Winter Work

Jinxed with a terrible summer for working outdoors, we were lucky enough to get a bit of a mild beginning to December. We thought it would be snow from the moment it hit in early November, but a warm front came through, melting all the November snow and making it warm enough for our grass to look good again in early December. We took advantage of the warm weather to build a small wood shelter by the shop so that we could actually use the beautiful wood stove we have in our house.

With the weather expected to be cold and snowy this year, we knew that this window of opportunity would likely be short lived. So, we got to work.

We knew that we did not need a huge wood storage area as we are only planning on using the wood stove to supplement our heating on weekends. Poor K becomes a bit of a popsicle in our basement during the winter months, so we wanted to help heat that area with the wood stove. The stove itself is right next to K’s hobby room, and there is a door that closes the upstairs area off, allowing more of the heat to distribute to the basement. My sister was friends with one of the boys that lived here before us, and had spent many winters hanging out in the basement. The previous owners had used the wood stove constantly and she remembered it being so cozy in the basement with it running. IMG_4240.JPG

With warmth in the mind, and the weather cooperating, we started gathering what we needed. We didn’t have any set plans, just photos from online as a guide. Due to past issues with termites on the property (which we have luckily not seen since the first summer in the house), we knew that we did not want the wood sitting on the ground. It had to be above the ground and away from any opportunity to attract those awful little  bugs. We had a few space cinderblocks in behind our shop, so we used those as the footings for the shelter.


From there, we used some of our landscape ties as the framed base for the wood to sit on. It had to be sturdy to hold the wood we had planned. The base frame is 84″ x 16″.

We debated a slotted bottom that would allow bark and scraps to fall through, or a solid bottom that would need to be cleaned out once in a while. Going back to my previous comment about termites, we decided on the solid bottom. We had planned on using mostly scrap wood, however, we didn’t have enough for the bottom to be solid, so I had to go out and purchase a few boards.


From there, we knew that we would want an angled roof on it to help keep snow and water away from the shop wall and off the wood. Although there is already a bit of coverage from the roof of the shop, we didn’t think it would be enough to keep the wood as protected as we would like. We know that there will be some snow and water that will get into the shelter, just as long as most of the wood is protected, then we should be able to use it for fires.

I was a little skeptical of the angled roof as I had never done one before, but it was much easier than I thought and it turned out great. We used 3 pieces of wood to create the roof. This summer, I may add some sort of wood filler between the boards to ensure it is water-tight, but for now, this seems to be working.


Overall it turned out great. We like the aesthetic look of it as much as we like the practical uses as well. Since we moved in, that space seemed to be missing something, and it seems to be a spot that accumulates junk that we spend the summer looking at, so this will help keep a nice view. The only piece I will add in the spring is a little side to it with another little roof for the kindling to go. It would be nice to have a section of kindling so that we aren’t chopping too much in the cold winter air.

A friend who runs his place on wood heat was kind enough to cut up a felled tree for us and is willing to take us up onto his property for further wood as needed in the future. It took just about a full truck load in Kurt’s truck to fill. We had a little extra which we are drying out in the shop.


We were all set to get that wood stove going. Just in time as well! The evening that I finished the wood shelter, it snowed and the temperatures dropped. Perfect timing and weather to test out the shelter and the wood stove.


K went to double check the cleanliness of the stove before lighting and was unpleasantly surprised about what he found. A poor Northern Flicker woodpecker had at some point made its way into our wood stove. We are not sure when as we hadn’t heard it, but the poor thing had perished. It was extremely dry, so it may have been a year or more ago.

We learned our lesson then. Despite having it inspected when we moved in, we should have gotten it inspected again before we thought to light it. If that bird had been stuck in the chimney instead of the actual stove, we wouldn’t have known and that could have led to a chimney fire or other issues. We have put lighting the fire on hold until we can get another inspection to ensure that the actual chimney is also clear and ready for burning. From now on, we will get the chimney inspected and cleaned every year. Luckily our endeavour into heating the basement did not run amuck!



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