There are plenty of rock walls in New England… but visitors to the convent grounds here at SBC may wonder what the wall of full size trees along the cemetery road is all about. This oversized privacy screen may not be the prettiest part of the monastery… but it is a very important one – as it is the source of fuel that heats 10 of the 12 buildings that make up the monastery complex… a heating system that needs 10 – 20 tractor trailer loads of chips a year which is about 300 cords. Okay, so how do you chip a forest of full size trees into fuel? Easy – you get a big yellow “reduction machine” which is a nice term for the  gigantic wood grinder called “the Beast.”

This versatile horizontal grinder produces screened chips for biomass fuel wood burners, like the one that will heat our monastery.

Thanks to the Beast, our old excavator – and of course, the Brothers – alot of full-sized trees can be devoured in a matter of minutes. It takes grapple loads of brush all at once and many pallets at a time, separating the nails with a magnet. And the heat is generated across the monastery – a big improvement from stoking various wood stoves all over the property! It’s bigger, it’s better,  it’s “green”– and brings a new definition to “back to the grind!” But most of all, it saves a lot of heating bills!

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