Saturday, February 20, 2010

Burning the wood I cut

Soft pine isn't very good for the woodstove compared to hardwoods, particularly if it's old and dried out. It's great for getting a fire started because it goes up fast, but it burns quickly, and tends to leave creosote in your chimney. On the east coast the latter factor is usually why it's avoided, but it's not as big a factor as people make it out; if you burn hot once in a while, that'll be cleaned out. When we've had our chimney cleaned, it's always already been pretty clean. And on the west coast, they burn a lot of pine because that's what they have, and no one makes a big deal.

The first wood I cut wasn't just soft pine, but very dried out and old soft pine, so much so that it weighs a fraction of what a proper log weighs. It's not exactly useless as firewood, but it burns up fast. I cut it anyway because I was a rank tyro and it seemed like good wood to practice on, particularly since it was only going to go to waste. I tried to intersperse it with the hardwood I cut and the hardwood we bought, both to spread it out, and so it could be used primarily for getting a fire started and then switch to hardwoods after it's going (and especially for bedtime).

But I didn't spread it out as well as I wanted, because I didn't have the separate piles available at the same time to combine together. So I've gotten to the point now where most of the wood left on the pile is the soft wood. So there's nothing to do but to load the wood more often, save the hardwoods for nighttime, and savor the fact that all of the wood we're burning now (even the hardwood) is wood I cut from my own land.

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