Newfoundlander’s & Labradorian‘s have always depended on forests. The trees were used to build temporary residences for the first seasonal planters, which would eventually led to permanent settlement. Domestic firewood remains in high demand, and is the primary heat source for many of our homes or cabins in rural Newfoundland & Labrador.
To combat high energy costs, several weeks of the winter season would be dedicated to cutting domestic firewood to provide a source of heat for next winter.
I remember helping my father in the forest. We would pack up the sleigh full of cut wood and bring to the hillside near our home. During the summer, it would be my job to pack up the firewood into long rows (tier) with sufficient space to permit air to flow. This created a proper seasoned wood.
The process of cutting firewood is very time-consuming and can be costly considering you must pay a government permit, have a ski-doo with sleigh, a chain saw, gas and many human hours of packing and re-packing. A piece of firewood may move 6 or 7 times from when it is first cut to when it reaches the wood stove for burning.
Electricity only came to my neighbouring communities in the 1960’s, so this was a necessary heat source. Especially since winters were much colder in the past than they are today. Many residents, especially seasonal employees ensured they had enough wood to last through those long winter nights. I only wish that I possess the skill set that my father did for woodcutting. Today we purchase our firewood locally to support a continued growth of the rural economy. However, I still enjoy the exercise that comes with packing and re-packing the firewood. When it is part of the routine, it does not seem such a daunting chore.
The comfort one gains from the warmth of firewood and kindling coming through the floor is to much satisfaction. Firewood is a renewable resource and a good source of heat. It came in handy yesterday when the power was out. My home was nice and toasty, even with the temperatures still in the negative degrees.
There is more opportunity to be realized from our local forests. I will be attending a Forestry Conference – Rural Revitalization From Our Forests (April 13-15, 2010) and will keep you posted. If you would like to attend visit www.mfnl.com.
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