Firewood Bee 2011

KevinBaking with Fire, Cooking w/ Fire, Dry Stacked Oven, Wood Fired Oven Project7 Comments

The past two days of my life have been consumed by firewood. Yep, post-holiday madness others are fiddling with their i-gizmos and I’m hauling wood. It was the best Christmas present I got. Turns out mentioning my need for wood at a family gathering yielded an offer I couldn’t refuse, and even though masonry had already kicked my butt sufficiently, I was shortly thereafter hauling wood past fatigue. I have a weak spot for ‘free’.

I spent today stashing piles of split and seasoned pine, spruce, and birch wherever I could afford the space. I estimate about 3 cords. Anything that didn’t stack well fueled the oven for the past two days.

I’m such a wuss.  Somehow I’d feel far more accomplished were I able to write about hauling trees with horses uphill both ways. My father in law who gave me the wood told me of such stories – cutting trees in the spring, hauling them to the farm with horses in the fall, and having an uncle who had a powered saw come over for a day or two to put up the winter’s firewood. I remember smaller scale firewood bees as a kid – we’d go out for a few hours and buck up enough firewood for fire cookery. Looks like it’s my turn to take on this ritual of fuel gathering.

It made me consider how differently we’d handle energy here if we had to labor to obtain and store it all. It also made me feel tremendously wealthy – wealth having arrived at my door in many forms over this past year. No manual labor for me for at least a few days. I quit.

below: the oven after a couple-day-straight-workout, just like me.

7 Comments on “Firewood Bee 2011”

  1. A Canadian Foodie

    I am green with envy! Brilliant past brilliant. I killed myself laughing when you said: “I have a weak spot for ‘free’.”
    2011 cannot be better than 2010 – can it?

  2. Kevin Kossowan

    Valerie – I’ve been giving some thought to 2011. It’s hard to anticipate how a newborn might shape the year. As far as food adventures, I don’t think it’s possible to continue this pace of change, as so much was achieved over the past year. It may be a year of refinement, simplifying, and slowing down. Hard to say.

  3. Mike

    Very nice outdoor oven you have there. Looks like your hard work paid off and you will be set for some time to come. I may have to steal your design and make an outdoor stove for myself one of these days.:)

  4. Greg

    So this is just the temporary setup until the Ultimate Behemoth gets constructed?

    We met today with a rep from MB Ag who will be helping us plunder… ahem, take advantage of… rural tree initiatives. Looks like we’ll get more than 500 trees for various purposes (alley cropping, shelterbelt, stand maturation) for FREE, including help with planting. There’s that weak spot again, huh?

    My chainsaw and axe are going to get a serious workout this year. We will be culling trees for cordwood on our property, and at a few neighbours’ places. When they hear we’re using wood exclusively, they immediately offer from their stands. I’m glad because we spent a mint on seasoned wood this time around. Might also try firing up my Uncle’s log splitter. Count fingers before and after; better be the same number.

  5. Kevin

    Mike – this version only took 3 hours to build, so although very pleased, I’m already learning by using what I’d prefer in the permanent mortared build. Not to say that’d be necessary. Cooking with fire rocks no matter which way you slice it. Do steal. And to make one.

    Greg – Yes. Temp Dry Stack V1.0.
    WHOAH is that a resource boon for you guys – well DONE! I know a couple folks with the log splitters, and they do a good job. The stuff in the photo on this post was split with one. Man that’s a lot of wood.

  6. Chris


    First off love the blog…. it is fun to see more folks adventuring locally and COOKING. I keep telling all my friends that the key to good food is to put some labor into it. Would love to see more pictures of the free stack and a sketch of your chimney config so I can try this. I just picked up about 1200 bricks from a construction site in various sizes for 50US and labor of course. On to my own sub optimal pizza soon!

  7. Kevin Kossowan

    Chris – I posted drawings today for you. I agree with the need for will to work with/for one’s food. Butchering, to me, is one of those key areas. Gardening, even moreso. Nice one on the brick score!

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