Life in the Finger Lakes: A good time of year to read this short piece on firewood

It’s that time of year when I look forward to building a crackling fire in my wood-burning stove on a frosty morning. Even though we’re all savoring a week of splendid Indian Summer weather right now, it won’t be long before the mercury starts to dip below the freezing mark on a regular basis. And that’s when I’m grateful that my woodshed is full.

I’ve been heating with firewood for more than 40 years and I enjoy cutting and splitting it myself. I start by cleaning up any deadfall in my woods or by knocking down a few white ash trees that are on their last leg of life. My neighbors’ woods were logged recently and I was given the okay to clean up any treetops that remained. And by treetops, I mean 20 to 30 feet of straight 16-to-20-inch upper trunks and limbs over a foot in diameter.

The species ranged from black walnut and black cherry to hickory, maple, and red and white oak. All of these make excellent firewood once they are properly seasoned, except for the ash, which does not require any drying at all. It can be burned green because…

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