Friday, October 16, 2009

The Wood Shed

The completed and filled woodshed as it looks today. There is room to stack the wood higher, but we don't anticipate needing that much wood this winter.

When we moved in, there was a good size pile of wood stacked up against the fence on one side of our property. It was held in place by t-posts and covered with a tarp. Last fall, we purchased additional wood entirely too late and had to pay a premium. We had to search far and wide because many of the normal sources were out. This was partly due to our late timing, and partly due to the downturn in the economy. How does the economy affect wood, you ask? Well, first of all, the rising cost of oil freaked everyone out, so those that might only have gotten a small supply of wood as supplement got more just in case they couldn't afford oil or natural gas. Secondly, because of the downturn in the housing market, less new homes were being built. Quite a bit of the wood sold as firewood is actually cast offs from lumber created for housing. When there aren't new houses, the demand for lumber goes down and so does the supply of 'cast-offs'. And lastly, when the lumber business falls off, workers get laid off. Less workers, less trucks, less lumber in general means less firewood available for burning.

We actually didn't know any of this when we first started looking, but I was hoping to find a local source anyway. We ended up lucking out - we found a tree farm not too far from us that sells firewood from their farm. Last year they delivered to us and we were able to make it through the winter with wood to spare.

This year, we opted to use the same farm. Business has been good for them, so they've now managed to secure a bigger truck with a dumping feature. My husband was happy to hear that as last year, he had to help the guy unload the truck by hand. This year, we got some wood from our neighbor, some from the apple trees we lopped off and two cords from this farm. This is what two cords looks like after it's dumped off a truck:

Cut and split wood awaiting stacking.

And this is our woodshed prior to stacking it. My H built this shed basically around the old pile. In fact, in this photo, you can still see the t-posts that held the old pile together. the wood already in the shed is what we had leftover from last year. The small pile in front is mostly our trimmings from our apple tree pruning.

Woodshed awaiting the bulk of the wood. A few hay bales are barely visible in the right most section. There is a low wall between the wood and the hay.

Since we don't know when a small barn will be in our budget, we intentionally built a small space to the right of the wood within the shed to house hay for the winter for the goats. We also are currently keeping the feed (both goat and chicken) as well as supplemental minerals in there, but as it gets wetter around here, that will have to change. I think we are going to look into some type of bin to store the grain in to keep out moisture. We don't keep all that much on hand, so they won't need to be too large. The 'floor' of the hay area is made of wooden pallets that we scavenged from the 'free' listings on craigslist. The floor of the wood area is dirt. We also planned for a sizeable overhang on the roof allowing us space to stand in front of whatever is stored but still remain out of the rain. The walls were left mostly open because the fence behind the shed will keep out most of the wind blown rain.

This year, our wood will stay nice and dry (and so will we as we bring it in!).

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