Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What I am Learning About Wood

Oh, the things I am learning about wood! More than I ever dreamed of knowing! 

Yes,wood has become my world for the last few days as my gorgeous husband and I prepare ourselves for the winter coming soon upon in our little house in the woods.

On Saturday, we went out to the bush to do some woodcutting, and wow, was this fun. Yes, I am not kidding … it was actually fun, even though it was also so dirty, muddy and backbreaking. 

But how amazing it is it to go a quiet place in the middle of this Manitoban forest and imbibe in that air that is so fresh that it makes you feel like you’ve never even heard of the word, “pollution.”

This was my first woodcutting excursion and there was a lot to learn. Here are things I learned this year:

  • In order to cut wood in Manitoba, you must obtain woodcutting permit from the Manitoba Conservation Office.

    The permit cost us about $40 and allowed us to cut down 6 cords of wood, which should be almost enough for the winter, depending on how harsh the winter is. They also give you a map that shows where you can cut. 
  •  Try to find the cutting area beforehand, because sometimes those maps are pretty confusing. Knowing where you are going really helps keep everyone's moral up!
  • If you are looking for wood you can burn right away, try to find some“standing dead” trees, trees that were dead or almost dead but had not yet fallen to the ground.
  • Watching a tree fall truly is an amazing experience. To
    see a forty feet Jack Pine go down is awe-inspiring, like watching a giant topple to the ground!
  • Always carry an chainsaw wrench and an extra chain, if possible, in case one chain goes all funky on  you. Yes, that happened to us, and we did not have the chain on hand. (Truth be told, it is lost somewhere in our house, yet to be determined.)
  • A log splitter is worth every penny you spend! We got ours on sale, for $229, and are rejoicing at this wise purchase! Two of us were able to cut and split half a cord of wood in about six hours. And imagine if I was in shape! But seriously worth it. 
My husband now calls me his “Lumberjack Girl.” Well, I'll take it! 

But lumberjack girl or not, we still have some serious work ahead of us. Note to self: start earlier next season, like in the spring! Like about eleven more trips into the bush to cut wood, to get ready for the winter.

But cutting wood sure reminds me of how dependent on nature, and God, we really are. In the city, you are so shielded from that reality because your food is packaged at a fluorescent-lit grocery store and your heat is brought to you mindlessly through your register vents. 

But when you have to actually go out and work HARD for your heat, instead of just paying a bill, it makes you feel much more connected to the source of that heat. 

And pretty thankful for the creation that God has made. Those beautiful trees that make me pause with their arresting beauty also keep us warm, protect us from the sun and wind, supply us with oxygen, give us houses to stay in, and furniture to keep us comfortable. I am grateful! 

All photos are taken by author, Sharilee Swaity. Copyright 2014. 


  1. Glad you enjoyed your experience! Wood for you! Wood article too.

  2. Ha ha! Great comment, Paula! Have a wonderful day.

  3. I've been splitting wood for the past two weeks. It is hard work, but it is so rewarding. Nice to see your blog and here about your life in Manitoba.


Please keep your comments nice and kind.