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One of the cheapest ways to fuel your life is firewood. To get a winter wood supply of fuel legally you need to apply for a firewood cutting permit from the Forest Service. This is really easy to do at the Forest Service office.
If there isn’t an office in your town, just phone the nearest office and apply over the telephone. They just require that you live in the area and have a telephone contact number, plus your mailing and residential address.
When you receive your firewood cutting permit, it has an information sheet explaining what trees you can cut down and where you can legally cut those trees. Basically you can cut dead trees, not valuable for commercial use, on land that is not privately owned, or leased out as tree farm or wood lot to other people. Tree farmland must have signs posted plainly identifying it as such.
We are assuming here that you have some knowledge of how to use a chainsaw safely, to cut down trees. You should also have training or experience in the correct method used in cutting down trees. You don’t get a second chance here. If something goes wrong, while the tree is being cut down, it becomes deadly serious.
Make sure you have a good quality chainsaw like the Husqvarna 120 available on Amazon.
At $99.95 on Amazon the Husqvarna 590091101 Protective Equipment set is crucial for your safety when using a chainsaw
To go get your fuel for winter, you take a drive in a rural area, usually on gravel, Forest Service roads, far away from privately owned property. The area you will cut in will not display signs indicating it is leased from the Forest Service, as a wood lot, or tree farm. You look as you drive slowly along for areas that contain dead trees. Trees which look discolored, with brown needles near the top or all the way down are a good indicator of this.
When you find a promising area get out and take a walk through the woods, with your saw. If you are in hilly terrain be sure to find dead trees uphill from your vehicle, so you move the cut wood downhill to your vehicle. Make the work as easy as possible for yourself. Try to find dead trees as close to the road as possible.
Fuel Your Life With A Dead Tree
When you find a dead tree you want, take a good look at it first. Check to see if it looks rotten. Give it a kick. Does it look sturdy? Can the tree move at all? Does it look like any branches are loose above you, that could fall down on you while you are working beneath the tree? Look up in the direction you want to fall the tree to. Is there a clear path for the tree to fall through, to hit the ground, without hitting any other nearby trees?
You can save yourself a lot of time and work, planning the direction the tree will fall, so it goes downhill toward your vehicle, without hitting any other trees, and getting stuck in their branches.
When you have done all the planning, fell the tree carefully. If needed, use a falling wedge and axe. When the tree is down on the ground safely, cut off all the branches. Next cut the trunk into 3 to 4 ft lengths. This will depend on how big and heavy it is. You will be flipping these lengths of wood toward your vehicle. When you have all the wood close to your vehicle cut it into the size pieces your heater will handle.
Load up your vehicle. Be careful not to overload it. Drive carefully back home, keeping an eye out for other vehicles. Your vehicle will react slower when loaded.
Before piling the wood in a woodshed or woodpile, split each piece in half, so it will dry faster. Keep the wood sheltered from rain and snow. If not piled in a woodshed, cover the woodpile with plastic sheeting, which can be obtained from a hardware store.
Firewood racks are discussed in our article here
There is nothing finer than a wood fire, to heat your home. It gives off a dry, rosy, comforting sort of heat. Another great advantage of using wood is that it is low priced, compared to other types of fuels, especially if you go get it yourself.
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