Tag Archives: firewood

Endless clink of logs: filling the wood room another moonlit night

Full cold steady stare of white moon’s face illuminates our wood room filling adventures.

Sparkling snowflakes gleam against dark evergreens like fireflies.  Soft and alive and diamond, then gone.

We crank open the heavy wood room door.  An endless winter chore.  Three and a half tall rows of split wood must be hauled in from the tidy silver tarp-covered wood pile and stacked in our wood room.

We fill the unfinished wood room after dark.  It takes three nights because we’re–dare I label it?–almost elders.  It takes middle-aged folks longer than spry young’uns.  We fill maybe an inside row each evening with the heavy maple logs. (In our pioneer youth with willing children, if we were lucky to get willing children to help, we did this in a night.  I swear it was so.)

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Morning stories from the woods

Outside–just now–coyotes yipping, close to the house. Neighbor’s little dogs barking furiously.  Cacophony in the woods!  My heart pounds.

Suddenly, all still.  Hopefully the dogs ran, tails between legs, back home.  Hopefully, coyotes didn’t breakfast until later.

Dark lingers these mornings, but it will lighten earlier next weekend when Daylight Savings Time flies away with the last honking geese.

Geese

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“Honey, our log truck of firewood is here.”

Here's our annual delivery of wood--a log truck's worth.

Yesterday morning the phone rang insistently at 7:30 a.m. as we sat on the living room couch sipping coffee and discussing camera ISO settings.  Barry was attempting to explain camera settings to Kathy, for the 600th time.

Finally, in desperation, he compared ISO settings to lighting wood stove fires.

Something about how higher ISO settings compare to throwing gasoline in the wood stove.  (I know this might not make sense to you photography buffs, but maybe, just maybe, his explanation made sense in the crevices of this non-mechanical brain.  Maybe.)

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Stacking firewood at midnight.

The scene of the midnight action.

OK, readers.  This wasn’t as much fun as our Chili Party at Midnight last summer.

I am also sneaking this blog in before the promised photo-blog of more beautiful autumn colors.  You fall photo fans, hold your horses.  The colorful leaves shall appear soon.  I promise.

Here’s what happened last night.  We ate supper early, around 5 p.m.  Greek salad and goulash, in case you wanted to know.  Barry had helped his friend, John, pull out his boat at the marina yesterday afternoon and power-wash it.

We checked the weather forecast.

“Heavy rain tomorrow,” announced Barry. “We have to split two more loads of firewood before my surgeries.  You up to splitting another load?”

The surgeries he is referring to include a 1) heart catheterization next week–which is not really a surgery–just an outpatient procedure in which they drive a long tube up your groin headed for your heart to check things out.  He’s being doctored for an irregular heartbeat, for those not in the know, and 2) arthroscopic knee surgery the following week.

So off we skipped–I mean walked and limped–to the wood pile to split another load of wood.

It’s what we do every nice evening.  For you non-wood splitters, here’s the routine.

When I was a spry chick in June 2009

1.  We uncover the tarp from the tractor.

2.  I start the finicky 1949 Studebaker pickup truck and back it up to the woodsplitter. 

3.  We start the woodsplitter.  (I am leaving out some minor steps like moving the woodsplitter and tractor, but you get the gist, right?)  We put on earphones and gloves.

4.  Barry picks up the heavy logs which have been chainsawed into manageable pieces and places them on the woodsplitter.

5.  Kathy operates the lever which moves a crushing metal bar against the log toward the gleaming silver splitting head.

6.  The large log splits into chunks.

7.  Kathy and Barry carry the logs over to the Studebaker and stack rows.  Usually we stack three rows one night; two rows the following night.

8.  When our rows are filled we turn off the tractor and splitter and cover it.  One of us drives the truck back to our permanent woodpile.  We then unload it.  Which means you must re-handle every log and stack it nicely, no cheating or throwing wildly.  It also means pulling yourself up into the back of the truck at least three or four times to help unload. 

(Did you read that carefully?  There will be a quiz.)

The delivery scene last winter. One truckload of wood. At least we didn't have to cut down the trees this time!

Back to last night.  We split up our load of wood.  Only one slight scrape on Barry’s palm.  No other injuries.  We are very careful.  Splitting wood is a job which requires full attention.

“You want to unload the truck, too?” asks my splitting partner.

“Absolutely not,” Kathy replies.  “We’ve done more work that usual tonight.  And you have overdone it on your knee.  No.  Absolutely not.”

Kathy decides to look at other blog layout formats–to try out some new blog clothes.  She can’t decide anything.  She goes to bed at 9:30.  Snooze…snooze…oh no, it’s going to be one of those nights.  You lie in bed and watch your mind thinking and creating and singing and dancing and doing everything BUT sleeping.

By 10:15 she’s up.  Barry comes in from the garage.

“We’re getting old,” says he.

“Speak for yourself,” says she.

“Want to unload the wood?” asks he.

“Absolutely not,” says she.  “Are you nuts?”

Another hour passes.  Barry reads my blog.  “Wow, you have over 300 hits!” he announces. 

“I don’t know what’s happening,” she gasps.  “Two days in a row!  The world’s done gone crazy!”

“Maybe,” she continues, “they all want to see the new the new layout.  Or maybe–they keep checking to see if it’s changed…”

Of course thinking about this does not make one sleepy.

“Let’s go stack a load,” the insistent slave-driver suggests again.

“I do not work after 9:30 p.m.,” snarls the lady of the house.

“It’s going to rain, Kathy!” the pre-surgery patient begs.  “We need to get that wood stacked…”

Long pause.  Long pregnant pause in which the sleepless non-worker ponders life.  Thinks about how inflexible she’s being.  And says–

“OK, buddy, let’s go.  Time to stack our firewood at midnight.”

I LOVE this picture! I can guarantee our wood stacker was not moving this fast.

Off we went.  The Canada geese started honking down on the bay, indignant at our racket.  Stars twinkled overhead.  It was a mild September eve.  Our spotlight aimed at the woodpile and we unloaded and stacked, unloaded and stacked, unloaded and stacked some more.

And that’s our story.  I’m sticking to it.  Sleep finally arrived–ah, blessed sleep!–about 1:30 a.m.

Fortunately, it’s suppose to rain today.  Heavy rain.  Wind.  Waves up to fourteen feet farther out in the Big Lake. 

Which means we get a day off. 

It’s good to have our chores done. Except for that next load.

(Voluntary quiz:  What year Studebaker truck does this family own?  Why do they burn wood?  How many years have they burned wood?  Do they own a backup heater?  And, last but not least, do they like wood heat?  Tee hee.  Teacher cheated.  You will have to imagine some of these answers.)

The pussy willow post

Pussy willow

It is assuredly spring in the North woods.

The snow hath melted–finally.  Even the snow-plowed banks have melted.  Last week’s surprise snowstorm has melted.

We are all heaving a sigh a relief–and delight.

Pussy willows lying sedately against telephone pole

The pussy willows are blooming everywhere.  Spring is settling into the  ditches and trees and plants of the landscape.  Spring is announcing her arrival with flair!

We can only stand by and rejoice.  The long winter is finally…dare we utter the word?…over!

Pussy willow welcomes hungry ant to dinner

Barry and I have been splitting and hauling and stacking wood faithfully lately.  Almost every day.  We didn’t get as many logs delivered as last year, so this year’s chore seems leisurely.  Only one more load now.  After that, we may choose to chop down a couple of dead trees, or perhaps trees in danger of falling upon buildings.  But we’re almost done.  (Sorry, I’ve forgotten to report the wood-splitting chore to you this year.  If you want to read more about our annual wood splitting fun please click here or here.)

Pussy willow poses for camera

I am enjoying spending time each day in these beloved North Woods.  The mosquitoes are not around–or, if they do appear–refuse to bite.  The temperature ranges between the 40′s and 60′s.  It’s an early spring. 

We do, however, need rain.  Please send some our way.  We don’t need any wildfires this year.  Please.

Pussy willow in the sky

Hoping that you are all enjoying Spring wherever you may be.  Or, if you’re on the other side of the world, that you’re enjoying autumn. 

What is your favorite part of spring?  Do you feel energized and inspired at this time of year?  Is this one of your favorite seasons?