Wild Ozark


~ Rock Foraging Nature Artist & Real Estate Agent in Kingston, AR ~

Madison Woods is my creative chosen name. My real name is Roxann Riedel, and aside from being a nature-loving artist, I’m a REALTOR® with Montgomery Whiteley Realty.

(479)409-3429, or email madison@wildozark.com

The endless task of firewood procurement.

Cutting Firewood, an Endless Homestead Task

Today is Christmas day and the family festivities are over. I had taken some pictures the other day with the intention to write a blog post about firewood, an endless homestead task. But time got away from me and so I figured I’d write it now while I’m unwinding with a cup of hot tea.


Aside from my art, one of my goals for 2024 is to write more often. Write for my blog, and to write on my fiction. The fiction has been untouched for far too long. While it’s cold this winter, it’s a good thing to do.

Homestead Goals

I made a lot of progress building out my garden last season and I’m looking forward to doing more on it this spring. Before it’s time to plant, I’ll need to get in there to clean out last year’s growth. And I’ll need to haul in more dirt for the beds. Soil. The proper word for that stuff is soil, lol.

Firewood Goals

One of Rob’s homestead goals is to have firewood ready before it’s time to use it. He made good headway on that earlier this year and our first rick of wood was already in the woodshed by the house before it got cold.

But we burned through that pretty quick and needed to get more of it cut and split. This summer we hope to have enough cut, split, and stacked to last us all winter long so we’re not out in the uncomfortable weather doing it out of necessity.

Last week was the last of the warmish weather days in the forecast without rain for a few days in a row. So we made a point to use those fair-weather days to cut firewood.

A Renewable Resource

We have never needed to cut a living tree down to make firewood here. Every year, new ones fall for one reason or another. Sometimes, lots of them come down, like when we had a heavy wet snow earlier this year. When that happens, we’ve got a lot of clearing work to do just to get out of our driveway. So we save the trees good for firewood and cut them later on.

Any cedar trees large enough get put in the stack for making boards. Other trees that burn well enough go into a stack for firewood. But the straight trunks of hardwoods go on the sawmill stack. Rob puts them on runners to keep them off of the ground so they can dry out some but not rot.


Rob is careful about cutting near the trunks of any trees. Sometimes there are old nails from old fences. And sometimes there can even be embedded rocks, if the tree lived at the creek’s edge. But this time it wasn’t anything like that.

There was a nest of some sort inside a hollow hackberry tree. I checked to make sure there were no critters in it, and no baby critters. No one home, thankfully.

A surprise in the firewood.

It looked like cedar bark shreds, and that’s great material for tinder to start fires. So I pulled it all out of there and set it aside.

A great pile of firestarter material from a critter's nest in a hollow log.

He didn’t want to save it, but I think it would be a great thing to keep in a bugout bag for emergency fire-starting material. So I kept it. But I’d better get it stashed away before he throws it out. Sometimes I’m as bad as the packrat that probably built that nest. But I still think it was a great find, ha.

What are your 2024 Goals, Wishes, or Desires?

Do you plan things for the new year, or just take whatever comes your way and roll with it? I do a combination of both. I like to have an idea of what I’d like to do, and sometimes I do make lists I hope to mark off. But most of the time it’s just an idea and it changes with whatever the year has in store.

My WISH is for an adventurous, happy and healthy year. We had enough time in the emergency rooms last year to last the rest of our lives.

GOALS include making more art, beginning my real estate career, growing a bountiful garden, and getting some fences built for the horses.

The DESIRES on my list include seeing Rob taking time to enjoy life more (especially since he got a second lease on it after the aortic issue recently), and for my children to all be healthy & successful in whatever they are doing with their lives this year, and a healthy and steady cash flow for Wild Ozark, and for me to continue forging my path in this creative life I lead.

I’ll have another post coming up on Jan. 1 about my 2024 Word of the Year, but I think this will be the last one for 2023. Happy New Year’s y’all!

Contact Mad Rox: (479) 409-3429 or madison@madisonwoods and let me know which hat I need to put on 🙂 Madison for art, Roxann for real estate, lol. Or call me Mad Rox and have them both covered!



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