This weekend was perfect Fall weather.
Sunny and warm with bright yellow and red leaves raining down from the treetops and swirling around in the wind, painting the sky and ground with color.
The spectacle of Fall in the Northeast is stunning, until …
One needs to sweep, rake and somehow dispose of the mountains of leaves from the garden, patio, walkways, driveway, etc. Not that I am complaining, but I did spend the better part of my Saturday clearing out a few gutters that were overflowing, sweeping the deck completely clean and raking leaves from the gravel backyard and pathways around the house. When I woke up on Sunday, here’s what the deck looked like…
Ummm… I think I’ll wait for a few more leaves to fall before tackling it again.
That said, I turned my attention to another task that the cooler weather begins to apply more urgency to – wood preparation. I am fortunate enough to have a fantastic wood-burning stove, set into a field-stone chimney as the centerpiece of the living room. Here is a photo of the living room.
I adore building a fire on cold winter nights and (more importantly) I also use it to heat my house, attempting to save on sky-rocketing oil and electric prices. Nonetheless, to ensure that I can build as many fires as I want this winter and keep them roaring to provide heat, I do quite a bit of preparation.
Actually, most of the spring and summer is spent picking up branches and sticks and stacking them in various places around the property. Then I break them down to smaller logs or kindling and begin filling large containers with wood inside the garage to keep them dry (and hopefully bug free). So, when a neighbor was disposing of two clean pallets for Dumpster Day in our neighborhood, I quickly picked them up. I had two other pallets in the garage already, but they were a bit old and broken when I got them, so I decided to clean everything out and start fresh again. I will be using the old pallets in the yard to stack kindling and smaller logs off the ground.
I already had a substantial amount of wood stacked in the garage, so the first step was to pull out all the wood, remove the old pallets, sweep thoroughly and put the new pallets in. Here’s a shot of the pile of wood to stack onto the new pallets:
The trick with stacking wood is that you want to take the triangular wedges and make sure the large side of the wedge is on the outer edge of your wood pile. This will help ensure the logs from tumbling down as you stack more weight on top. It is also helpful to alternate the direction of the stack – creating perpendicular rows. You can use smaller pieces to fill in gaps between the larger logs.
I kind of start to get into a groove, letting my mind survey the scattered logs and begin putting them together like a puzzle. Have you ever played Tetris? If you’re good at that game, you’ll be a genius at stacking wood!
So after about 3 – 4 hours of work, I have a good start to a sublime stack of wood for the winter. Last year, this wood pile was 6 feet tall by 4 feet deep by 10 feet long. In these photos, it has the same depth and length, but is only about 3 to 4 feet tall.
Next weekend I am renting a log-splitter for a day, so after another 10-12 hours, I should have a nice amount of wood for the winter. I think it’s gonna be a cold one this year!