is the kind of place where you will be very unhappy without some good slippers.

The lack of insulation, the bad windows, the poor stove, and breezy floor are all factors in why I burn so much wood.  I’ve added weather stripping and a few other things, and I could do some remedy work like getting better windows or adding insulation, but that seems like a lot of expense.  And with the way the floor already slopes, I think it’s probably not a good idea to do too much work to this place.  It’s not worth the cost or the effort.  I guess I’d just rather build a big woodshed than a new cabin.

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Cabin Life – #57

The Little Stream
Well, the January thaw made for a nice weekend, even though the skiing suffered a little bit.  It was warm enough last Sunday that I actually was able to get the four wheeler going and plow the driveway.  I only had to hike in for a week or so, and can now once again drive all the way up to the cabin.  I really didn’t mind the hike and since the four-wheeler won’t start unless the temperature is about forty degrees, I’m sure I’ll be hiking in again before winter’s over.

It was also a nice break for the wood stove, and more importantly, my wood supply.  Or more specifically, my dry hardwood supply.  The stacks of wood were definitely in need of a break.

I have three wood piles.  One is out in front of the cabin, under the big window covered by a couple of blue tarps that are pretty tattered.  This wood pile rests on top of a bunch of old metal roofing and consists of mostly pine and poplar.  There’s some maple in there too, but not much.  This is my “junk wood” pile.

The second wood pile is stashed neatly in the shed that is attached to cabin. It is safely ensconced in the shelter of four walls and a cheap but solid roof.  There is a heavy wooden door with a massive iron latch to keep the elements out, and other than soft snow that gets blown in through some cracks, the wood is well protected.  This pile is all cherry, maple, oak and ash.  The third wood pile is in front of the shed, split and drying, waiting to be added to as I cut more trees for next year’s wood supply.

This fall, I actually had to buy some wood from a guy I work with.  The supply I cut last year was pathetically small, and once summer rolled around, I figured it was too late to have dry wood for the winter.  I stacked about a cord and half of the stuff I had done in the shed, and then had two cords delivered.  This all went in the shed as well.  I left the junk wood out in front and figured I could mix a little in here and there.  But I also figured I wouldn’t have to do that until some time in February.  It’s now the middle of January and I’ve been mixing in junk wood for almost a month.

I figured wrong on how much wood I would need this year.  But now that I’ve been paying attention, I know how much to do for next year.  My little four-hundred square foot cabin will need five cords of wood to heat.  This seems like a lot to me, and it seems like a lot of work.  I have also vowed to myself that I will not be paying for firewood next year, because, you know, I live in the woods.

But the amount of wood I’ll need to lay in for next winter is far more than can fit in the shed.  I’ll have to build a new wood shed, but one that is not attached to the cabin.  I’m going to build big so that I have some room for extra wood plus a little storage.  This is one project I can do for free from building materials that are just lying around here.  It’s not going to be pretty or square or level, but it’ll be tough enough to hold up.  There’s a good spot with southern exposure where I’m going to build, and the new shed will hold a prominent place in my yard.  This way, everyone will be able to bask in its functionality.

The plan is to take a bunch of small pines and spruces for the upright supports and use old metal roofing.  There are huge old planks of wood scattered around that will make perfect sides.  No piece of lumber out here is the same width and thickness, so I can safely say that this wood shed will have some character to it.  The very short lean-to is like that, as is the front porch with the unintentionally swooping roof.  Yup, that misshapen wood shed is going to fit right in.

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