Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Reserves are Built Back Up

After three trips out into the woods this week I finally have my firewood reserve built back up to at least a respectable size. Luckily I have been able to get off road again and into some areas I was unable to get to for the last two months or more. I also managed to not have to cut down all my easy access trees I leave standing for emergencies, although I was forced to actually fell two of those.

I tried keeping a running total of the amount of wood I have used this Winter but I failed. I know I was upto at least 15 full truck loads by the end of January so I am estimating somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 or so truckloads as of today. My guess is that this will equal out more or less to 10 cords for the entire Winter to date, with about a cord and a half still unburned but ready to go. I have been averaging about half a cord a week or so or two cords a month.

That's almost triple the amount I have used each Winter for the last four years or so.

Propane use for this Winter however = ZERO!!! I have made it and with what I have left there should be no way Winter will last long enough to use up the reserve I have now. Really NO WAY!!! Are you listening Mother Nature? No WAY!!!

Of course they are predicting another 4 to 8 inches of snow starting tonight.

The end of February and first part of March had my reserves down to critical levels. I did not get to go out and cut at all in February and was unable to get into the woods or off road for the most part until this week. The huge snow piles blocked a couple of my easy access trees for a long while as well and the snow was so deep I was unable to get down to the bottom few layers of stockpiled larger logs that needed splitting. At one point I was within about a day or two of failing my wood only Winter heating experiment and turning on the propane furnace. Yes it was that close.

I still simply cannot fathom heating to even a comfortable level without modern day tools. Namely a chainsaw (or three for when they stop working) and a log splitter. Without those tools I would have to work almost constantly, every day of the week, to furnish enough wood. Seriously it would be a daily chore the entire Winter.

Also, another important fact would be availability. I travel a few miles sometimes for available trees. If I was forced to cut and haul wood just within hauling distance of the Small-Hold by hand or horse power I would need to start cutting live trees and allowing them to cure rather than focusing on standing dead wood as I do.

Wood cutting will be a full time job in a grid down situation. Something all of us need to keep in mind.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. With winter still going strong I can't seem to get a handle on this summers weather. Its hot here today 87, we had rain last night so the humidity is up.

    I am still not sure on the budget crises. I have money in savings and not sure if I should get some silver or gold or wait and see. I am going to stock up on my supplies which are way too low due to moving.

    1. Rob - I wouldn't worry about gold at all. Maybe some silver but go for actual tangible edibles before anything else.

      Sounds like you guys are going to get some nasty weather there as well while we are getting the snow up here.

  2. In a true grid down situation everything would be hard and time consuming. Every day would be a struggle just to survive. Each hour of daylight EVERY DAY would be spent cutting wood, raising food, tending livestock, repairing and maintaining tools, houses, pens, and fences. Life would be as it was in the past, hard cruel and brief!

    1. SD - Yep, precisely why I brought it up. I doubt many out there have really thought such things through.

  3. Life in the past included cutting wood every day. Large families lived in small spaces and had enough people in the home to make it easier for the household to keep wood cut. Even if one person cut wood regularly, there were others to keep other chores done. I am old and alone, so I cannot imagine how I would keep enough wood in the house!

    Robert Frost and Thoreau have essays on managing a very small wood lot and never, ever running out of wood. I think they wrote these. However, you can read things on the internet about the management of a woodlot.

    1. PP - Actually I deleted the hand cut wood posts from last Winter or maybe it was the Winter before that. I cut, chopped and hauled two full trailers full of wood using only a tractor to pull the trailer. Every part of the harvesting was done completely by hand. If there is one skill I have that will be useful in a collapse situation it would be wood cutting. I have been doing it and managing the trees for cutting my entire life, at least when I wasn't in the army anyway. One load the size of which I harvested this morning in about two hours took almost six hours by hand (which didn't include splitting).

      I believe I have cut and burned pretty much every specie of tree the woods around me has to offer at one point or another.

      Yes ultimately the Winter would more than likely see the entire family living in a few heated rooms while the rest of the house was left unheated. You are right there it would be about the only way it could be done. I would also stop using the big furnace and switch to the much smaller inside wood stove.


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