Saturday, January 7

Spring Weather and 1 Cord of Wood

It felt like spring here today. Well, not quite spring, but that time before the crocus pops up where it is still windy and it turns chilly when a cloud covers the sun. Being mid-January, there should be at least several inches of snow on the ground and slick coat of ice on my driveway, but it is absent and I am not bothered by it in the least.

Today we packed up the little man and the baby and headed over to Mom and Dads. The cemetery association decided a few weeks ago that the giant black walnut trees that lined the sides of the small cemetery had to go. They needed to continue the access road to reach the new section of plots, and the massive accumulation of large black walnuts had finally annoyed the wrong person on the board.

A company was called in to take out the trees, and they kept the best wood as part of the contract. The rest was left where it fell on either side of and in front of the cemetery for the association to deal with. Given that this town boasts a large percentage of wood burning stove owners, many of them the volunteer firemen and members of the cemetery association, there have been pickups and tractors with wagons at the cemetery religiously.

The pickings were getting slim as we got Dad's wagon hooked up to the tractor and rode the half mile from the house to the cemetery. Our faces were red from the chill breeze but I was so looking forward to cutting and loading wood that I did not care. The baby was safe with Mom in their warm house and the little man was encased in a large coat and warm hat.

i have been inactive for about 3 years now. Since I was in my 9th month of pregnancy with the little man, i have been sidelined from the best activities - loading wood, physical yard work, anything involving heavy lifting - basically anything fun in the form of manual labor. I enjoy manual labor and I miss it. Having and taking care of babies is a wonderful thing, but there is something to be said for getting that deep feeling of satisfaction out of a hard day of meaningful labor.

The cemetery looked so bare and open without those trees. You could see the houses surrounding it much more clearly and I wonder how they feel about looking out onto rows of headstones rather than thick, mature tree trunks. And the people in their final resting places must not be used to seeing televisions glowing at night, rather than the blackness of the wood and the full canvas of leaves.

Dad cut with the chain saw and we loaded. Even the little man helped out as best he could, finding the largest sticks and tossing them into the wagon to use for kindling next season. It was fantastic work and I loved every minute of it. It felt great, it smelled great and I wanted to get as many loads as possible. however, our trailer will only hold 1 cord without making the tires go flat.

That did not stop me from getting a few extra cords to leave in Dad's yard to pick up on future trips. The more wood you can have stockpiled at your home, the better. You will have nice seasoned wood to burn and you will be warm, even if the power goes out. It is a constant presence on the back burner, knowing that you are prepared for the cold that will come before this winter is through. Like having a stock pot of beans simmering in the kitchen, knowing that there is something warm and ready to eat when the need arises. The heating oil supply truck can not be relied on in an emergency, but putting on a pair of snow boots and hiking down to the barn for an armload of fuel is something I can count on.

It is a solid and steady resource that we have provided for ourselves and that works. It is not often that we can say that today.

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