Better Farm's Wood-Cutting Crew

We've expounded in the past on all the perks of using wood to heat your home. Cheat sheet:
  • 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. 
In the last three years, we've gone from amateurish to semi-experienced to almost-expert on wood-preparedness for the season. This fall, we jumped into overdrive. First, we organized wood left over from last year that is already perfectly seasoned. Next, we bought 8 cords of local wood. Then, we hit the property to take down standing dead trees, cut up the logs, and split and stack what we had. Here's a pictorial tour of the wood-workers in action:

In addition to all the standing-dead we've taken down, we're in the process of replenishing. In the last year, we planted more than 100 black walnut trees, 25 white spruces, two peach trees, and a weeping willow—and we're just starting! The boys cut a nice pathway out back the other day, which will be used for additional milling and planting (and eventual hiking trails... more about that later!). Stay tuned for more woodsy lore!

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.