Woodpile Envy

Adventure on the edge of the wilderness in Montana can take on many forms…


My definition of woodpile envy: when an individual has a preoccupation of observing other peoples woodpiles as to the size, quantity, and quality of their logs.


This certainly applies to me as I’ve been looking at woodpiles for years due to my curiosity about heating one’s home with wood. I am not talking about adding a log to the fireplace, but exclusively heating your house with a wood stove instead of natural gas or another method.

Now that we’ve moved out of town and have a wood stove, wood has taken on a whole new aspect. Logs mean fuel to heat the house and I‘m learning what‘s involved with obtaining wood for the stove. I’ve come to use terms such as bucking and splitting and have found out that cutting wood is not the same as splitting wood. Cutting requires a saw and splitting uses a maul.


So far, we’ve used logs that are lying around the property. We buck the longs into lengths that fit our stove and split them when we want logs that catch fire easily. Hopefully, we can make it through our first winter in the woods without having to buy any wood or turn on the furnace. This would give us a sense of accomplishment, more self-sufficiency, and also save on the heating bill.


I really like our wood stove. It’s a Blaze King and is quite efficient. It takes a large load of logs and burns throughout the night keeping the house comfortably warm without having to add more logs in the middle of the night. (I’ll let you in on my ignorance and say that before I became familiar with wood stoves, I thought you could also use them for cooking; you can, but that’s a totally different type of wood stove from the one you use to heat your home.)


My family and I have been bucking logs on the weekend trying to beat the arrival of old man winter. Once he comes and the weather gets cold and the snow sticks around until spring, it won’t be so easy to go out and gather wood. At the least, it won’t be as pleasant.


It’s nice to have able bodied kids around that you can put to work, and Mallory and Eileen have been doing the bulk of it under the watchful eye of their father who is experienced using chain saws (they are just learning).


David stands by the truck that holds a load of logs that have been cut by Mallory and Eileen.


I don’t have a problem with my girls getting dirty or pushing their physical limits. In fact, I think carrying logs will improve their strength and give them additional confidence in knowing that they can excel at anything they set their minds to.


Eileen smiles for the camera as she and her sister find logs to buck.


My granny used to say, “hard work never killed anybody” and she lived to be 89. Also, a day of physical labor helps a body sleep well.


Mallory puts a log on the truck


I haven’t done much, but have fun. Although, I must confess that bucking logs is not as much fun as pressure washing the driveway.



Our tiny woodpile is growing ever so slowly and hopefully one day it will generate some woodpile envy of its own.


Our humble woodpile


Everywhere you look, life’s an adventure!




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