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Home Heating

Posted 2/1/2012 9:08am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

This past summer and fall, Bob, with Roy's careful guidance, pulled several large oak trees out of our woodlot. An early summer storm several years ago caused a sudden wind burst that took out some of best "seed stock" trees just above our northeast pasture.   I've learned from forester Roy, that trees, like cows and sheep, should be selected for.  Leave the healthy, strong trees in your woods to replicate themselves for the future.  Put that way, it makes perfect sense to me.  Aren't we just trying to mimic natural selection?  But nature is a mysterious beast full of befuddling and random acts. With one strong gust roaring down the mountain, several dozen trees were downed, many of them marked as foundational to a healthy future woodlot. That said we decided to slice them up into a new barn floor. 

The outside bays of our barn have never been very strong and therefore a waste of good space. Getting thick, oak planking down has given us a lot more hay and machinery storage. As the new planks went in, the old, dry thin planks were pulled out and this winter we've heated the house with them.  It's been so mild that they actually lasted into February.  Admittedly this is not the cleanest form of heat, however, until our house is heated with solar panels or geothermal heat, it is probably one of our cleanest options.  At least we didn't have to haul it in.

Last weekend Roy and I spent several hours behind the garage cutting and stacking the planks to fit into our outdoor furnace.  The ewe flock is wintering in the pasture just behind the woodshed and at times I found myself mesmerized by the chewing motion of their mouths. During the afternoon the majority of the flock was laying on the ground, their jaws gentling grinding.  It is almost like watching waves wash up on shore. They seem so content when they are ruminating and the affect is calming. 

While most of the flock lay serenely chewing, the rest were gathered around the hay feeders eating hay and watching.  One ewe stood facing us, strands of hay hanging from her mouth, scratching her hind end on the corner of the feeder. I could of sworn she was daring me to comment, but I didn't.  Eating hay is an itchy business and if she needed to take care of her issues, I was fine with that. The flocks composed acceptance of the way things are had infiltrated the air around them and the more I watched them, the more I felt their calm stoicism settle into my being.