We got the idea that we needed a wood stove in October of 2011. So, the hay shed/shade cover is now filled to the gills with wood. You can see some straw in the center of the shed and there are a few bales of hay hiding underneath or in the back but ... the wood pile has taken over.
The shed is fifteen feet wide and 8 feet sloping to 6 feet in the back. One row of wood on the right side and two rows of wood on the left side. We probably have 4 cords of wood in there, or pretty close to it.
Cutting wood honestly wasn't a bad job to have last fall and early winter. The weather was lovely and we were in the golden hills. However, the road up to the tree cutting area is so rocky. You just have to creep along and bump and bump for most of the trip.
I relied on Hubby to cut down the trees. He then cut them to length [about 18 or 20 inches]. I stacked a lot of it in the trailer but Hubby helped me out on that part of the job as well. The whole thing took quite a bit of time as we had to drive 40 minutes to get on the dirt road and then an hour up the dirt road to where the wood was.
Once we had some practice, it only took about 3 hours to cut and load our 3/4 of a cord into the trailer. It then took us an hour and a half to get back down that rocky, bumpy dirt road and another 40 minutes to get home. Hubby then starts to unload the wood while I make sure the animals and ourselves get some food.
Hubby unloads and splits logs for several days. We have designed the back area so that he can back the truck and trailer in and unload right where we are splitting and storing the wood.
We didn't know how much wood we would need so we decided on two cords but then we said we better have 4 cords just in case we needed more. After all, burning wood is supposed to save us $800-900 in propane so that means we will be paying for the stove within three or four years. If we run out of wood, we aren't making our money back on this deal.
We have had a very mild winter. The lows are sometimes 10 degrees but usually not as cold as that and the highs have been forties and fifties. So, we haven't even used a cord of wood so far this year.
Bottom line: We have a huge amount of the wood pile left for next year. Of course, it is only February and we thought that it will be nice to heat the house in the spring by firing up the stove for a bit in the mornings. In the spring, if it is going to be sunny, we often just skip heating the house and hope the sun will heat us up by late afternoon. It is a bit chilly and I hate taking a shower in the morning when it is cold in the house. With the woodstove firing up in the morning for an hour or so, we will start out warmer and the sun will give us a nicely heated house by evening.
One minor drawback to having a woodstove: The homeowner's insurance went up by $80 per year. Yep, it eats into the profits a bit but we are still ahead.
One of the reasons to have a woodstove and not a pellet stove is: We have had a couple of power outages. Once we were without electricity for three days. Without the woodstove we are at the mercy of the weather. The pellet stove needs a battery back up to keep working during a power outage. Another reason to have a woodstove instead of a pellet stove is that we can cut wood ourselves and don't have to buy bags of pellets. Definitely a money saver. One more reason to have a woodstove vs. a pellet stove is the cost. A good woodstove that is EPA rated at 80% efficiency is less costly to buy initially than a pellet stove.
The house has been heating up to such a high temperature with the woodstove that we are often opening a window in the living room and the office to let a bit of the heat out. Honestly, this is the warmest I have ever been in the winter and it is wonderful. We think that even if we have a pogo nip winter [grey, no sun for days or even weeks, freezing cold with frozen fog] like we have for two bad winters, that woodstove will keep us toasty and warm. Best investment we ever made.