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.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Winter Readiness ~ Firewood…

8:33 pm - 67 degrees - calm, quiet night...

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 eight 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. 
 
The venerable Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a nasty 2013-2014 winter.  It says that this winter’s shaping up to be cold, frosty, wet, snowy winter for most of the country.  It is predicting that a drop in solar activity and a change in ocean patterns point to colder-than-average temperatures and higher-than-average snowfall totals. 

{photo source: snowboarding.transworld.net}

Regardless of what Mother Nature brings our way, it is best to prepare for the worst so when the snow flies and the east winds howl, with just a little planning, we can stay nice and toasty warm. 
 
the fog was moving in this morning

This will be the fourth year we have wintered up on the mountain.  For us, our major heat source comes from our wood burning stove; we go through four to five cords (a cord is 4’ high x 8’ long) of seasoned firewood a winter. 
 

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 pine) reaches good seasoning in six to twelve months, while hardwood (like oak, ash or peach) 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 Tony has been cutting a lot of firewood lately and a woodshed (yes, we still haven’t built one) has moved to the top spot on our to-do-list.
 
Tony and his dad cutting up logs

we currently have about two cords cut and split... only three more to go.
 

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