Sunday, March 5, 2017

Thoughts on Sustainability

This first week of March begins the transition to spring and the last quarter of winter heating. Now there is room for stacking new chunks of wood in our wood crib. It's time to replace the six cords of wood we'll burn for cooking and heating this season. By May we should have filled the crib for a total of 13 cords so next season we can burn wood collected during Spring 2015, letting this year's wood dry for two years.

Wall of 2015 Wood Opposite Room for Stacking 2017 Wood
Fresh 2017 Wood Being Stacked Opposite Wall Above
For me, collecting wood is a welcome aerobic activity. I cut up dead trees and fallen limbs within a quarter mile using a hand saw or battery operated chain saw. They are both quiet and easy to carry. I cut trees and limbs into pieces that are readily carried over my shoulder and make 15 to 20 trips per day to our garage that houses our wood crib. That way I am able to log over 10,000 steps a day that helps get me in shape (and shed winter weight) for planting chores. This year I'll be able to collect about two cords of wood this way before carting the rest from our neighbor's woods more than a quarter mile away. 

I have more than two cords of wood waiting at our neighbor's and will use our electric tractor to pull many wagons full home. I'm still using grid electric power to charge its battery but I'm working on charging circuits that will allow solar panels and a pedal powered generator to charge them directly. Maybe next year I'll be able to power both the tractor and a chain saw with batteries charged sustainably. I do now use a gasoline powered chainsaw for large trees and logs, but prefer using muscle power for limbs and smaller trees. Arm-powered loppers quickly cut anything smaller than a wrist.

Cherry Logs Waiting to Be Cut in Half, Split and Stacked, with the Stove Wood Cart
Our Stove Wood Cart that Carries Enough Wood for a Typical Heating Day

A Single Day's Supply of Wood Cut in Easy-to-carry Length
The Source of All Our Heat and Fall, Winter, and Spring Cooking, Maple Syrup (7 Pots Boiling Away Above), and Plant Germinating (The Four Blocks of Onion Sets on Top)

Eighteen Quarts of 2017 Maple Syrup from Boiling Away 180 Gallons of Sap
It takes time to realize how best to reduce dependence on using fossil fuel based energy. All its forms are so easy to burn and they greatly reduce human effort needed to perform most tasks. But, to me, it doesn't make sense to drive to a gym, fire up a treadmill or an elliptical in order to exercise. It's much more fun to be outdoors, listen to flocks of geese, woodpecker songs and spring peepers serenade spring, or late winter. This February, we've had brilliant sunny weather that's gone from 60F+ temperatures to near zero this past weekend with clear blue skies, visible in the photo above. And I enjoy all of this without leaving home!