When we lived in Ireland we used to collect driftwood from the beach to burn in our stove and fireplace. This was one of our hauls:
We cannot do that here in SA though, the water is way too salty here and the wood smoke smells awful, but the Irish beach wood worked wonderfully in the stove and fireplace. No smells, no residues, nothing and best of all, it was free.
I thought I had scored a whole tree, but upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a tree that only fell, cuz it was dead and rotting. It literally broke apart in my hands as I was trying to do my usual, which is collect the kindeling. So I told the girls, lets just fill the back of the Surburban and I will let y'all roast hotdogs tonight over the camp grill and that started a regular thing for us....plus cleaned the yard at the dance studio a bit, so more parking area now.
The year DH had his heart attack, I thought I would pay out the butt for gas because we didn't see about bringing home any firelogs and I happened to be in the city with some of my children for a meeting at work and on the way back, I see a pile of logs near where the garbage would pick up the trash in someone's yard and I go to ask if I can have it and there are 2 of my aids and one of my nurse co-workers, having a BBQ with their familes. When the men saw how the women treated me, and heard why I didn't have my logs, the loaded up the pecan logs for me. That was a real blessing.
The Live Oak is fine to burn, as long as it is seasoned and dry. If it was alive when cut down, it may take up to a year to dry properly. Splitting it will help it dry faster. If it is too wet, it will not burn well, it will cause more creosote in the chimney and won't give good heat.
I'm glad I have wood inside. I need to finish cleaning my junk from in front of the wood stove. Time for our first fire this week since it's dropping into the mid 20s. I need to go cut up the apple branches into kindling. They should be plenty dry after 8 months.
I can get kindling enough for 5 houses, if I just walk around my yard, breaking sticks. I went out to feed the animals and I saw DS had relocated our chopping station and had a day or 2's worth of logs split and scattered about. He also made the cuts on our small log rack, so I can probably reload it with small branches for the next cutting. It is time for me to bring in some firewood, as well.
When we moved into our rental house in Ireland our landlord gave us a huge tree they chopped down in the backyard. It was in a slightly inaccessible place though, so we had difficulty finding the thing at first! Eventually we located it and started breaking and hand sawing bits off it. I noticed our neighbour standing staring at me a few times when I was up there collecting wood, but didn't think anything off it...
One morning I was sitting in the lounge when I heard a racket in the backyard. I ran outside and found our landlord with a huge smile and a chain saw, busy sawing up the tree trunk, which was quite impossible with an ordinary hand saw. I thanked him and we chatted a bit. Later DH and rolled the rings down the bank and dragged it into the barn for splitting. We bought an axe and DH started the slow going task of splitting the rings into something we can fit in the stove. Needless to say it wasn't 2 days before the neighbour calmly pulled into our backyard with his tractor and log splitter. He gave DH a quick tutorial and told him to switch the engine off when he's done, he'll collect the tractor later..
We and our firewood situation were closely monitored after that. Once we ran out of wood and started collecting beach wood again the landlord dropped off some more "timber". He and the neighbour shared a piece of land and decided it's a good time to start cleaning some trees... Of course he followed shortly with the chainsaw, to cut it into logs for us, though I told him I really don't mind sawing it up with the handsaw. To this day I'm not sure how much of that was the incredible kindness of the Irish and how much was guilt, because our furnace was faulty and dangerous to use, but I was really blown away by the gestures.
Neighbor across the street from us was going to rent a log splitter at one point in time and let us use it as well. It never happened. And while I have a log splitter, I've found it's actually easier on me to split w/out it. Our splitter is electric, and splits horizontally. It can be very difficult to get large pieces of wood in it.