Each year we have managed to improve our comfort levels. We burned far more than I expected in the yurts - I predicted that with such a small space, it would be easy to heat. I far underestimated how poor our stove was, and how a thin layer of insulation didn't hold heat for long once the stove went out.
Last year was the first year that I didn't have to go out seeking extra wood in the spring after burning through all of our stores. It was also a warmer winter than usual - in that respect we were pretty blessed.
The past three winters we have concentrated on filling the four wood "shelters" that I constructed before our second winter here. They were based on a rather simple design that I liked quite a bit at the time - but since then I have decided that they were too scattered, and too short. I can't tell how many times I have banged my head on the "ceiling" in them - they are about 6' in front, but taper down to under 5' by the back.
They also are in a number of different locations around the cabin, so as the winter goes on, when one empties, we have to blaze an entirely new trail through the snow to begin raiding the next shelter. Not a huge deal, but an annoyance nonetheless.
So with that in mind, I began plotting out a new, centralized woodshed. Previously at one of my clients I had noted an open sided shelter as their wood storage. It was basically a wide roof on posts packed solid with birch underneath. I was crazy jealous - that was what I wanted to have for myself. As far as locating it, I wanted it to be behind the cabin where it wouldn't be a visual distraction to people arriving at the homestead.
Another consideration I had was that I wanted it to fit in with the styling of the homestead - the garage was a bit more of a traditional departure, but I acknowledge that it was an experiment and was designed to be fast to build, and built farther from the main living space of the homestead. This time I wanted to return to the steep pitched roof, with a wraparound porch.
|Transporting my lumber to the work site.|
|All great constructions had to start with the first cut.|
|Using my first wall as a template for all the remaining ones.|
|Kenny and Mama pitched right in and helped unload the remaining lumber!|
|A good opportunity to clear some brush.|
|A nice stack of walls, note the door opening.|
|Stop to enjoy the sunrise.|
|An extra large pallet will make a lovely floor!|
|Grandpa pitches in to unload the "floor".|
|Nestled behind some alder bushes.|
|Rafters beveled and fastened in place. Note the bevels face the entrance.|
|Using a ratchet strap to ensure the tops of the walls are tight.|
|Two rafters at this end.|
|And two more at this end.|
Now the part that I'm really thinking is cool is that I still plan on adding a "wraparound porch" or sheltered area around the entire perimeter of this building. This time though I don't plan on adding support posts on the outside edge of this porch. Instead of it being between five and six feet out from the walls of the main building, it will only be about four feet. As such, I'll probably just fasten rafters directly to my inner walls.
With this "lean-to" or porch all the way around my inner building, I will be able to pile one or two rows of wood outside the inner building as well. I am planning on piling my greener wood there, on the outside, where it is more exposed to the sun and wind (and even rain and snow). My thinking is that it will protect the inner woodshed from moisture, while still allowing it to breathe. The fencing will help to support the inside and outside piles when they are not of equal heights, as well as to clearly mark off the wood we are currently burning vs the wood that is still drying.
Each wall on the outside should be able to shelter an additional three cords of wood (piled eight feet high - I'm not sure that that is very realistic) for a total of 12 more cords of wood (minus some for the door opening) in the "bullpen" ready to move inside.
So my overall plan then is that in the spring or summer or whenever we finally empty the inner woodshed, we will simply move a bunch of wood from the outside zone to the inside zone. It shouldn't be difficult. I am even looking forward to the first time when this happens - it will be a bit like being in a cordwood building - the outside walls will all be piled wood beyond the fence - cool!
Oh, I also want to point out that this project will be built without any commercial lumber. Everything here should be milled from my own trees. I also am making this with true two inch by four inch boards. They are quite a bit more substantial than what is normally sold in stores.
I'll try to keep you posted as it progresses.