Nov 23-04

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2004: November: Nov 23-04
Out behind the woodshed    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Roger Somero

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:25 am:

A wood pile, with it's sections of wood split and stacked with precision, is a thing of beauty. At least Roger Somero thought so, and I tend to agree. It symbolizes the warmth you'll enjoy in the Keweenaw if your shed is piled high and ready for the chill of the winter months to set in. Lots of back-breaking labor goes into a structure such as this and a bit of sweat added too, heating you first while cutting and stacking, then again when you 'put another log on the fire' to take out the chill of the howling winter winds. I know Toivo's been busy getting his winter supply of wood split and ready, as are many Yoopers. But all this talk about woodsheds has me wondering about that old saying, 'out behind the woodshed' and how many mischievous youngsters spent time out there?

By Jon, Ypsilanti on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:29 am:

I can't believe I may have gotten the first post..

I post here occasionally...first time I came close or got the first post..

By Kate - Ann Arbor MI on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:30 am:

ahhh the smell of a good wood fire. Everyone have a safe and Happy Holiday!

By danbury on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:31 am:

Most certainly a sight promising cozy evenings - but what trees is that? Here, it'd be most certainly beech and oak. What's the preferred fire wood UP there?

By Frances S Georgia on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:40 am:

Do you use the fire wood in a fireplace or a wood burning stove.
My Grandmother used to cook on a woodburning cook stove.

By Karen P, MN on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:43 am:

At first I thought this was Toivo's handywork.
To answer Danbury's question, from what little bark I can see it looks like pine.

By JJ MI on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:44 am:

Here here!

I help heat - lower the cost of the heating bills, by burning wood - in the metro Detroit area... Last spring I was cutting some deadfalls around the airport - and nice old gent stopped me and asked me to follow him - I did, and he proceeded to take me to his farm, and told me I could "help myself". Easy access to free firewood. I did hurt my back Sunday splitting wood, but I'll still enjoy the warmth - long after my stiff back heals... Saw a lot of the "firewood sheds" around silver city - this October, full of course...

By Gary, CO on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:00 am:

A single piece of firewood warms you several times before it ends up as ashes. First when you fell the tree, then when you buck it up to manageable lengths, then when you load it into your truck, then when you unload it at home, then when you split it, then when you stack it in the woodpile, then when you haul it into your house, and finally when you burn it in the wood stove. Oh yeah, I guess you still have to clean the ashes out of the stove and take them someplace. Burning wood for 25+ years and it finally dawned on me how much "energy" I was actually saving.

By 100% yooper on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:05 am:

They say you're firewood heats you (4) times. Once when you cut it, once when you split it, once when you stack it, and finally when you burn it. Nothing better than providing hard work heat for your family, and often your friends. I would say Maple and Oak in the stack shown.

By 100% yooper on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:06 am:

Gary said it better. Must have been typing post at the same time.

By old yoop on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:14 am:

Here in Indiana we are currently burning dried corn in our soapstone stove. built like a pellet stove up north, but corn is abundant (Cheap)down here, burns very BTUs, similar to hardwood. Very little cleanup and no creasote!
We load the auger 1-2 times a week and it provides most of our heat. Ultimately renewable crop...this is year two and we are happy!

Used to have a wood furnace in my Bark River days and this is much less work for an even and long lasting heat source.

By James - Il on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:19 am:

This picture gives me a back ache. When we lived in Eagle River we use to burn 10 to 12 full cords a year as it was the only heat we used. I don't think I could cut and split that much wood any more.

By DuneRat, Norton Shores on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:19 am:

Great shot!

Nothing like the smell of a freshly-split woodpile, second only to the warm, comforting smell that greets you when you shake the snow off your collar upon entering a wood-heated house.

While I was at da Tech one of my housemates had a landscaping business in the summer months, and we got to use his enormous dump truck to haul oak and maple we got from a logging lot somewhere down near the Range towns. We had 12 cords split and stacked in a hurry.

Karen P -- you don't want to burn too much pine, 'cause your chimney will creosote up and a chimney fire is not on the "A" list of things to have in your house. Looking at the color variations and the smoothness of the splitting in the wood on the left-hand side of the pile, I'm guessing there's quite a bit of maple in there. Look to the left of the vertical post, about a third of the way up the frame..see that lighter piece of wood sticking out with the curtain-like vertical pattern? That looks like curly maple.

By Mr. Bill on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:19 am:

We've stacked eight pallets chin high so far for next year's inventory; Better now than in black fly season. Got the Mrs. a new hydraulic splitter which sure makes that step almost fun.

Reminds me of the moral of the Grasshopper and the Ants, you can't be too well prepared for winter.

By Bob on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:23 am:

;-) shouldn't those snow shovels be at the door
to help you to get to the woodshed. ;-)

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:29 am:

I've taken a picture of my up north neighbor's woodshed similar to this. He has the boards above the pile marked with the date the wood was cut! Very organized! I would just try to remember it all, and then forget, like I do with the mystery food in my freezer.

By Victor Parisian, Houston TX on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:49 am:

Now if we could only figure out how to run the A.C. on that stuff...
Victor - still running the A.C. here in Houston.

By Doug the Troll, Wixom MI on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 12:22 pm:

Nothing better then spending some time in front of the fireplace, mezmerized by the flickering flames and embers of the fire. What a great way to spend a quiet evening (or an afternoon) relaxing.

By Becca on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 12:38 pm:

RIP, Trees.

By Roudy Mi on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 12:39 pm:

Simply said "There's a lot of heat in that handle".

By Jim in Breckenridge MI. on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 01:21 pm:

Got my buck this year. 7 point. Too bad the guy who hit it with his car didn't want it! At least it did not go to waste. "mmm" venison Good.

By R.A Michigan on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 02:13 pm:

The warms you 4 times saying I think came from the book Walden

By R.A. Mich. on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 02:17 pm:

On the floor of our woodshed we use recycled carpet it last for years and you can clean it with a rake

By Woodsman on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 03:08 pm:

"RIP, Trees"

Oh, perhaps you haven't heard, but unlike petroleum products, trees are a renewable resource!

By Stefani on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 03:28 pm:

For us Finns, it should be 5 ways to warm us. The fifth being in the sauna!

By R Somero CA on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 04:02 pm:

Does this mean I've made the big time? Thank you for using my Pop's woodpile for today's Pasty Cam shot. Dad and Mom-both 78 years old-did most of this work over the summer and fall. I helped a little when I was back there in October. It contains a lot of oak, some maple, some white birch and some yellow birch. This is just outside of Dollar Bay.

By DB-MI. on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 04:05 pm:


By Jason, Knoxville TN on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 04:17 pm:

Wow, that there is one solid winter survival kit...I chucked at all the different type of snow shovels that are stored above the wood there. It is a cool 60 degrees here in Knoxville, and as recent as Sunday, I am still mowing the lawn and going outside in the evening wearing shorts. Ready for our 1 good (2-3 inch) snowfall so I can get over the homesickness that always hits me this time of year. Stay warm to all those up north this winter!

By Little Betsy on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 04:52 pm:

We could use that stack of wood, how much$

By Therese from just below the bridge on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 05:26 pm:

That light that shines from a burning log is summer sunshine pouring out. Think of it: leaves absorb sunlight which helps drive photosynthsis which makes sugars which are converted to wood which is cut, burned and releases the sunlight's energy back into your living room.

Don't get a sunburn this winter!

By Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 06:31 pm:

That's A LOT of wood! WOW! I love fireplaces, but the problem in Georgia is the fact we don't have much occasion for one! I am, however, looking most forward to our 2 or 3 days of Winter. (Smirk).

P.S. How ironic... I don't think there's a home anywhere around our county that doesn't have a fireplace!

By Nancy Nelson, WI on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 06:37 pm:

Put some of those logs in da sauna!!

By lost in florida on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 07:08 pm:

I remember those days .

By darrell oinas/Saint Johns Michigan on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 07:26 pm:

Hey is it just me or is that first shovel got a smile on it.

By Mary Lou on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 07:58 pm:

When growing up in Lake Linden we had a fireplace and a coal/wood & electric range in the kitchen.....and they were kept going constantly in the cold months. I loved coming into the house after school to a warm fire glowing in the fireplace on a blustery afternoon. My German father said the French-Canadians especially loved wood....My mother was French-Canadian and insisted on the beautiful, new, "Monarch"-wood range in the kitchen.

By Finnlander from MN on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 09:35 pm:

The nice orderly uniformed split wood in a weather protected woodpile is an indicator of a stable Finnlander household. It appears that the person who did all the work is going to enjoy winter of warmth. Only problem, where is the cordwood for the long slow burn?

By Mike, Kalamazoo on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 09:57 pm:

Good Timing on the woodshed picture!! I've been busy the past week or so building a sturdy new woodshed. Got 'er up , sides on, and the roof shingled. She's ready for the Thanksgiving guests to get out and start stacking wood in it; should help work up an appetite. I'm from da yoop and a good fire in da woodstove is in da blood.

By Kate, CA on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:10 pm:

Wood heats you twice. Once when you chop it, once when you burn it.

By Jeannie, Dollar Bay MI on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:58 pm:

"You can tell a man's character by the way he stacks his wood" - something my husband was told many years ago which he thinks about every year when he fills our wood shelter.

By downstate don on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:54 pm:

How many cords of wood is the winter long, I ask?

By Therese from just below the bridge on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 06:02 am:

And how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck was a Yoop?

By kosk in Toronto on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 06:41 am:


That's a good one.

By Mark, MI on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 08:19 pm:

Hey bro,
nice shot of the old man's handiwork.

By huffman on Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 09:48 am:

I just purchased a huge 450 lbs woodstove named "Woodsman" it has acorn knobs on the two front doors. Unfortunately it did not come with installation specs. Can anyone assist?

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 09:41 pm:

Where was I, and how did I ever miss this?
Being 11+ years later, I'm not sure anyone's ever going to see this, but just on for the record:

Gary, CO:
"… finally when you burn it in the wood stove. Oh yeah, I guess you still have to clean the ashes out of the stove and take them someplace. …"

"… take [the ashes] someplace"? What you do is use 'em to make soap! Didn't you ever hear of lye soap? — soap made using lye and fats.

Historically, the lye used in the process was made from scratch using rainwater (rainwater because it is soft water, not hard, as well water usually was) and ashes.

My grandma used to make lye soap back on the family farm in Bruce Crossing up to at least the 1950s, using the "fully boiled hot process":


"…where the exact amount of hydroxide required need not be known with great accuracy. They originated when the purity of the alkali hydroxides were unreliable, as these processes can use even naturally found alkalis, such as wood ashes ….

"The mix is actually boiled (100+ °C), and, after saponification has occurred, the 'neat soap' is precipitated from the solution by adding common salt, and the excess liquid is drained off. This excess liquid carries away with it much of the impurities and color compounds in the fat, to leave a purer, whiter soap, and with practically all the glycerine removed. The hot, soft soap is then pumped into a mold. The spent hydroxide solution is processed for recovery of glycerine."

See more at (click →) Wikipedia:Soap
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