The Holzhaufen

You may ask what a Holzhaufen has to do with an RV trip. We learned about the Holzhaufen when we were staying at a Harvest Hosts location: the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage. The connection may be a little loose, but there it is.

On display at the botanical garden was a round wood pile that resembled a silo. The informational sign said that the Holzhaufen is a German (no kidding!) design of a wood pile which is supposed to be very efficient in drying wood out. Air enters through the bottom and circulates through the center to the top, thus drying the wood well for burning. We were intrigued by the wood pile and decided we would try to build one. We heat with wood and have several downed trees available to us at our cottage in northern Michigan.

We had some oak logs from clearing land for our garage. Tom and I cut and split the wood and constructed the Holzhaufen on top of four old pallets.

The wood must have dried very quickly, because large gaps between the split pieces developed. We saw a chipmunk go in one of the gaps one day. It looks like a great place for chipmunks to live. We may have to change the name of the structure from Holzhaufen (wood pile) to Backenhörnchenhaus (chipmunk house).

Our neighbor said it would be fun to light a match to the Holzhaufen. We calculated the contents at about 5 1/2 cords. That would be some bonfire!

We have been monitoring the wood drying with a moisture meter. The results will be reported once we start using wood from this pile sometime in late winter. Looking at the checks in the ends of the split logs it appears to be drying quickly.

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