Free Education

Is anything really free?

I decided to jump on the free education bandwagon.  I put out an ad on a local forum and asked for something free – wood.  I asked that if anyone had downed trees on their property that they wanted rid of to please call me.  I got a few responses.  One from a lady less than two miles from our place.  She’s on 32 acres and had some fire mitigation done a few years back and they left all of the wood.  This load was all aspen, but she has spruce, fir and pine as well.  She’s got a lot of dead standing on her lot, so we might just have to become friends.  I clear the dead stuff, her land gets safer for the insurance company.  Win/win.


I brought the wood home and sawed it up.  Then I told the children that they were going to help me split and pile.  When the boys found out they were going to get to use axes, you would have thought Christmas was this week.

Child #2 (oldest boy) is a natural at all things physical.  I gave him my Snow & Nealley 2 1/4 lb. on a 28″ haft.  It seems to work perfectly for him.  He’s got good form and loves splitting aspen because it’s light, dry and easy.



He split a lot for a little guy.  His brother, who is a year younger, was hard at it as well.  Books are his thing, but he wanted to be like his big brother and split.  He struggled to swing the axe and I spent a lot of time with him working on his form.  He’s still a little young, though his brother was splitting at his age.  Kids are different, that’s all.


He got discouraged at one point and started to cry.  He said he’ll never be a good wood splitter.  I assured him that he had plenty of time in life to practice.  Then I offered to show him how to split kindling and explained that it was the most important part of starting a fire.  He relented and used the old Lakeside double bit to make some small splits.

We’ve had more fires this year than in all the other ten years we’ve been here combined.  So far we’ve saved $100 on our heat bill, and an as-yet undetermined amount on our electric bill.  In the process, the kids have learned how to split and pile wood.  I’d say that’s better than a free education.

Mike,Oscar, Hotel……out.











21 thoughts on “Free Education

  1. Free heat, free labor and free education. Sounds like a deal to me. The little Nissan looks like it is down to the stops with that load. For the next load best put a piece of plywood between your load and the back window if you don’t want it to cost you a new window.
    PS; Just scored a nice H&R/NEF Pardner in 20 ga for 85 bucks last week. Now to find a reasonably priced .357 barrel for it.


    1. Great score, Michael! Glad you finally got one. I’m actually writing a piece right now on a Civil War rifle I just picked up.

      You going to do an article on the Pardner?

      Good idea on the plywood. I’ll remember that next time.


      1. Not sure if I’ll do a piece on it. Don’t know how much I can say that is not already known about it. I did get lucky in that they usually get snatched up real quick when they come in. Cabelas had a 10% discount on used guns and had another 20 $ off year end discount and I just happened to stop in that day when someone had just traded it in on something else. I want to find a 357 barrel for it but they get big money for them since Marlin stopped production of all the NEF single shots. I am talking stupid money, like 400$ for a barrel. Might look at buying a non NEF barrel and milling it down to fit inside the 20 ga as a caliber conversion sleeve. If I do that then I think that may warrant a write up.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Alex Beach

    An easy and safe way to split wood is to load the halved big pieces into the inside of an old tire (fill it up) that sits on a very large slice of tree trunk (the size of the tire); now no more flying wood after you split it with the axe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hated it when I was a kid. It wasn’t until I was older that I started enjoying it. A lot of the enjoyment for me came when I ditched the idea of the wood splitter and took up with an axe. There’s really no reason for gym memberships in this world.


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