As I have mentioned previously, we rely on wood heat to keep our house warm in the winter. Yes, we have a gas furnace but that has a price. The wood heat is free….mostly. Oh, there’s your labor involved and the wood requires a lot of handling. A lot.
Southern Indiana is hilly with plenty of hardwood forests. People often selectively timber their property. That is when individual trees are cut. The logger only takes the primary eight foot log (sometimes more than one per tree). He leaves the limbs and tops for the landowner. This is where our firewood mostly comes from. Saturday mornings are spent in the woods, cutting, dragging, chopping, splitting, moving the wood from one place to another. A lot of handling.
Last winter my husband bought some “sticks” from the neighboring logger. The wood was good but maybe it was twisted, the wrong type, whatever. They delivered it and it’s been sitting there awaiting attention. Unfortunately, as mentioned in an earlier blog, he had a serious health issue this year and can’t handle the wood as he was used to. Which led to plenty of fretting on his part.
So, as I was reading the paper a couple of weeks ago, I saw an article about the local seminary who was looking for families who heat with wood for their annual Project Warm. This is where the seminarians acquire wood from people who donate it off their property, maybe previously timbered, chop and deliver it to families in need. So I suggested to my husband that he give them a call and explain the situation. That he had the wood but just needed some help processing it.
After a few phone calls, they agreed that this would be a relatively easy project for them and came out this week. Wow, what a beehive of activity!
Since the guys were experienced in the process, they were able to go right to work. We have a log splitter and all the logs were staged in one area. They just had to saw the logs into the right stove lengths, then split them. Some used the splitter but most of the young men chopped the wood by hand with mauls. It was like a well-oiled machine. Some were sawyers cutting the wood, some were splitting the wood with mauls and one operated the machine splitter. It is easy to spot someone who has been swinging a maul for years as there is a certain rhythm to it. It’s not a chopping motion. And this was hard wood, almost all hickory, one of the heaviest and densest woods, but which provides the most warmth. At least two of the young men grew up on farms in New England where they were accustomed to handling wood for home heating.
The guys turned those logs into piles of wood ready to keep us toasty this winter.
Of course, we fed them as is our custom in this part of the world. Trays of homemade Italian pizza, pumpkin spice muffins, fruit, snacks and drinks. It was a pleasant afternoon for us as I hope it was for them. We so enjoyed visiting with these young men and learning more about their backgrounds and fellowship. What a wonderful day. The guys are from St. Meinrad Seminary, right down the road from us. Project Warm has been one of their community missions for over forty years. Although we just learned of the program this year, I can’t tell you how much we appreciated the help.
Learn more about Project Warm here. https://www.saintmeinrad.org/news?story=13467