Winter means it’s time for the wood stove, and every season the dogs remind us of how much they enjoy it. We heat the house entirely with the wood stove — in fact, we designed the house with the whole idea of heating it with a single wood stove, so it’s a simple, open floor plan where every room can get heat from the stove. At some point during the day, there’s almost always a dog or group of dogs laying in front of it. In the photo above, that’s blind Honey (also known as the “Hun Bun”) soaking in the warmth.
Here’s a recent group shot, with three-legged Tanner on the left, Cammie looking at the camera, blind Bugsy with his head down, and then stretched out in front of the stove is one of our diabetics, Daisy:
It’s always fluid, with dogs coming and going from the stove, singly or in varying size groups. Sometimes they’ll hang out for several minutes, sometimes for 30 minutes or more.
Here’s our cancer patient, Jake, on a mid-December evening:
Yes, his tongue is always sticking out like that! So adorable.
And just last week, another group shot. That’s Sunny on the left closest to the stove (he has a crippled right front foot), then Daisy, Bugsy in the middle, Tanner on the right, and one of our recent arrivals, elderly little Angel (now known to all here as “Aunt Maude”) in the back.
All the wood we use comes from our own land. Here’s a photo I took a few weeks ago after cutting up several wind-fall trees on one of our woodlots:
I used our log loader (a trailer designed for hauling logs) to transport them down the road to our log yard, which is where I took this photo last week:
That’s my logging tractor that makes all this possible. Nearly all the trees in that pile are either wind-fall (blown over in windstorms) or dying/diseased trees. The storm over Christmas knocked down several more trees, so I will be spending the next couple of weeks cutting, delimbing, and winching them out with the tractor, then bringing them over to the log yard. That pile will be substantially larger before I’m done.
Starting in the spring, I’ll be cutting the logs into rounds, then splitting and finally stacking the wood in the shed. By late summer there will be almost no logs left in that pile, and then a new season begins.
I’m always “one winter ahead” on my firewood … in other words, I go into each winter with two winter’s worth of firewood in the shed, so next year’s wood is already cut and stacked. That way I’m under no pressure to get the firewood dried in time for the upcoming season, because it was done the previous year. And if we have an unusually harsh and cold winter and burn more wood than expected, there’s always plenty extra in the shed.
Of course, the dogs don’t care about any of the work and effort that goes into this. All they know is that come winter, we fire up the wood stove and they start gathering around!