Wood for Winter


Last winter, several huge trees fell over our fence and power line. We were without power for a week, right through Christmas Day, along with tens of thousands of others in the state as countless trees crashed down on countless power lines under the weight of heavy snow.

This photo shows some of those trees on our hillside a week or two after the storm.
Those trees are a little harder to spot now, but they’re still up there.

And down here.

As the downed trees are cut into logs and split, winter supplies winter.

Much of the wood is still up the hill. It’s cut into logs right there on the hillside.

Eventually everything, logs and branches for kindling alike, has to be tossed over the fence. You can see the fence still shows the damage from the storm. The wire was nailed back up but it remains bent, scarred by winter.

The wood will be split and stacked to continue drying.

In this summer’s searing, non-stop heat, it’s hard to remember freezing temperatures. We had just gotten our wood stove last year, and hadn’t had a chance to prepare over the summer for winter’s fires. Each winter that we live here, we become better and better prepared in more and more ways.

I remember when preparing for winter meant shopping post-Christmas sales to get next year’s wrapping paper for cheap.

I remember when we used to visit West Virginia in the summer and Georgia would send me home with some of her home-canned goodies and I would save the jars like they were treasures. I mean, where could you even buy canning jars anymore? Surely they were antiques! Who even knew how to can anyway? Georgia only knew how because she was old.

I remember when I didn’t know how to start a fire in a wood stove.

Oh, wait, that wasn’t even that long ago.

It’s hot outside now, but I know that it won’t be long before I’ll be putting the first crisp stack of that oak from our hillside into the wood stove and lighting it up. We’ll need a good ten truckloads to be ready.

It’s summer, but on the farm, we have winter on our minds.


  1. Jennifer Robin says:

    Boy, do I ever know just what you mean! I just had my chimneys swept and checked for the year! Winter is never far from mind, even mid-summer! Fortunately, our 42 acres of woods yields all the firewood we need (and then some!)

  2. Nancy in Iowa says:

    Too bad tinfoil doesn’t grow on trees!!!

  3. Mia says:

    a lot of people down there, like my dad, have free natural gas – he turns the heat on all the darn time just cuz it’s free 🙂 He’s even got a natural gas line to his tree stand – he says “a feller might as well be comfortable, right?” He’s got a point there 🙂 But the free wood is good too.. just a LOT of work 🙂

  4. Leah says:

    Good morning. Winter is just weeks away…look how fast a week can fly by! You really do have to plan ahead when you live in the hills of WV. :yes:

  5. Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings says:

    We are always thinking of winter too. How to get the house stained and ready. How to have enough wood for winter. Although I don’t have a wood stove, we do have a fireplace which has a special venting system to help the heat pump. I think your post shows what we need to do to keep warm.~~Dee

  6. Rhonda says:

    I’m dreaming of winter too, as it’s going to be 105 today and not a break in site.

  7. Sue Nugent says:

    :snuggle: Our area, too, had millions of downed trees, but ours was from the worst ice storm in decades.If anyone needed firewood, they had lots of opportunities to get all they needed.We use wood, also, as our primary heat.Pop is older now,but he uses that job to help keep him in shape.

  8. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Are you in KY Sue?? Sounds like the storm we had a couple years back.

    We too are always preparing for winter. We’re out in the middle of no where and get snowed in pretty easily. The county actually planned to pave our road this year. They grated it down to dirt from chip and seal. Got the underlay of tiny gravel chips down then their machine broke down. This winter will be really interesting if all we have is chipped rock and dirt to drive on so we’re stocking up well and getting the 500 gal. propane tanked filled as our back up heat.

    It’s supposed to be 100 degrees here today…makes me wish for a few days of winter!

  9. Bev says:

    Jennifer is right, as a Firemen’s wife make sure you clean your wood stove’s chimney. Especially because you have a bend in your chimney. They make steel chimney brushes for just your size pipe. Sometimes it needs to be cleaned half way through the winter, again. A good clue is if it smokes when you open the door and does not draft well. Be safe. Wood heats you up twice. Working in the Summer heat and again keeping us warm on those cold winter days. A labor of love.

  10. IowaCowgirl says:

    Yes, I’ve got winter on the brain…we have to get the harvest done (well, the crops aren’t quite ready yet!- but the combine and wagons will all have to be ready to roll), and our need for the wood supply is weighing on me. We have a “family bonding time” over Labor Day weekend and usually cut 8 pickup loads of wood. Today it’s muggy and going to be about 95 so it is hard to imagine cold!

  11. debrablittle says:

    I can’t wait for the crispness of autumn and even the cold of winter (although is does not really cold in Charlotte NC). I live in the city but long for the country life. Maybe one day!

  12. Rose C. says:

    It is never to early to get ready for the next season. You will enjoy that wood all winter long.

  13. Sheryl - (Runningtrails) says:

    Me too! Time to start cutting and stacking! we are having our chain saw serviced and repaired right now but when its ready, we’ll be at it again! Its really a never ending battle. We only stop the wood working long enough to plant in the spring.

    It sure takes a LOT of wood to keep us warm all winter long. We have oil heat too, but prefer to use our own free wood, of course. Sometimes we even BUY wood.

  14. Estella says:

    My husband just finished putting in our winter wood. It is cut, split, stacked and drying.

  15. B. Ruth says:

    You won’t have to worry about winter if you “stroke out” cutting firewood in this heat…LOL
    Wait until “there’s a nip in the air”…to start cutting, hauling and stacking….that wood will continue to dry laying there…
    that way everyone will be home and you can have a “weiner roast” and have a “wood shed fillin”…..more fun that way…

  16. WKF says:

    Trees are curing in our yard right now. We don’t have winter like y’all do, but I despise paying the power company!! :hissyfit:

  17. Valerie says:

    We’re getting ready, too. Last year we installed an outside wood boiler last year, and used about 5 cords of wood. We’ve already brought home about 2 cords, plus 1 leftover from last year. Even in the sweltering heat, we split, haul and stack wood from trees we felled last year. Feels good to know we’re providing ourselves with our heat for winter. And we live in Minnesota,where we get down to about -40. Last year was warmer here, -26.

  18. rmsrosedawson says:

    Valerie, what kind of outdoor boiler did you get? I’ve been researching them and would like any information you would be willing to share.

  19. Susan says:

    I didn’t know anything about wood stoves or wood for that matter until I moved to Largent WV 19 yrs ago. Now, even though the cutting, splitting, and stacking is tiring I wouldn’t want to heat any other way. I adore the smell of good wood burning in a stove. We don’t have an airtight stove — ours was made by an old hunter who traded it to us for a dozen squirrels. It takes a few guys to lift it.

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