Category Archives: How-To

Taking a Break on a Snowy Day…By Splitting Firewood

Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 by Scott

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     So life on the farm changes in accordance to the weather, which I’m sure you agree, is quite a bit, quite often. So being late April, it’s time to prepare for planting. However, waking up to snow, most of those preparations must wait! So what did we do? Got our corn seed delivered, as scheduled, but since we couldn’t get on the snow-covered land…we went with our ever present plan B: Firewood. 

 

    In order to keep our forest floor clean of large debris, it’s essential we remove any dead trees that are prone to fall during a storm. On top of that, there is bound to be some wood from trees that we miss, that does end up on the ground! Other than that, the forest needs to be kept at a certain density in order to promote even and full growth of all the trees. If the seedlings grow too close together, they choke each other out, and don’t reach their full potential. By removing some trees, maintaining a certian density, it allows the ones around them to grow big and healthy. From collecting all of this wood, we cut it into 12” and 16” inch lengths to prepare for splitting. By splitting it into smaller pieces, piling it under shelters which have air access from the fronts and the backs, the wood can dry enough to be burnt as fuel for heating a house. The drying process with our shelters takes anywhere from 8-12 months at most, dependent upon the type of wood. With the rising oil, fuel, and natural gas prices, the demand for firewood has been increasing in recent years. Typically, customers have told us that they are relying a little more each year on wood for their fireplace in their house, in order to rely less on natural gas, offsetting their heating bills to some degree.

 

     Wood isn’t always in the best condition, however. If it’s any that we collected that was fallen down, it may have started to rot a bit, which customers don’t like. Since this still produces copious amounts of heat when dried and burnt, we cut it into four foot lengths, split it, and dry this for a year. After a year, it’s ready to use in our outdoor wood furnace. This system is something I was unaware of until my dad invested in it, and accomplishes some pretty important things for our farm.
More pictures of cutting/splitting/piling to come, along with a post about our furnace, and its’ capabilities!

A Spring Rain Is A Beautiful Thing

Posted on Monday, April 8, 2013 by Andrew

It’s raining today.

It may not make for a great day for a walk, or even that pleasant for driving – but a nice spring rain is a beautiful thing for this farmer.

Good thing I put my rain gauge out yesterday.

A rain gauge can be found on most farms as a way to track how much rain falls from the start of spring to the end of fall.

Mine is certainly not that technologically advanced (although you can get ones that detect the rainfall amount for you). No, this one is simply a system in which Mother Nature fills it up and I dump it out.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_20130408_172826.jpgThe amount of rainfall is determined by the lines. Any amount of rain will do, but with a spring shower like this, a nice inch, or about 25mm of rain will be much appreciated. (In this case, it looks like we have had about half a centimetre, or about three-tenths of an inch of rain)

A rain is a beautiful thing to kick start the season. A field of hay (that is being grown for feed for livestock) is just like your lawn, and needs a good rain to wash away all of winter’s dirt and spring new life into each plant.

When the spring rain is a warm one, it can also quickly warm the dirt in a field that will need to be planted over the next few of weeks with crops like oats, corn or soybeans.

By the way – if you ever come across a farmer and don’t know what to say – try “Are you getting enough rain?” That will kick start a great conversation, that all started with a rain gauge.

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Best to leave the rain gauge out in the open, to get the most accurate reading.