Some people may wonder why I would cut and split firewood in the middle of winter. The leaves are off the trees and the weather is cool. What better time to cut some small oak trees, split them and put the firewood up.
I do not have a fireplace. I hope to have one in a few years, but that is in the future. So the firewood is used for cooking, and for outdoor activities here on the farm. It is nice to sit outside in the cool weather and enjoy a fire with friends and family, or just my wife and I.
Here on the farm there are a number of small oak trees that are growing at an angle. I say small, but they are at least six – eight inches in diameter. The trees grow at an angle because the small trees are shaded by larger trees. So the small tree grow at an angle to reach sunlight. They will never be a nice straight mature tree. The best thing to do is to cut them down, split the wood, and use the wood for cooking. Thinning the small trees will help the mature trees grow better.
Early spring will be consumed with gardening, hiking, and hopefully fishing. Rather than taking time away from those activities, let’s cut the firewood while nothing else is going on here at the farm.
Also, cutting the trees are part of fencing in a few acres for livestock. Some of the trees are in the way of the fence-line. Rather than cutting them down and burning the trees, I want to split the wood and use it for cooking. My aunt and uncle have a nice fireplace, so some of the wood will be going to them. Hopefully, very little will go to waste.
Another thing, cutting the wood early allows it to dry all year. This way the wood has almost a full 12 months to dry before being used. Cutting the wood in the summer means it only has a few months to dry.
I use to split firewood with a hammer, wedge and splitting maul. Not anymore. A tractor mounted log splitter was bought for the farm in 2016. What use to take hours to do, now takes a fraction of the time.
The log splitter works with a hydraulic pump that is mounted to the Power Take OFF (PTO) of the tractor. The PTO is a spline that sticks out from the tractor transmission. Engage the transmission to turn the PTO on. From there, it is a matter of moving a lever back and forth to operate the log splitter ram.
When I got the log splitter it needed to hydraulic hoses replaced, which is no big deal. There is a place here in Jasper, Texas that can make make hydraulic hoses while you wait. I took the old hoses off, brought them to the store, and they made some new ones in a matter of minutes.
There is an old fence line here on the farm that I would love to plant some fruit trees on. However, the fence line is overgrown with oak and sweet gum trees. Sweet gum is not good for fireplaces as the wood pops. When it pops, pieces of wood are sometimes thrown from the fireplace.
A few miles from where I live is a family who uses wood burning stoves to heat their home. Since they are always looking for firewood, it would be a win-win situation if they would come over and help cut and split the wood. I would get some help, and they would get free wood. I would probably split the wood with them 50/50. They help cut and split the wood, and in return, they get half and I get half. I think that would be fair.