Loading wood on the front porch, dodged a frost and shopping lists

The new wood rack is filled up to the top with elm and I got four of the big party buckets  filled with mill ends sitting on the front porch for the wood stove. The wood rack has turned into one of the best $20.00 I have spent this year. It makes stacking the wood easier, the porch stays a lot cleaner looking and organized. A huge bonus is I can keep more than a few days worth of wood close without venturing out in nasty weather.  I’m getting the main wood pile stack sort of finished up.  Dad sort of dumped some of the elm when I could not keep up with stacking it. I don’t blame him as cutting and splitting the wood was a lot of work and he needed to get rid of the wood in his trailer and truck bed.  So I’m using my little garden cart to haul the wood that is not stacked up to the porch and the wood rack.  I have almost enough room now that I can finish stacking that last bit of dumped wood properly.

Impressions of burning the elm so far compared to the fruit woods I used last year.  Elm seems a bit “dirtier” at least looking at wood stove’s glass window,  I need to clean it more often compared to the fruit woods. I do have a lot of ash but that is not such a bad thing if I can make a leaching barrel for lye to make soap. It seems that the elm last longer than the fruit woods for a long slow burn. I put a couple of smaller logs on last night and I still had warm coals to start the morning fire after nine hours. Using elm seems to be easier for me to maintain a more normal temp. in the house compared to last year. Of course that could be due to fact I have more experience on how to load the wood stove rather than the wood itself.  As far as the smell of elm burning it seems fairly neutral to me. I would not use it for smoking meats,  then again I would not use pine or fir to smoke food so I thing that complaint is sort of a wash. Save your good hardwoods for smoking meats and burn that elm to heat your home if you can get it cut and split for a reasonable price.

It has been a warm and dry fall so far in the Treasure Valley but the first frost warning happened last night and it will get cool and rainy this weekend. Time to finish up the harvest of vegetables and start getting them processed. I’m going to dehydrate the tomato skins and celery this year.  Thank you Sci-Fi Chick for sharing that knowledge! I will ask my sister to stop by on Thursday and have a day of getting as much of the tomatoes picked as we can get and then I can finish up Saturday whatever is leftover. My sister absolutely loves Fried Green Tomatoes so she will have a good harvest of those and the rest can ripen on the counter.  The grapes will be ready to pick so we will have some late fruits and I’m going to try freezing them and then make some juice, wines and vinegar this winter. I’m not a big grape jelly fan as you can tell.

Huzzah! I found the ladder I want to buy and it is on sale this week.  It’s one of those multifunction ladders so it should cover most of my needs as it is a 17 foot ladder and can fold into about an 8 foot A-frame type ladder along with making two shorter step ladders for painting and stuff around the house.  A bit more expensive than what I originally planned to spend but the extra functions and the higher 300 pound safety rating makes it a better buy.  I bought a 50 pound bag of malted barley today and will get some wheat for beer making next month. I made an Amber ale last night and it is bubbling away and I want to start a black ale and Amber lager this week if I can fit it in with all of the other projects. With the Holidays coming up I need to get busy on making my adult beverages. Paul’s grocery store has some good buys on pork and Walgreen’s has a sale on candy for Halloween I want to stock up on.

Other than that, not too much is happening. I turned the big compost pile added water and started a new pile as the big pile is getting a little hard for me to turn over. November is shaping up to be a busy month for cleaning up the yard and setting things up for next spring. Overall I have a very positive feeling for next year’s experiments for the yard and garden.  While the busted water main threw a big monkey wrench in my plans for 2014.  I ‘m sort of hoping the house is running out of things to break and surprise me.  I think the last major thing I need to do for the house is install a new roof.  While replacing a roof is not cheap I think it is doable in 2015 if things stay somewhat normal. By then I will have paid off the wood stove and built up my solar panel/AGM battery inventory so I can start saving on electric costs.  Prepping is just like eating an elephant, just one bite at a time!

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4 Responses to Loading wood on the front porch, dodged a frost and shopping lists

  1. I always found Elm burned shorter than Oak but also produced more flame so kinda a trade off. Elm leaves more ash behind and if nt properly dried can be dirtier though. Of course Oak when not dried properly hardly burns at all. I could see using a really dry Elm as a base to get some coals going and then tossing a fragrant hardwood like Apple on top for smoking though.

    • Jamie says:

      Pioneer: I think you are correct about the elm. I’m still learning and going off my experience and not just what “people say” …

      I have to say I’m very impressed with the coal bed I get from elm. I have not burned oak so I don’t have much of a comparison except with the fruit woods of apple and cherry.

  2. Emily Summer says:

    Have you ever made lye from wood ashes? As a soapmaker, I have read up on it, but never done it. Nothing like the good feeling of wood on the porch in a blizzard at 20 below.. Ask me how I know this,.

  3. Jamie says:

    Emily: I have a lot of theory and “book” learning but very little in the way of practical experience making lye. But I figure if your average medieval serf can make make lye and soap with no modern technology. I can do the same with a little trial and error.

    The Valley can hit -20 and -30 below for a few weeks so staying stocked up on wood is a priority. Two big items about the wood stove is saving me a lot of money on my electric bill and the heat just feels better to me.

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