Monday, July 9, 2012

Splitting wood.

On the second Monday of the winter school holidays, farmers Bren and Liam built the girls an obstacle course in the forest. They cut logs and criss-crossed them in forks of trees up off the ground.

Our girls spent ages climbing and balancing and falling down too. Such great fun!

And then my farmer boy taught them how to split wood.

Our new lightweight splitter helped.

That's a pretty important life skill I think.

Wood is really important to us here on our farm. We use the wood we cut from our forest to heat our house, to cook our food and to build with. 

The wood they split today will be stacked in a pile and left to dry out for burning next year. This year's wood is called green wood and by next year it will be called seasoned wood.

I love that our girls are learning these lessons. I love that they want to know and to get involved. I love seeing them with dirty hands and the biggest smiles on their faces.

I don't think I split any wood myself until I was 25.

I think they'll sleep well tonight.

So how are you?
Have you ever split wood?
It's great for a bit of stress relief, believe me.
Hopefully it'll be a useful tool when the teenage angsty years come.

Have a fabulous week my friends.



  1. Hi Kate, long time reader here but few comments. I learnt to chop wood and split logs when I was about eight I think. I used to love it and when we had a holiday place on 50 acres, we would cut and split a couple of tonnes regularly to bring home for both kitchen and lounge fires. It is so satisfying and good to work with the hands. I now live in an apartment so no fire but I remember those times with great nostalgia. Added to which I have a damaged shoulder and would find it difficult to spilt logs now, even with wedges.

  2. My dad did the same ( taught me to split wood) at about 10 or so. it's great skill i think, and great for a girl to know, if you get what I mean, and not just leave it to the boys. plus it's fun xo

  3. Yep, I used do it when I was a kid. It was hard yakka, and always gave me callouses on my hands. I preferred to use the tomahawk to cut the kindling, which was always known in our family as "morning's wood".

  4. A few years back when my husband lost his job of 20 years he chopped wood out in the back yard for at least 3 hours everyday. Now, we live in the suburbs in California, USA and we don't have much need for a lot of firewood but it was wonderful for the whole family, especially Dad, to see that wood chopped! Now I relate all good work to chopping wood. My kids are finally getting my meaning.

    Kate! Love your blog! :D

  5. I've never chopped wood before, but we use wood all the time for our fireplace. We have friends who are avocado ranchers and they all have old trees they are willing to chop up and give away for free - along with the black widow spiders that make those log piles their home. Have you ever come across anything living in your log pile?

  6. Ha,wood splitting.....I am so bad at it. Bloody hopeless! But if your girls can do it....well, they've inspired me to give it another try.

    I am, however, the mistress of kindling.....will collect and cut up an sticks, prunings etc. Lots of organised piles there. Plus I love my tomahawk/bush hammer for splitting bits of larger kindling!

    Wood piles are things of great beauty. Along with preserves, jams etc. in Fowlers Vacola jars. Sometimes, I reckon they are better than money in the bank.

    Ms. Nada

  7. Excellent Kate, a great life skill indeed. Lovely photos, so good for kids to have an appreciation and understanding of where all these things come from. A real advantage of living in the country I think. You have a great week too!

  8. I have never learned to split wood, Kate, but one of my favourite stories about my grandma is that she went out and chopped wood on the day she gave birth to her fifth baby (she was trying to bring on labour and it worked!). I reckon your girls are learning such important stuff... xo

  9. Invaluable life lessons around your place, they are very lucky girls! I grew up in the country, collecting & chopping wood, rounding up the cooks, feeding the cows and I miss that my boys don't have that. This is why it's so important for them to visit nan & pop pop is about the cleverest nan I know, there is nothing he can't make or fix!

  10. Don't know if I'd let my teenagers near an axe!

  11. Oh lovely post Kate.

    Aren't those Fiskars splitters the best! I love ours, so easy to use! Cuts like a knife through butter.


  12. That looks like a fun day :) The wood chopping would be a great opportunity to teach them about sustainability too - maybe you could plant some trees with them to chop down later?

  13. Love the dirt on the hands !!
    Love chopping wood!Last time i did it with a vengance was a very long time ago ,
    for a wood fired kiln ,my first year of studying ceramics in ..ahem 1980!
    It was actually quite close by to you guys , at a property in Smeaton !
    We built & fired kilns all sorts of wood-fired kilns all week ...truly amazing !

  14. We had a wood fire and it was expected that my sister and I could split wood. I am also a Girl Guide and am always amazed how my young charges don't have the physical strength to wield an axe at a piece of wood hard enough to split it - and their aim is terrible. You have to keep weeeeellll back.

  15. I hate to admit it, because although we rely on wood for heating, I've never split any wood. But that's not to say I wouldn't, I just haven't had the need. It's always been on Daniel's "outside list". It's a great skill to teach your girls and one I would love for mine to learn (and me!) Recently Daniel and a mate hired one of those splitting machines which made it so quick. Have to admit that we're currently burning "green" wood. If only we were a little more organized!

  16. I love chopping wood. I didn't learn until I met my husband, when I was about 20. Daughter #1 who is 13 likes to chop the chips for kindling.

  17. oh those photos remind me of myself at that age. What a wonderful childhood. Although we live out of town and use wood to heat our home and water and to cook none of my 4 children are any good at wood chopping, or going outside and getting dirty. Makes me so sad.
    Thanks for this lovely post.
    cheers Kate

  18. yep been splitting mallee stumps since the age of nine. character building my man would say. love chopping wood, makes you warm.

  19. Splitting wood. Hmm. My grandparents had a dairy farm until I was about 8. We weren't allowed in the wood shed (or the barn, but that's another story). My other grandparents had a wood heater until not so long ago when my grandmother found it too hard to split and cart wood around. We were allowed to play in their woodshed but not use the axe.
    I think the first time I split wood I was at uni, so maybe 20. It was for a wood heater that really didn't heat much, let alone the room! Good old uni houses!

  20. i always had to chop the wood for kindling! chop the wood and light the fire when i got home from school. it was just me, my mum and my little sister who im sure just pretended she couldnt light the fire so she wouldnt have to do it! i had perfected my technique, it involved pinecones and the 'pyramid' technique. loved it!

  21. I'm nearly 50 and still chopping wood every Winter! We fill up the wood store at the end of Winter so that wood will dry out thru the Summer. Can't leave it outside like you do (love the way it looks) cos of snakes but our wood store does the trick! Stay warm!!! xxx

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