Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wood WORKing 101

DannyLee Keeping Warm in the Woodshed
Spring has finally "sprung" in Alaska!  You're looking at 50 degrees of warmth here on a bright sunny day.  Winter can be slow, however, in releasing it's icy grip on this land so we still need a fire in the woodstove at least a part of the day and through the night.  

The good news is that we don't need a big fire or a lot of wood so we're finally seeing some wood back in the woodshed. We've still got knee-deep snow on the ground so gathering wood can be quite a chore but at least it's warm enough to make it enjoyable to be outside in the sunshine.

The bad news is that it's time for the bears to wake up so being outside can be a bit more interesting than we want it to be.  Ari has been busy doing "patrols" from the time she gets outside in the morning until it gets dark.  We know she's working hard cause at night she comes in, grabs a bite to eat and whatever's left in the cat's dish and flops down on our bed to "saw" her own "logs".

While we have a nice gas-powered chainsaw to cut down dead trees, it's hard to get the thing started and to keep it going.  Add that to the unsteady footwork of mushing around in melting snow and you've got a recipe for disaster.  We like to avoid things like "disaster" so we've been doing some of our cutting with a plain ole' handsaw.  It takes a lot more effort, but what else do we have to do with our time and it's great exercise.  

The problem is that it's just too slow and we figured at our pace it was going to take us nine months to replenish our firewood for next winter and we just don't have nine months for that.  DannyLee got it in his head that he wanted an electric chainsaw that he could just plug in, turn on and run with it.  I added my own thought to that picture and saw him with extension cords wrapped every which way and back through the woods - not a pretty sight!

SO, I did a bit of research and came up with this battery-powered Black and Decker chainsaw.  It's not too big, in fact, it's almost a bit too small knowing what I know now.  This pile in the picture below is 20 minutes of cutting up logs for splitting.  

One Battery Charge of Output
What I cut is the logs that are leaning up against the wall in the top picture. We had kept these aside for the purpose of testing out the B&D. They're almost a bit too big of a job for this little guy and in the future I would opt to use the Poulon for logs this big.  It did prove itself out though and I'm sure it will work great on our smaller stuff.   

The lithium battery takes about 5 hours to fully charge (from empty) and you get about 20 minutes of cutting power.  The good news is that I can recharge it in our rig from the solar panels so it's not going to cost us extra to run it.  The bad news is it's so easy to use that the 20 minutes of cutting that pile of logs didn't even make me tired.  (And YES! I cut that entire pile by myself with DannyLee wrestling the logs onto the "horse" and holding them down for me.)

Bottom Line:  Now I've got a bit more free time to concentrate on our preparations for Pesach!  


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