Lately I've been doing a lot with wood. Cutting trees, chopping wood, stacking wood, burning wood. If you have followed previous posts, you know that we installed an EPA rated wood burning furnace last autumn. It has been great! Our home feels warmer, and I estimate that we have saved about $1300 on the propane that we did not need to use this winter. After including the federal tax break, I believe this furnace will pay for itself in two winters of use. With the exception of one pickup truck load of wood that we recently purchased (and Elizabeth got to help with), all of the wood we've burned we have personally harvested locally from dead trees.
The past month, I've been cutting a few trees that are starting to die, or are increasingly blocking sunlight into our small clearing where our gardens are located. The cool thing is that we will be using the larger sections to split and burn in future winters. The smaller diameter limbs will be serving to produce a variety of mushrooms - something I've been talking about trying for several years. Cutting, splitting, hauling, and stacking wood is something I've done since I was a little kid - and now my kids can get a little of that "split-rail value" experience...they are not amused. There is just something great about the smell of newly split wood, the differences between species, the good feeling of the ache in your muscles knowing you are able to heat your home without the gas man next year.
I'll be posting in the future about the mushroom production....but next up we will be building some new garden beds with cold frames, and getting ready for honey bees. We are also trying our hand at sprouting our own veges....starting with sweet and hot pepper plants. Oh, and we just doubled our chicken flock with five new hens. Lots of exciting projects and photos coming up!