Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency. You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power. Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Winter Readiness ~ Firewood…

9:53 am - 53 degrees outside - sunny with no wind, another gorgeous fall day...

As the summer season winds down many of us look forward to the cooler temperatures and fall colors.  But we must not forget what is lurking behind those crisp fall days – old man winter.

It is hard to determine what type of winter will be in store for us.  Since we purchased our property five years ago, every winter has been different.  We have had everything from little to no snow up to over 10’ deep snow with 14’ deep snow drifts.  Regardless of what Mother Nature brings our way, it is best to prepare for the worst.

For us, our major heat source comes from firewood.  So when the snow flies and the east winds howl, with just a little planning, we can stay nice and toasty warm.  This will be the first year we have wintered up on the mountain.  We can only guesstimate how much firewood we will need to get us thru the winter and that guesstimation is around 5 cords of seasoned firewood. 
For those of you who thought firewood was firewood and don’t know what seasoned firewood is…  Seasoned firewood contains about 20 percent to 25 percent moisture content, compared to freshly cut or “green” wood, which can contain about 45 percent water.  Softwood (like fir or hemlock) reaches good seasoning in six to twelve months, while hardwood (like cherry and maple) takes a bit longer.  During this time, whether the wood rests on the forest floor or sits stacked and properly stored at your home, wind and sun work to evaporate excess moisture.
When compared to green wood, seasoned wood is lighter given that it contains less moisture.  Due to the lack of moisture, seasoned wood ignites quickly, lasts longer, burns efficiently and allows for minimal creosote buildup.

So needless to say, we have been cutting, splitting and stacking a LOT of firewood.

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