Splitting fire wood has become a regular winter chore for us here at Autonomy Acres. Like I said in a previous post, the majority of our home heat comes from our wood burning stove. My two favorite types of wood to burn and split are oak and maple. Both types are hard wood that burn long and hot which is great for heating a house. Elm is another very common species of tree found here in Minnesota. It is another hard wood that is great fuel for heating your house, but it is very hard to split by hand.
Compared to oak and maple which are very straight-grained wood, elm is very knotty with a wavy flow of the grain. Due to the trees natural traits and disease that affect elms, it is a pretty easy wood to find for free off of peoples curbs at all times of the year. What I have found that makes splitting elm easier, is waiting until the coldest days of the year. Something about the extreme cold temps make splitting elm that much easier, the colder the better. For me this is a great thing. The cold days, the best ones for splitting wood, are almost always sunny. Being easily depressed from the long dark nights, getting out to chop wood on a sunny afternoon is a shot of good medicine. It is also good meditation and exercise, I always feel better after splitting a pile of wood. We have another few months of having to heat the house, so we will keep splitting wood and thinking warm thoughts of spring.