Wood and woodchucks

IMG_20140627_082145229We got a delivery of a cord of unseasoned firewood yesterday. A truck backed into our yard and dumped out hundreds of split logs of maple, hickory, cherry and oak. Compared to the cost of heating oil and the labor of cutting and splitting a cord myself, paying $175 seemed like a bargain.

This wood is scheduled to be burned in the winter of 2015-16, along with some maple and cottonwood from our yard and our neighbor’s xxx. It makes sense to get ahead of the firewood schedule, buy green wood and season it yourself, because a cord of seasoned firewood costs $250. I like doing business with Wagner Wood, which is less than a mile away.

For 10 to 12 years after we got a stove, I didn’t buy firewood. I scavenged around with my chainsaw and brought between a cord and a a half and two cords a year to our yard for splitting, carrying it in a wheelbarrow or the back of a Ford Escort. But that got to be old — and so did I — and now I compromise with equal parts bought firewood and scavenged. I love the process of splitting and stacking firewood, so I didn’t want to give it up completely.

There will still be some splitting of the bought logs that are big, but the larger task is stacking the wood so it can start the seasoning process. Over the next month or so, I’ll be putting it in a wheelbarrow and taking it to a metal rack and a wooden pallet where it can air out. I love the smell of split, unseasoned wood, especially oak.

Since people have inquired about our woodchuck wars, here’s an update. The tiny plastic bottles impregnated with fox pee now surround our garden at ground level, and we have not seen any woodchucks since then. We’ll put more fox pee in the bottles in about 30 days. We did get a response from a neighbor who said that three weeks ago he put fox pee around his garden and wondered if that caused the woodchucks to invade our garden instead.

That prompts an interesting ethical question. When I scare off woodchucks with fox pee, am I not just shifting the problem to someone else? How is this different from trapping a woodchuck and releasing it elsewhere? Will everyone in my neighborhood have to acquire fox pee now? And what would the woodchucks do then?


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