Friday, February 5, 2010

One More Step Toward Self Sustainability

In Maine winters are long and cold. Like many of our neighboring farms we use a mixture of heat sources. We heat with propane in the form of gas logs in the living room. These logs also heat the upstairs via the natural process of heat rising through the staircase. The bedrooms stay nice and cozy. We have 2 wood stoves. One in the kitchen and another in the basement. These heat the back of the house and the basement which keeps the pipes from freezing. As long as these three heat sources are kept fed life is warm and good. We tried using a pellet stove in the basement last winter. The stove just couldn't keep the basement minimally warm. We bartered it and the remaining bags of pellets to a neighbor for 4 cord of firewood. This firewood is now getting low. We knew we had to start the search for wood again. At this time of year a cord of wood delivered would cost approximately $250 and up green (unseasoned). Alex came up with the idea of finally using wood from our own farm. Duh. We have 30 acres of wood. Some trees had been felled over the last few years and left uncut. What a great idea. Ted used our tractor to pull the trees down near the house while Kevin, our neighbor, cut a few more. When we looked out the window Monday morning this is what awaited us. Work!

Ted started cutting some of the smaller dry trees up to use immediately.

Finally, we are using wood from our farm. We are rotating seasoned wood with green to extend the burning and keep the fire hot.
We are planning on purchasing this log splitter from Tractor Supply which will work from the PTO on our tractor. It will save time and our backs. It will pay for itself with the wood we use the rest of this winter.

Each step we take is another step toward existing as we imagined in our dreams. We don't intend to take it back to making our own detergent, giving up toilet paper, washing clothes by hand. For some these things are important. There are different levels of self sufficiency. We are very happy with the progress we have made in the last 2 1/2 years since we moved to the farm. Sometimes progress is measured in inches instead if feet. We take it as we can. Stay warm and safe. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.


Becky said...

How great to be able to heat your house with wood from your own land! Did you go through those 4 cords in one winter?? How many cords do you think you'd have to get ready to get you through one winter?

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

yes, we continue to "inch" along too. I'm always challenging myself, such as, how long could we survive if we had no electricity, the grocery stores were shut down, etc.

Peggy said...

I had a similar splitter from Tractor Supply at the farm and loved it! Made splitting wood a piece of cake. Hope you are getting lots and lots of snow. We got 2 inches last night now its freezing rain with snow again tonight and tomorrow.

LindaSueBuhl said...

we really kick ourselves we didn't put up a wind generator for electricity - we don't have as much issue with heating but air conditioning is costly here! I know what you mean about self sustainability - were my DH not ill - we'd be making some BIG changes here to get more "off the grid"

George Africa said...

Sometimes when I make this pitch, I receive some strange comments. Here goes anyway. If you're cutting wood with a chainsaw, spring for the safety gear. The chaps are about $55 but a leg without a slice missing is worth it. With the splitter, an $8 pair of safety glasses means one eye or two. Some will say they have been working up wood for years without a problem but accidents aren't planned. Good luck with all your plans.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

Janet said...

Glad to hear you won't be giving up toilet paper!

bettyl said...

Good for you! I admire folks that are willing to do the things you do!

Farm Chick Paula said...

That's wonderful- and it reminds me of an old saying I just love..."firewood warms you twice- once when you cut it, and again when you burn it."