Harvesting wood was absolutely beautiful today, and caused me to pause and reflect on how my attitude toward heating with wood has changed. Growing up, I hated that our house was heated with wood. I hated waking up to a mostly cold house, until someone got the fire going again. I hated that the room where the stove was located was generally roasting, and all the rest were chilly. I whined about having to help cut & stack wood outside, to age or “season” and dry out, and I complained about having to help move it to our porch where it was stored in winter for easier access. From there, it had to be carried inside to the woodbox beside the stove on a daily basis. Then there’s the continuous mess, needing to clean the chimney and take out the ashes…the list goes on.
When we built our house on the Ovid farm, we put in a high efficiency propane furnace. We didn’t have any woodlands, so heating with wood really wasn’t a realistic option - and I was so thankful for radiant in-floor heat that made for toasty toes in the mornings.
Now we find ourselves back in a gigantic old farmhouse, on a farm with quite a bit of wooded acreage that we are able to harvest dead trees off of. And somehow my perspective on heating with wood has shifted. Is it still a lot of work? For sure! But being able to check one more box of self sufficiency off of the list is extra gratifying.
One of the overarching goals for our farm business is to be as self-sufficient as possible - to reduce our reliance on outside inputs, thereby also reducing our community of customers’ reliance on those inputs. There’s satisfaction in knowing that the land we have the privilege of stewarding is able to provide not only our food but also a heat source that will be renewed for future generations. We can cook & heat water on the wood stove if needed, creating resilience in the case of power outages. Our civilization’s escalating reliance on a fragile power & fuel supply is alarming, and we are grateful to be in a more secure position if that were to become unavailable.
Heating with wood is a personal security choice for us, but it’s in alignment with all of our farm philosophies. We let the cows harvest and fertilize their own grass as much as possible - rather than importing synthetic fertilizers and bringing the feed to the cows. And by feeding our local community, we reduce dependency on gigantic food corporations that are also fragile.
Even though sourcing food locally is often more work and less convenient than getting grocery store delivery, the gratification is immense. And yes, I’m fully prepared for my kids to hate helping with firewood as they get older, but also hopeful that they can one day appreciate the comfort it provides.
I'm half of the Crosswinds farmer duo bringing you farm fresh cheeses, beef, and pork from the heart of the Finger Lakes! Stay tuned for our daily adventures growing a family & a farm, and food for your table. We welcome your questions & comments, but please keep them respectful! For the latest updates, please follow Crosswinds Farm & Creamery on Facebook or Instagram!