We use a great deal of wood around this place. We heat our house with wood. The barn too. And the cabin for the crew when they arrive in spring. We boil our sap with wood. We have a wood fired sauna. That‚Äôs 7 cords in an average year just here at the global headquarters. The schooner uses wood too. The heating system is wood fired. And then there is ‚ÄúDiamond.‚Äù That‚Äôs the 100 year old Glenwood K cook stove that eats 4.5 cords a summer while Mary, the cook, turns out some of the best food going. I have a few pounds of testimonial. But that is a whole story in itself. The cook stove also heats all the domestic hot water for cleaning and showers.
So this past week we have been processing wood. A Zen affair really, with a modern day hydraulic twist. I can see Thoreau spinning in his grave. If you haven‚Äôt read ‚ÄúHenry Hikes to Fitchburg‚Äù you really should. We have read it to our kids but that doesn‚Äôt stop us from using modern technology in the course of making these traditional sailing vacations happen. Splitting 4 cords of wood takes more than a few hours and when you see how small we make it for ‚ÄúDiamond‚Äù you will understand why. Our neighbor Ed delivers most of our wood but we try to thin our own woods a little each year as well. We take Ed‚Äôs regular split and split it again (and sometimes again) to get it down to the right size so that Mary can control the heat. We split a year ahead so right now we are working on 2008. The great news here is that the wood is a sustainable local resource, its organic, and we find great comfort in knowing that we have locked in our heating costs for 2008 already. The hydraulic part is of course powered by gas but that allows us to split the larger tougher pieces with knots and twisting grain that we might not be able to use other wise. With the four way splitting head we can do this twice as fast. In all, processing the wood might only require 2 gallons of gas with a tremendous increase in time efficiency. I guess my next venture is to make a wood fired steam splitter.
Gale warnings for the coastal waters here in the wake of a departing low. Hang on Toto!