About Me

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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Firewood Preparing for Winter and the Wood burning stove

We have a wood burning stove that is our primary heat source for our little house. We used our heater once last year and it was because we were going to be gone for a couple days and did not want our water pipes to freeze. Other than that, the wood stove is slowly burning throughout the day and night. The kids love to play outside and come and warm up by the fire and I particularly like to just hangout by the fire! My favorite winter time activity is snuggling up by the fire with a hot cup of tea and watching the snow fall in the front yard...ahhh brings warmth to my heart just thinking about it :) I do not function well in a cold house and our furnace would hate me (as well as the bank account) if I expected the furnace to keep it to the desired temperature that this wood stove can bring! There are many benefits to a wood stove (radiant heat, cooking, warm even in a power outage, etc) and I highly recommend anyone to install one in your house!! (more about that later!)

So it is almost October and I am beginning to dread the monthly trips to pick up firewood when the weather gets cold. Its can get expensive and it is NOT fun to be loading firewood in and out of a truck when it is 10 degrees outside...you loose feeling in your fingers very fast!! Our plan was to stock up on firewood during the summer that was free firewood we could pick up, cut and split ourselves, but we had so many things going on this summer that we never got to the firewood. I thought there had to be a way to get firewood cheaper than paying $110 per rick (we used about 5 ricks last year). I posted an add on craigslist that "I am trying to prepare for winter early this year and need several cords of hardwood - seasoned, cut, split, delivered and stacked". I was so surprised how many people replied and how competitive they were for the business. I ended up getting 2 cords (4 ricks) for $240...which is $60 per rick (as compared to the regular $110 per rick). I am so excited for the savings as well as not having to go pick it up and stack it ourselves!! We also had an offer for 1 and a half ricks for free. I think $240 for an entire winter of heat is a good deal! That sure beats running the furnace :)

So the moral of the story, if you burn firewood during the winter...start buying now!

  • Look for local deals or post an add on craigslist.

  • Be very specific of what you want and what you expect!

    • Ask for a picture of the exact firewood you will be getting or ask if you can come see it prior to delivery (the last thing you want is a huge amount of the wrong stuff!!).

    • Also be specific if you want it delivered and stacked, you don't want them raising the price once they get to your house!!

  • Make sure they are a reputable business and not a random person who knows someone who might know something about trees and have some lumber - you will probably end up with a terrible quality product! Often times landscapers collect all the hardwood that they cut down during the season and are willing to make you a deal!

  • Look for FREE hardwoods. Most of the time you will have to pick up, cut and split this wood...but if you have the time and supplies then this is by FAR the best deal!! Most of the time this wood is not seasoned though (a tree was just cut down or fell down and the owner needs it off their property) and you will need seasoned firewood in order for it to burn. BUT if you stock up early in the year then the firewood will have plenty of time to season (loose some moisture so it will burn!)

  • Have a place ready for the firewood to go. Bryan set up posts 8 feet apart to help keep the wood neatly stacked throughout the season. (1 "Rick" is a single stack that is 8 feet wide by 4 feet high. And 1 "Cord" is 2 "Ricks"). Make sure the wood can be stacked somewhat conveniently located to the house...you don't want to be hauling firewood through the snow too far :) We have the majority of the wood stacked in the yard and then on a random nice day we will stock up the pile at the back door.

  • Kindling will also be important, you need a way to get your fire started! Try to find free scrap lumber you can cut and split as well as stock up on newspapers (only black and white pages, not the colored pages - they will increase build up in your chimney). 
  • Last but not least, you will need a flame! Get matches, fire starters, lighters, or a hand held torch (which is my favorite!).


  1. Wood burning stove is an alternative both to an open fireplace and the use of central heating.Wood Burning Stoves are an extremely efficient way of heating your home.wood burning stoves are not just a heat source, but also an attractive and use full piece of furniture that creates a feeling of warmth and coziness with the living flames.A wood burning stove gives off a friendly orange glow which lights up the entire room. It feels warm and personal which is why animals love sitting in front of them, basking in the warmth.

  2. Thank you Robot for your comment! That is all very true. We love that the wood stove is a heat source and not just an aesthetic flame in the back of a fireplace that will loose most of its heat up the chimney. Long after the flame has died out in the wood stove, it will still radiate heat. They are even making soap stone wood stoves that are supposed to retain heat exceptionally longer than these metal stoves...they are alot pricer though.

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  4. It’s that time of the year again where we stock pile firewood and clean up the wood burners for the winters! Great post. Felt good to read it.