Over the last year we have harvested a huge amount of wood while clearing downed trees on our land. We've been dumping the collection near the top of our driveway—after eight months of off-and-on work, the pile has become something of a mountain. For the most part we've ignored it's looming presence, busy with other projects. Now, with construction complete for the year, it's finally time to start dealing with it.
Today, Charlie and I went in together on a log splitter rental. I'd never used one until this morning—it was, as I imagined it would be, really easy to operate. It's basically nothing more than a hydraulic ram that smashes hunks of wood into a sharpened piece of metal.
We got to work at Charlies place around 9AM, cleaning up some trees he cleared earlier this summer. It took us about two hours to finish his pile. I think we split at least one cord, but it hasn't been stacked yet, and I have zero experience doing this, so I really have no idea. Whatever the case, the machine made quick work of everything we threw in it.
After a break for lunch, Charlie came over and we started tackling the mountain of wood by our driveway. After two hours of non-stop splitting, Tara got back from another draft horse ride and took Charlie's place. Bidding farewell to our neighbor, we spent another five hours hurling wood into the machine.
We didn't stop until nightfall, and we barely made a dent. I'd be surprised if we finished 1/10th of the pile. By the time we switched off the howling wood destroyer, both of us were on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion.
In the long term, I'd really like to split our wood by hand. Having exhaust fumes belched into my face by a piece of roaring machinery for ten hours doesn't exactly match my vision of living off the land. Even so, I'm glad we rented the splitter—it would take years to finish what we've collected so far, and most of it would rot long before we got to stacking and covering it.