firewood I talked about the debates that go on regarding the best firewood to burn. It's always a good topic this time of year at social events when neighbors compare how fast their respective woodpiles are diminishing. When the guys are all over in one corner at the Christmas parties, the ladies think we're talking about some pretty important stuff, but mostly it's debates like what kind of wood are you burning or how's your woodpile looking.
I decided to look at some facts about whether alder or birch was better or what about fir or beetle killed pine? There is lots of information out there, and the numbers vary a bit depending on how it's calculated, but my handy "Pocket Ref by Thomas Glover, 2nd ed" and some websites led me to the comparisons listed below.
Included is a calculation based on heating a typical home that uses 5 cords of alder and what the equivalent would be in the other species of wood or heating oil for comparison.
The bottom line is that the deciduous species are a pretty good source of wood, especially the alder and birch. They are the most easily accessible sources of wood in the Bella Coola Valley, and not commercially valuable in the locations woodcutters can get access to them. If Cottonwood is easy to access and you have storage space, then it makes a good firewood source as well because it doesn't take more than one or two cottonwood trees to produce a number of cords of wood. That's my situation on my little woodlot, I first go around and salvage any blown down wood, then look for any standing dead and then each year I selectively take out one or two big cottonwoods and some alders. The cottonwoods are scary brutes to fall if you are not a logger, so I only seek out the least uncomplicated looking candidates I can find before I attempt to drop them and I leave the big ones as they make fine trees for Bald Eagles to nest in. If you can cut it before mid March it is easier to split. I am sure I have created some more cocktail debates about firewood preferences, but that's a good thing, because if you are having firewood debates in a social situation, then you are talking about the things that are really important to the essentials of life in a rural area. Grizzly
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