Monday, January 7, 2013
The January Splits and more Tales of the Woodpile
As we approach Mid-January each year the time comes when the stored and split wood from last years cutting usually begins to run out.
My typical game plan for wood burning involves cutting anything that is standing dead or volunteering for any nuisance tree removal I am asked to undertake. The exception is I will not cut down anything that may present a danger like in the city or what have you. I then create various stacks here and there depending on the age, dryness and size of the harvested wood.
As Fall and burning season progresses I use the stuff I split and stored in late Spring and everything small enough to burn without splitting from about October to January. Anything that is so large as to need splitting during that period is stacked in a separate place and waits it's turn.
Even in Mild years like this one and last Winter there always comes a time right about Mid-January where the ground is too wet or snow covered to really get out and get any cutting done. By some miracle of nature those times almost always fall at about the same period when I begin to run short of wood perfectly sized and ready for burning. By this time of the year just using the stuff that doesn't need splitting has caused a general need to keep using the older stuff split and left over from last year. This way I never run into firewood that loses it's BTUs due to becoming too dry or rotting or just hanging around too long.
The melting snow and rain from Saturday assured that this weekend was going to be a split weekend so Sunday afternoon I went at it.
I rolled the splitter out of it's home, gassed it up, checked the oil and.....
The damned thing wouldn't start. What else is new?
It hasn't sat unused for more than three months this time and I made sure to start it not a month ago as well.
Let this be another lesson that small two stroke engines are instruments of the DEVIL. They are the most moody, cantankerous pain in the Ass things I wish I never had to deal with. It doesn't matter if they are Kohlers, Briggs and Stratton or whatever. THEY ALL SUCK.
Anyway I finally got the thing started. OK really my dad came by and tried and the damned thing started right up for him. Don't ask me why just look back up at the moody and cantankerous part above.
We split and split and split and barely made a dent in the large wood pile. If things keep going like this I will have a huge reserve pile ready for next year as well.
So today the January Splits moved into the Mid-Winter Maintenance as I went around to the whole herd of EVIL small engine DEMONS that reside around the Small-Hold and gave them their due sacrifice.
Each tank got a bit of Sta-Bil and a little new treated gasoline in their tank. The oil was checked and each mechanical antagonist was started and ran for a few minutes. For the first time ever every last one of the things actually started. I couldn't believe it.
I then went around and added a bit of Sta-Bil to each tank and container of stored gasoline, diesel, and kerosene as well.
Perhaps my Spring small engine repair bill may not reach the four figures mark this year. YA right.
So anyway now is the time to go around and make sure your own evil small engine demons are storing well and ready to go for Spring. Treat the gas and never use anything but ethanol free gasoline in those engines. EVER. The ethanol will coat and varnish the fuel lines and corroborators if they sit too long or you run too much through them. I will blow out all the air filters during the Spring maintenance.
Another skill for the continuing decline you may want to look into is small engine repair. That is a skill that will become invaluable as the decline continues.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!