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OK, we do have a diary schedule. But, when you are ready to write that diary, either post in thread or send FloridaSNMOM a Kosmail with the date. If you need someone to fill in, ditto. FloridaSNMOM is here on and off through the day usually from around 9:30 or 10 am eastern to around 11 pm eastern.
Monday: BadKitties
Tuesday: ejoanna
Wednesday: Caedy
Thursday: art ah zen
Friday: FloridaSNMOM
Saturday:broths
Sunday: loggersbrat

It’s August, the dog days of Summer.

Those of you in gentler climes, and lower altitudes, think of August as vacation month, heat and humidity, time for swimming and barbecues. Or perhaps, for you, it is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” - getting ready for the children to go back to school. For those of us on the north side of Fern Ridge at 1700+ foot altitude, in the PA Poconos, it is time to start thinking of Winter.

The ferns are yellowing; the blueberry bushes are coloring as are, ironically, the beech trees (ironically because while they are the first to color, they hold onto those leaves - brown, dry and rattling like bones - until the Spring shoots push them off). By the end of the month fireplaces and woodstoves will have been used so the heating plant doesn’t need to be turned on.

Sad? Yes, but also exciting if you like skiing and snowshoeing and tubing down icy slopes to your doom in a raging river (just kidding, guys!). But before I can get to the fun stuff, this:

Must be turned into this:

I could purchase already split wood at around $200 per cord, sometimes for less. But I own almost five acres of dense woods and every year, unfortunately, one or two trees must come down. We are not talking about city trees here - small, easy to prune. These are 100, 200+ foot tall oaks, maples, beech, basswood, hickory, walnut, ash (lots of ash), and birch. Wood is not something I lack. Only I can’t exactly burn the resulting logs until they are cut.

That is when this:

and this:

and most importantly, this:

come into play.

Once the tree is down, I use the ax to hack back the smaller branches (to become kindling); then the chainsaw to cut stove size logs (easy to estimate, just use the length of the saw blade - about 16 inches); then stack them for a year or two of drying. They won’t split easily if the wood is green, although a dead tree might be dry enough.

When they are dry, I get to the fun part - SPLITTING! And I do mean FUN. I love my 5-ton electric splitter. It is noisy and dirty and the work is tiring; but I really get into the flow and feel a huge sense of satisfaction as I watch the wood pile up. Atavistic? Primitive? Probably. Our ancient ancestors must have felt the same way about the stack of wood they collected on a cold winter’s day.

Go ahead, Winter! Throw your worst at me. I’ll be WARM!

http://northernwoodlands.org/...
http://www.woodheat.org/...
http://www.patrees.org/...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wish we'll have a very wet winter (14+ / 0-)

    California has been having a terrible drought, and we are hoping for a typical wet winter.  

    Indoor Recess~Quilt by David Charity

    Indoor Recess~Quilt by David Charity

  •  Didn't realize (or maybe remember) (8+ / 0-)

    that you were in the Poconos. I'm in south-central PA, and although it has been cool here for August (we're usually at least sometimes in the 90s; not this year), it's still clearly summer.

    But I remember winters in State College...brrr.

    English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

    by Youffraita on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 10:16:04 PM PDT

  •  This is the start of spider and fruit fly season (8+ / 0-)

    The spiders are are already at work spinning traps at doorways. You need a machete (it seems) to get out of the front door in the morning. Whack those webs down, and they make new ones by the time you want to go back in.

    The fruit fly swarm is forming too...hide the produce! And a glass of wine unattended for two minutes will be laid siege on. But hey, they only live for a couple of days, let'em have some fun.

    •  and if you have landscraping or structures (9+ / 0-)

      outside, you will get webs between ALL contact points!

      we counted 5 in a straight line from the front window to the street side, lit with golden sunset light, the other day... it's a real pain trying to get the kid outside to do chores -- he wants a native bearer (usually Mom) to precede him and knock out the icky webs on his way to wherever the chore is! oy! how we managed to turn out such a delicate flower!

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 11:51:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  do the spiders harvest the (5+ / 0-)

      fruit flies?  the webs may be a blessing?  i don't get spiders inside much but of course they are the masters of the garden.  i try to leave them alone as long as they don't set up shop somewhere that i have to work in, like the pond.  i chase the black widows away by tearing down their webs which are the strongest in my garden.  i could knit a bullet proof vest with that silk!  but i don't kill them unless they refuse to relocate.  i don't want to be bitten and i don't want to kill if i don't have to.

      "I am an old woman, named after my mother. my old man is another child who's grown old." John Prine (not an old woman)

      by art ah zen on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 08:32:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rained today in my part of the world, and the (9+ / 0-)

    temperature dropped enough that I will throw an extra blanket on the bed before I crawl in it (which will be soon).

    Still trying to get everything put together on my new computer.  I thought I was going to have all the upgraded RAM done today, but the parts that came in were wrong, so now I wait some more days for the right ones to come in. I hope when that gets set up, some of the problems I've been having with it running slow will go away.

    Then, I got my old data transferred but I can't find half my pictures! Of course, the most important ones. And yet, pictures files that I know I deleted months ago are coming back like zombies. Maybe if I let it stew long enough, they'll all come back??? Go figure. I know I should prolly be upset about this, but I'm too tired. If I can't get all my pics back, I can download some of them from the various places I have stashed around the web. Or go make new pics, which would prolly be a good idea.

    My crafts are 100% Hobby-Lobby Free! Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 12:18:41 AM PDT

  •  I used to visit Grandma's farm, (8+ / 0-)

    and my father used to help split kindling,
    for grandma,
    for the winter.

    My older sisters used to help
    gather the eggs,
    and milk the cows.

    I remember eating strawberries,
    right out of the strawberry patch.

    My parents never preached to us kids
    about how hard they had to work,
    growing up on the farm,
    in the 1920's and 1930's and early 1940's.

    It was just understood.

    By the way,
    Grandma had no power splitter.

    Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 12:59:34 AM PDT

  •  Mine ends today (8+ / 0-)

    Very urban creature here. No trees so no wood to split. So I travel: three trips, 29 days, some diaried, some not. The last sixteen days not.

    This is because I knew the coffee at dinner last night would be superlative, and it was. I'll go back to sleep soon.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 01:38:48 AM PDT

  •  We're finally getting summer temps (6+ / 0-)

    in eastern Iowa.  Now that the kids are back in school the unwritten but unbreakable rule about having the first days/weeks of school be miserable is in effect.  Last week was warm and humid and next week will be hotter and more humid.  The good news is that we got a good soaking yesterday breaking three weeks of no rain at all.  

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 04:24:55 AM PDT

  •  I grew up not too far from the Poconos (5+ / 0-)

    And we had a wood furnace. So I am very familiar with the cut/split/stack/haul inside mechanism of keeping warm in the winter. I think we put up 9-10 cord a year if I remember correctly. We didn't have a mechanical splitter though, between my father and myself we did it all by hand. The only time we rented a splitter is when we had a cherry tree to split, that thing was so twisted there was no way to do it by hand.

    Not so tired and blah feeling today, thankfully. I have floors to do, though I haven't decided if I'm putting them off until tomorrow. I don't want to overdo things and get myself back to where I was. Still had seizures last night, about 12 of them, but they were more spaced out and not as strong as the ones I had been getting. Just some leg twitching so far this morning.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 04:27:53 AM PDT

    •  Take it easy. The floors aren't going anywhere. (5+ / 0-)

      You do need to be careful since you started new meds.

      I would not have enough wood if I had to split it by hand - chronic tendonitis, especially my right arm - the pain would be too much. I would have to buy it. I really haven't kept track of how much wood I use; usually I just say I went through a whole tree.

      "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

      by Most Awesome Nana on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 07:52:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I did the hallway (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Most Awesome Nana, broths, weck

        but I didn't do the living room and move all of that furniture. There's only one thing to move in the hallway and it's a smaller area. I'll attempt the living room tomorrow, maybe with Bit's help. I did manage a shower though. It's the first one since I got out of the hospital. I kept the bathroom door open in case I had a seizure. The lack of privacy sucks, but safety has to come first, and my son isn't awake yet so it's not so bad.

        We usually cut down 4-5 trees a year when we had the wood furnace, but my dad was a member of a club that had acres and acres of forest (train club) and we took the dead wood from there.

        What's funny is years later, as an adult, I was on a boardwalk and showed up this jock in a letter jacket on the "ring the bell" game where you hit the lever with the hammer. He wasn't holding the hammer right. I used wood splitting techniques and hit the bell. I was about 5'5" and 115 lbs at the time. He only got it halfway up the post. I doubt his girlfriend let him live that down for months LOL.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 09:03:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL! I would love to have been there! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, broths, weck, RiveroftheWest

          Splitting wood by hand really does make you strong.

          I know enough to let the weight of the ax head do the actual work, but the vibration up through the handle makes my arm go numb very quickly. My chainsaw usage is limited, too. And I can no longer drive the ATVs or dirt bikes. I can grip things fairly well, but if there is any vibration, I cannot hold on long.

          "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

          by Most Awesome Nana on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 09:11:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was all about the leverage. (4+ / 0-)

            He held the handle with both hands on the very end. I used the hands starting apart then sliding the one closest to the head to the other technique. And yes, I was always a lot stronger than I looked because of hauling and splitting wood. In warm and dry weather it was by wheelbarrow, with snow on the ground I'd pile it on the sled. That was my job every day after school, to bring in a new load of wood so the ice could melt and it could dry out before going into the furnace.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 09:14:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  "Wood warms you twice" (6+ / 0-)

    That was a common saying I recall hearing from people who heated with wood when I was younger.

    Cheers

  •  Wood is our back-up plan for the end of days, (6+ / 0-)

    we have a lot of it, but natural gas is plentiful and inexpensive right now.  Partner just gave away a few stacks of cut but not split wood we had accumulated.  

    For emergencies we use a generator, I had the new furnace installed with a special adaptation so we could plug it in if we lost electricity.  We also have an older kerosene heater.  If we get to install a wood stove, I want one I can cook on!  Previous owners here had wood furnaces, and they are still available but not hooked up.  More end of days thinking for us.  Cutting and using wood takes time and long range vision.

    I miss the wood burning fireplace we had in the other house, it did keep us from firing up the boiler in the early fall and it was nice to be so warm just before bedtime.

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

    by weck on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 06:02:04 AM PDT

    •  I have a generator, got it after two back-to-back (6+ / 0-)

      tropical storms had us out for days. So, of course, I haven't needed it since. LOL!

      When our power goes out, the power company jumps on it. The longest has only been a couple of hours. Don't know why they are so good here when I have heard horror stories from other places; but they are really quick and efficient.

      "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

      by Most Awesome Nana on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 07:58:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We sell generators at our business, they are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Most Awesome Nana

        great to have on hand, but you should run a small tank of gas through them until they run dry once a year to maintain their integrity for an emergency.

        You could use it to power the electric log splitter and kill two birds with one stone.  ;0)

        The trick was to convince the HVAC installer to set up the switch-over and convince him we wouldn't need it if we planned for such an emergency.  Under Murphy's Law Corollary # 345-b  (If you are totally prepared for a winter storm, you will not get one.) we haven't needed the furnace during blackouts because most recently they have been caused by accidents and summer storms.  

        The freezer and fridge and fans (Oh, My!) were all plugged in, instead.

        If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

        by weck on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 10:22:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My SIL, who is an electrician, did the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          weck

          generator set up for me. Whenever he is here, he likes to run the system to make sure it is working.

          I hope Murphy's Law continues unabated! It worked with the generator, and since I just bought a snow blower, I hope it is still in effect!

          "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

          by Most Awesome Nana on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 10:34:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good morning. (5+ / 0-)

    It's going up to 79, and gloomy.   Foggy now.  

    We don't have a fireplace, so no logs.   We used to have an outdoor fireplace, and we bought logs for that, but it's gone.  

    Going walking in a little while,  and some errands, then come home for chores.   Date night tonight.  

    Have a good day.

    I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.

    by broths on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 06:18:02 AM PDT

  •  Sorry I am late to the party. (5+ / 0-)

    Stupid computer issues which are still plaguing me.

    Raining again, not going to get out of the 60s. Today's soccer games have been cancelled so I guess I will just take the kids out to eat.

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 07:40:56 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for a most awesome diary! (5+ / 0-)

    I have never chopped or split wood & doubt that I ever will, but I love fireplaces. Every house I grew up in had one, even in OK (I think my father may have chopped some wood for them, but usually bought it). My house doesn't. I wish it did.

    Cloudy and 67 here, on its way to about 77. It has been a very comfortable August, but evidently the temps we've been getting are what they're supposed to be this time of year. Funny headline in an article I read: A New York Summer So Pleasant, Mr. Softee Might Weep.

    Hope you all have a good day.

  •  Fun diary!!! (6+ / 0-)

    Reminded me--just a little--of "Little House on the Prairie." The books, of course. I LOVED them when I was little. Never watched the TV show.

    Had a flood in our basement. Total flipping disaster. Parts of the carpet cut out. Part of the wall cut out. Had to throw out three bookcases, which REALLY upsets me, although the books were okay. Most of them are first editions that belonged to my father. Also had to get rid of a bunch of other stuff. I will be beyond livid if the insurance company gives me any crap and doesn't cover it.

    ServePro coming back today. Uggh.

    Hope everyone has a great day!

    I yam what I yam --Popeye

    by BadKitties on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 08:28:09 AM PDT

  •  mr. zen finds zen in chopping wood. (6+ / 0-)

    when we camped a lot, he just loved splitting the wood for the camp fire.  here at home, we have wood stacked in a few places.  some of it is trees but more of it is left over pine from various wood projects.  mr. zen builds stuff too, like my redwood and cedar potting bench, the garden benches, the garden patio and the front yard pergola.  we burn all that leftover, we don't use treated wood so there are no chemicals it in.  we have a fireplace in the den, which we don't use much but our garden fire pit gets more action.  mr. zen made it from a dead washing machine.  you take out the washing tub (it weighs a bunch because the upper lip is weighted with cement to make it spin properly), take out the tripod stand it sits on and have the recycle people take the rest of the machine.  then you turn the tripod stand so that the three legs point down and bolt the tub to the top of the stand.  voila! a fire pit! you can find videos on this on youtube, of course, and pix on goggle images.  we left ours white, but i am considering painting it red and black with flames.  i want to put it on the new patio, when i am finished, and mr. zen will build a rack for it.  he loves to chop wood!  i will show him the wood splitter machine though.

    have a good day all.

    "I am an old woman, named after my mother. my old man is another child who's grown old." John Prine (not an old woman)

    by art ah zen on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 08:48:11 AM PDT

    •  We have access to a much smaller electric splitter (3+ / 0-)

      than Most Awesome Nana is using, it is called the swift-split and was sold by the same company that distributes the Mantis tillers.

      http://mantisdealer.com/...

      We sold several of them, but they are really for folks who are not splitting enough wood for winter, just enough to use the fire place in season or bonfires.  Easy to store and you can use them indoors; no gas motor.

      Ours has a heavy duty gas motor, and gets a lot of use from partner's brother who sells firewood to campers and to folks with wood burning stoves but no personal forest.

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

      by weck on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 10:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh! Black with red flames! You must show us (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, art ah zen, RiveroftheWest

      pictures when it is done.

      Getting wood ready for winter is a very Zen thing. I think it is because of the rhythm you get into. It flows. If mr. zen likes chopping wood and can physically do it, he will probably laugh at a splitter.

      "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

      by Most Awesome Nana on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 10:41:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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