The Lumberjacks of Better Farm

Kip McNeill tears into a dead, dried out tree with his chainsaw.
It's wood season in the North Country; and that means the hum of chainsaws, the swinging of mauls and axes, the dragging of logs, the wheelbarrowing of sticks, and the stacking (and stacking, and stacking) of trimmed-up pieces ripe for the woodstove.

We took advantage of having a full house over the weekend by spending part of Saturday afternoon making a big dent in our efforts to cut down the standing-dead trees on the property, trim them up, and get them over to our wood piles. Big thanks to Kip McNeill, Tyler Howe, and Mike Brown for their hard work!

Fast facts about the benefits of heating with wood:
  • Wood-burning stoves are better in environmental terms as the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is the same as that absorbed by the tree during growth.
  • Trees are a renewable resource (particularly when derived from plantations and cultivated woodland; or in our case, when you plant new trees and only cut down standing-dead ones). 
  • Wood ashes can be used very successfully in the vegetable garden (except in the area where you plan to grow potatoes). Mix the ash thoroughly with your soil. Tomatoes seem to benefit especially from soil that has been mixed with a small quantity of wood ash.
  • Nothing is cozier than sitting around inside on a frigid day in front of a toasty-warm wood stove. Nothing.


Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.