Thursday, November 13, 2008

November Wood

Wild Plants and Wooly Bears

A dearth of blogs as late reflects my pre-occupation with fall chores, the most demanding of which was putting up firewood. But now, thanks to several good and caring friends who helped me in the daunting task, my shed brims with split firewood.

Also, for the first time in a long time, I have plenty wood left over for next year. This does not happen often and it wouldn’t have happened this year were it not for outside help.

Now, in mid-November, we in Mid-Coast Maine are in the most difficult time of year for wood burning. To wit, it’s not cold enough to burn good hardwood but it’s too cold not to burn something. Burning maple, ash or beech now makes for an overly-hot fire. And woodstoves have no off/on switch. So fitting wood in the fire at night before retiring requires a keen eye to the thermometer and a responsive ear to the weather report.

I like a mixture of poplar and white birch for these moderately chilly but not bitter-cold nights. By morning, if things go right, enough coals remain that it takes only 10 minutes or so to stir up a new blaze. I could easily circumvent this hit-or-miss exercise by simply turning on my propane heater. But the increased cost of propane irks me to the point that I prefer taking a chance on being cold. Besides, burning wood makes me feel good. The stuff comes from my woodlot. It’s there for the taking and so I burn wood.

Soon, we who burn wood will tire of the process and hope for spring, when we can once again let the stove grow cold. But as for now, that tang in the air of woodsmoke invigorates me.

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