Getting ready for winter

woodpile in April

woodpile in April – after a bit of cleaning up

Last weekend Dave came out to visit. We made a long list of projects, and accomplished quite a few of them. The main project that I was really hoping he could work on was installing some new ducts to the wood stove. When Clare was growing up, they heated solely with wood, and had ducts from the wood stove going to most of the rooms in the house. When they decided to move and rent the house, Dave and Ellen figured that most renters would not want to heat with wood, so they hired their good friend and neighbor Louis Fender to install a furnace and air conditioner. When Louis put in the new furnace, he disconnected some of the ducts to the wood stove, since they weren’t being used. Now that Clare and I are trying our hand at homesteading, we decided that we would like to try to heat with wood as well. Thus we asked Dave to put in some new ducts.

fallen oak

partially cut down fallen oak up past the pond

Actually, Dave wanted to do this in June when we were moving in, but I told him at the time that it wasn’t a top priority, which it didn’t seem like it was in June. I also thought it would be a pretty big project, and the house was pretty crowded in June with all of us (Clare, Rob, Dave, Ellen, Harold, and Fran) working on various projects. Needless to say I was surprised when I came home from work on the Thursday of Dave’s visit to find that he had already completed the duct project, and a few other projects as well. But, it can always go the other way too. Clare and Dave spent about 6 hours on Saturday trying to install an outside light that we could switch on and off from inside, which at first seemed like it was going to be easy, but unfortunately did not get accomplished. They still haven’t figured out exactly what is going on with some of those wires. Dave was successful in installing a new motion detector light on the side of the garage which is working very nicely now, and a new light above the stove. Both are highly appreciated.

woodpile in October

woodpile in October – after much more cleaning up

While Dave and Clare were working on the outside light project, I decided to work some more on the wood pile project. I had been cutting up a fallen oak back in the woods over the summer, but I had not carried the pieces down yet. The more I thought about doing this, the harder it seemed. My original plan was to carry the wheelbarrow over the creek, carry the wood down to one side of the creek in the wheelbarrow, pile it up, then eventually carry the wood over the creek, and put it back into the wheelbarrow. As I thought about this more, I decided I should just go ahead and build a bridge, which I did awhile ago. Now that the bridge was built, getting the wood from the forest was much easier (though still quite a bit of work). Dave took down a couple loads on Friday and split some. He then suggested throwing out some of the old rotten wood, to avoid attracting termites. That project also took longer than expected. I worked on it for most of the day Saturday. Now it is looking much better. So my plan now is to continue cutting wood in the forest and bring it down to the wood rack, stacking it in the left third, then put it into the right third as I split it, which according to Dave gets easier when the temperature falls below freezing.