With the Coming of Summer, Thoughts of Winter

Yesterday I got a belated start on my woodpile that I will use for heating the house this Winter. Usually I use windfalls, tree that fall during storms, but we didn’t have many this Winter.


Fortunately, or unfortunately – depending upon how you look at it, we had quite a few alders die due to heat and lack of rain last Summer. Alder is quite a nice wood to burn when it is dried properly – clean, easy to split and giving off a good heat.  A green alder has about 30% water content. My wood will have to dry over the Summer and will get to about 11% which is good for burning cleanly.

I have cut four trees now, this photo is just one tree split up. It should last almost two months. I need two more stacks about the same size to get me through the year and I’m hoping the trees I have down will almost do it.  I still have two months worth of firewood left over from last Winter so we should be in good shape.


Composter Experiment

One of the secrets of good composting is to turn your pile in order to add oxygen to encourage the composting process. We have some snap together poly composters that are awkward to work with and we never seem to get around to the stirring up process so our compost is usually less than satisfactory.

A while back I saw the idea of a rotating composter (Family Handyman.com/Garden Composter). I looked around the shop and found four casters that someone had given me. I had one 55 gallon (208 l) barrel left over from my rain water collection system that I just completed and, of course, lots of lumber from my milling. I spent the past couple of days putting it together a composter based loosely on the mentioned plans. One of those great projects using scrounged materials where all it cost me was my time.

Composter 06_watermarked

The completed composter sitting on a sturdy rough cedar base.

Composter 01_watermarked

An old plastic squared pipe cut diagonally and bolted inside acts as stirring baffles.

An old plastic square pipe cut diagonally and bolted inside acts as stirring baffles.

Composter 04_watermarked

Handles are spaced evenly around the exterior to make turning easier

The wheelbarrow fits underneath to allow convenient emptying

The wheelbarrow fits underneath to allow convenient emptying.