We know that people used to burn wood for heat and fuel, but how were wood lots managed?

Even with power tools, felling trees is hard work, and so is splitting the wood. Plus, there is the problem that a tree takes a long time to grow, and a short time to burn!

A better solution involves coppicing. Most deciduous trees can be cut down to the root without killing them. Leave the stump in place, and the next year, it will be host to perhaps ten or more young saplings. The root is developed for a big tree, so it has lots of capacity to grow those saplings quickly.

Every seven years or so, those young trees can be cut for use as fuel, or furniture. Not only will new ones grow from the old stump — again — but this practice actually extends the life of the tree far beyond a normal lifetime! Plus, these young trees don’t need to be split, only cut to length.

We’ll be growing some dual-purpose trees in the back by Concession Five — trees that pasture animals like to graze on — and ones that can be cut periodically for fuel. That is a gift that keeps on giving!

Your next house mate?

Straight from the horse’s mouth: Did you know that a common way for people to keep warm in the winter, was to live with their farm animals? A thin wooden wall divided the space into a human and an animal room. The warmth from the cows, horses and sheep helped keep inside — not toasty — but comfortable enough. Could this be the source of the question: were you raised in a barn?