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use wood pile in function stacking?

 
Alex Ojeda
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I was hoping to find some people who have either stored a drying wood pile or used it in some kind of stacking function exercise where instead of just taking up space while it dries for the summer it's actually providing some service or benefiting another element in some other way.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!
 
Alex Ojeda
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Alex Ojeda wrote:I was hoping to find some people who have either stored a drying wood pile or used it in some kind of stacking function exercise where instead of just taking up space while it dries for the summer it's actually providing some service or benefiting another element in some other way.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!


P.S. I keep getting some kind of powder post activity that leaves massive amounts of wood dust everywhere in mine. It doesn't seem to effect anything else, just the drying wood, but I need to do something different as this is unsettling at best. Thanks!
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Alex,

Many have ponder this question for a long time. Because of the transient nature of a wood pile, no matter the style used to stack it, fancy or simple...the stack is moved all too soon. I wish you all the luck in the world on this and hope you post your discoveries. One that has some merit, I've found is a wood drying shed made of drying wood. It acts like you ultimate reserve never to be touched except in an emergency. It hold both btu value and monetary, it could be sold for the value of it. This value seems to go up every year.

The "frass" you are seeing is from some various form of Coleoptera that is feeding on the wood. There really isn't any thing to do about it, it's part of the wood culture some of us live in. You could use some form of insecticide, but that really isn't warranted considering it is going to be burnt in short order. These "wee beasties," feed on the sap wood layer of the wood. If you live in a timber frame, you just need to note their presence and deal with them accordingly, if they become and issue for your frame.

Regards,

jay
 
Alex Ojeda
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Thanks Jay!

I never saw any bugs making that "frass" (thanks for the new word). I was wondering if it was some kind of fungal deterioration except that's usually more moist and soil-like.
 
Alex Ojeda
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I keep dreaming that there's some kind of way to wrap it up into Multiple bundles and use these bundles as automatic gate opening weights or something. I'm sure that would work as long as it didn't get wet. Being off the ground would keep it drying out even if it got wet from rain.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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I try to keep two piles of wood and use only one of them per year. So each pile is sitting for at least two years. Each year I replace the one that I used over the winter. There is plenty going on inside of that pile. I find lots of insects, which are great for the chickens, and all sorts of predators. Mice and other critters make nests in the piles as well. It seems that I always come across a nice dry mouse nest just when I'm running low on kindling paper.
Mice also attract snakes and other small predators like hawks and falcons. It's good to have eyes in the sky watching my fields for mice voles and the like. Snakes also use the pile to shed their skin and to warm themselves on in the morning.

Once the pile is all gone, I rake up all the little bits of bark and wood and add it to the garden beds as mulch.

I usually pile up about 6 cords at a time. I stack it head high and as square (cubic) as I can. Long, narrow piles tend to cause serious snow drifts during noreasters, so for me, compact piles are best. From there I throw a couple heavy tarps over them and weight the tarp down with more wood pieces. It also helps if you can stack the wood on pallets. This prevents the bottom layers of wood from freezing to the ground and help keep moisture out of the pile. Also, it minimizes the number of bugs that come inside the house with the wood.

I'll also say that where you stack your wood can affect the micro climate around it. Increased shade and humidity on one side and dryer,warmer and more bright on the other side. They make a nice windbreak or a solar mass for one side of a greenhouse as well.
You could get creative and stack it up to make a fort for kids to play in during the summer. 4 walls and a tarp roof can make a pretty awesome fort or clubhouse.

Just a few thoughts

edit: Also you could stack wood in places where you wish to keep cars and trucks away from. We made a pile to block an old driveway route while we figured out how to fix it. The pile kept the UPS and FedEx guys from tearing up the driveway druing mud season. I guess you could also use a wood pile to prevent somebody from driving through your living room wall if you live close to a busy road.

Best of luck

 
Alex Ojeda
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Thanks for those pieces of advice. I live in north Florida, so the wood dries out in one season in the shade or sun. No snow drifts though the pallet might work to keep the bottom layer drier. I like the microclimate ideas. As a fort, if we attract snakes, which I love, wouldn't be good for kids because we have VERY poisonous snakes down here along with all of the non-poisonous varieties. I'm not sure if I'd take the chance.

Maybe having a semi-permanent wall to an outdoor composting toilet. Make a cob wall that goes up to the level of necessary privacy (when sitting) and the logs are just extra privacy? You'd have the logs going all around the room, so you would take the logs off one layer at a time. Once you got low enough, you could start moving the logs from the woods side of the room to the visible side to keep your privacy.
 
Chris Kott
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Any place I've ever been that heats with wood has walls of firewood, either split or to-be-split, usually as close to point-of-use as possible, for reasons of being able to find it in the event that it snows and you need it. But I guess that's not a concern for you. If I was to put that kind of woodpile to use, I'd use them as seasonal windbreaks to commonly used outdoor areas. If you had goats that needed to climb, I'm sure the tarped piles would do. I like the idea of using their biomass as insulation. We do something similar in our print shop and bindery by storing our corrugated materials on the mezzanine over the shipping doors in the south wall where we lose most of our heat. The difference is astounding to those working in close proximity to it.

-CK
 
Yone' Ward
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Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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We are working on a wood shed that wraps around the chicken house. This will shade it in the hot summer and theoretically insulate it in the winter. Of course this will depend on how much of our wood is consumed each winter and how much wood my RMH ends up saving us, but maybe it will atract small rodents and bugs that the chicken will find yummy.
 
Nick Simcheck
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I remember when I was a child our dogs were in a stacked wood 'pen' next to the house...

I was all of 3 or 4 years old, so I don't remember the exact details but I would imagine that wood was seasoned for 3 years as there was 3 walls with the 4th being the house. I don't remember if there was a fence, but I assume there was cause otherwise the dogs would get out mid winter!

Logically the whole purpose of the woodfence would be to get good airflow to the wood, while keeping the cold air off the dogs.
 
Brenda Groth
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if you aren't planning on burning it for firewood you can use it for mushrooms or for deadwood around plants, esp baby trees..great for holding in moisture and protection

small wood piles here and there in the garden are wonderful for hiding places and homes for a lot of small animal life and sunning areas for others..
 
Yone' Ward
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Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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Brenda Groth wrote:if you aren't planning on burning it for firewood you can use it for mushrooms or for deadwood around plants, esp baby trees..great for holding in moisture and protection

small wood piles here and there in the garden are wonderful for hiding places and homes for a lot of small animal life and sunning areas for others..
Ok, that gives me an Idea. With a rocket stove and enough room, maybe you could grow mushrooms off the wood for a few years then burn it for heat. The wood might be a bit punky by the time the mushrooms stop growing, but with the efficiency of a RMH, maybe it wouldn't matter. That or Hugelkulture.
 
Pierre de Lacolline
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Location: New Hampshire; USDA Z5
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I've seen wood stacked 8' high between a couple of sturdy trees to work as a privacy fence.

Last couple of years I've used all the rakings from under the pile after the firewood is gone as the base for a hugel bed. In years prior I've sent it through a chipper/shredder and used it as mulch.

Wood pile makes a nice home for mice, which keeps the cats entertained. (Though I still don't think this is actually a net positive unless I delude myself into thinking that they have a home outside and won't come in my house...)

It's an effective snow fence -- as long as you don't need to immediately use the wood on the side of the stack that's all full of snow.

As you tear down the pile, remove the center so that you have 3 sides. This makes a little temporary "room" that can provide a bit of shelter from the wind. I sometimes store things in here that I don't want to blow around.

A wood pile catches sunshine and warms up faster in spring. Lots of thermal mass here. Seems like it could make a useful backstop for a greenhouse, or even behind some shrubbery that you want to get a head start on spring thaw. Or as protection if you're trying to grow something that's a little out of your hardiness zone. Or alternatively grow something on the north side of a pile that you want to warm a little more slowly in the spring.

Wood piles can mark the edge of a driveway/parking area in the winter so that you know where to stop plowing.
 
Lyvia Dequincey
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I plan to use my woodpile to mark the edge of the driveway. The sturdy gravel with weeds looks a lot like the gravel kicked into the non-car bearing soil.

It will also help with fencing. We have a four foot high limit in the front yard, but making it wider will make it harder to jump, for horse or deer. Dogs might climb on the woodpile, though, so that takes more thought.

I've thought about whether I could dry wood over the septic leach field, simply to increase the utility of that land.

I also thought that if I make a very tall rack for sapling poles, it might make a shady protected place underneath. Maybe if I dig a little underneath, it might be a cool place for something. Shade for chickens or sheep? I think I could use a collection of sapling poles.
 
Landon Sunrich
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My woodpiles seem to provide a great micro climate for all sorts of critters. Like newts! I imagine things like mushroom mycelium and worms would dive for cover from the hot sun there since its shady and moist. Providing a diverse Ecosystem is a function right?
 
Chris Kott
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Critters = chicken food!

So, theoretically, stacked wood can be formed into rows that serve to separate paddocks, act as windbreaks, they might be roofed or tarped and so might provide shade and shelter, and the whole setup would provide some food as well.

-CK
 
Guarren cito
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Our wood is stacked in between our house and the neighbors fence. We see the wood pile all the time through our window, it definitely is a function!

Beware, if you're house has lead paint and you stack wood next to it you will have lead dust in your living room. I didn't think of this until the start of the burning season and now I have to brush off each log before bringing it into the house. Rain splashes a lot of dirt onto the wood. Dirt is tested unsafe for lead. Next year I'm going to dump crushed gravel to make it safe.

Also, my neighbors cats poop on the pile. They're not medicated. I should've tarped it earlier. It's a pain in the butt to wash your hands every time you add a log.

Moral of the story lead paint causes all sorts of issues and avoid parasitic cat poop at all costs.
 
David Hartley
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About a decade ago, my Dad built a "cord wood fence". It was framed up with 2x4s and a real roof. It ran East/West, along the North side of the yard. All summer long, the South-bound winds blasted into it. The wood dried fast and the yard remained shelted from the wind. Winter winds came out of the South; so using the wood then released any baffling effect.
 
Brad Cloutier
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what about a nice home for the mason bees? I'm not sure how many fruit trees you have but I'd guess you have some.
 
allen lumley
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I read a recent post where some one mentioned planing their wood pile to protect a cob wall from splash back from water at he eves line, small stones that can be mowed directly
over the top of, break up the rain drops and with less mass is less energy.

Back to the wood pile, when stacked against the wall it makes a wind break, adds minimum insulation, and no one will object to a tarp over fire wood where the same tarp used as
a wind break is to trailer trash for some sensitive neighbors ! Big AL!
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