What good’s a wood stove without wood to chuck into it, amIright?
Jenn talked about how we bought some seasoned firewood so we could fire up our new, hyper-efficient Jøtul stove this winter. Well, the goal won’t be to buy wood every year. What I’m about to say will be a stunner for those who know us or regularly read The Dew, so brace yourselves: We plan to forage and scavenge for the wood we need in the future.
It’s actually nothing new for me. I grew up in a family that loved a good, hot fire. When I was a child, growing up in Pensacola, I remember my dad often jamming on the brakes of our old Mystery Machine to cut up some big, old tree branch someone had dragged to the curb. Post-hurricane cleanups were like gold rushes for us, and we lined our large back yard with a log wall of wood, seasoning just right for the next year’s round of fires.
We don’t call our current house the “wee homestead” for no reason. Our mill house sits on a piece of property that’s probably only 45 feet wide. The houses are so close that we can nearly have a neighborhood covered-dish dinner without actually leaving our respective porches — which we think is wonderful, even if it does present some use-of-space challenges.
Now, our lot is lined with a picket fence (now 3/4ths painted, thank you) to make it Seamus-proof. And, while theoretically we could stack our cut wood along that fence, it would make it far less effective at keeping our lovable mutt in, and the wood would get wet. (Fun fact: Wet wood is difficult to burn.)
The Interwebs is full of free plans for firewood racks — and I had a fair amount of scrap lumber sitting about. I was particularly drawn to the simplicity of this plan. But it really only would help hem in the sides of the woodpile, and still had a couple of problems. To reiterate:
- Seamus the Wonder Dog could likely climb the wood and hop over the 4-foot picket fence. He may be 11 years old, but he’s, um, spry.
- The uncovered wood would get soaked in the rain. (Fun fact: It rains a fair amount in Georgia.)
No problem, though. I just added a couple of easy mods. I added another piece of vertical bracing in the middle of the rack. This added some structural strength and also let me span the top of the rack with some scrap pallet wood for a makeshift roof. Then I tacked on a piece of lattice on the back. I’m sure some lumberjack may think I’m getting all uppity with my wood storage, but it’s really just to keep the dog penned. I’m telling you, he’s smart, that one.
Aside from salvage, I only needed to buy one 2x4x8 and the lattice to build this, and a few sample-sized cans of wood stain.
Since our stove is weensy, I’ll be cutting wood to 14 inches1 to fit. This means only about 2 inches of the wood sticks out from the roof. It’s not enough exposure to the rain to thwart a good roasty fire on a cold night.2 When that night comes, I’ll be ready.
1 Assuming I can get a long-neglected chainsaw up and running. More on that later.
2 Assuming our climate ever decides to observe the tradition of “autumn” or “winter.”