Thursday, January 15, 2009


Well, the big news for most of the country is it's cold! The current temperature in Rhinelander is -11°F. We had -13°F here in Sugar Camp about an hour ago. They're expecting -26°F with windchills between -35 and -45. This has been what was expected all this past week though I don't know if we actually reached the forecasted lows. It didn't feel like it when I was out working in it all week. Of course this is nothing compared to Alaska where I heard it got down to -80°F without windchills! Wow!

With my dad laid up I've been doing his job of filling the out door wood boiler. It heats both my parents house and ours. We fill it twice a day. Roughly every 12 hrs or so. Even as cold as it was last night after 13 hrs it still had unspent wood in it. I've been burning hard wood most of the week to get a good bed of coals for this cold snap we're having. It takes about a wheel barrel load of wood per filling. The unit has a very large fire box and will take logs over 3 feet long.

I really like the idea of heating with wood though we don't have alot of hard wood on our land. We have alot of young aspen trees since we had the placed logged off more than 15 years ago. They took all the mature birch and aspen off our 2nd forty. Something I've regretted ever since.

We got around $4000 for it back then. Soon both the money and the trees were gone. Ever since, I've thought of all the things I could have done with all those logs. Both types would have made suitable fire wood if nothing else. So when we were approached by a logger shortly after we moved here who wanted to log off our back 40 I flat refused him without even batting an eye. Even though the trees back there are hard to access because of a swamp there's alot of mature timber just waiting for us to utilize whenever we want.

I'd rather have the trees than the money especially for how little you get for them. To me the value of a mature tree that's 30, 40 feet high or more and that's a couple feet in diameter is far greater than what any logger will give you for it. Just for utility purposes alone. Someday I'd like to have a saw mill. But, even without one there is so much you can do with a good log. One of the first things we built here was a three sided pole shelter for horses. The only cost was in the fasteners, metal for the roof and a load of slab wood we bought from a saw mill which we sided it with. If I recall it cost less than $200 to build it. I'd be willing to bet it would have cost 10 times that if we would have bought all the wood.

So think twice before you give in to that smooth talking gentleman who'd clear out that wood lot for you.

I like wood and I like trees. I've probably mentioned that a dozen times on this blog. When the kids were little and before we moved to WI, we took a 2 week family vacation out west. Our goal was to make it to Yellow Stone. But, our 15 passenger Ford van was running hot and it seemed to be getting hotter the higher we went. Once we got to Mt. Rushmore we decided to not proceed any further since Yellow Stone was something like twice as high if I remember correctly. I sure didn't want to get stranded out there with my young family. So we decided to meander back to WI and finish out our vacation at the farm.

After all that driving through miles and miles and miles of open land and we arrived once again in the north woods I said to Kelli, "I really like trees". Now, it was a fantastic experience being out under all that big sky and it was really beautiful but, if I had to chose between open prairie and woods well, I'd have to chose the woods every time.
Trees are an incredibly versatile thing on this earth that God created. You can build your home and heat your home with the same basic raw material. And they're completely renewable.
Until Next Time


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said! Underneath the trees one gets the feeling of being embraced or blanketed close to the bosom of God's earth. (I hope that doesn't set off the Google index alarms.)

7:41 AM  
Blogger Lynn Bartlett said...

Hi Russ,
A couple of years ago a pulp wood company out of northern MN came into the Turtle Mtns and talked the landowners into letting them cut down their trees. Thankfully, Jim said no to them. We heard about 50% of the trees were taken, and it sure looks terrible. Steve S. could tell you there was some benefit to having it done, but the outfit left a huge mess, and it's so sad to see the open areas where there once were woods. Before we bought our land someone came in without permission and cut a lot of the scrub oaks, so we mostly have aspen here now. I guess there used to be a lot of pines, but they burned when a major fire took out most of them. We do have some diamond willow, and the boys hope to do something with that some day.

I'm thankful to say we are out of the icebox for the time being, as it even got above zero today! Hope your Dad continues to do well.

10:11 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Thanks, yes you have to watch what you say, you never know which words they'll pick up on. :)


Hi Lynn,
The loggers who did ours made a mess too. It also happened to be a wet spell and they left very deep ruts, some as deep as a couple feet.

Yes I know there is some benefit to having it cut. And I don't have anything against honest logging people, they provide a valuable service. But, my personal preference is to just manage it ourselves. To me the trees are of way more value than what the companies will pay.

We too are above zero during the day. I think we had 9 above today. That was 40 degrees warmer than yesterday morning.

My dad is doing great. However he has some numbness in his left hand. They think it is a pinched nerve in his spine from when they spread open his ribs.

8:06 PM  

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