Enough Meditation and Prayer Until Spring
The Christian Mystic, Evelyn Underhill wrote, "Work is a form of prayer." (I would refine this as "work joyfully and well done is a form of prayer". As I have written before I like to think of preparing the Winter's wood as a form of meditation, the Zen of Wood. One had to give one over to the task, study the wood for the best lines of fracture, feel the pains of your muscles, let the sweat pour forth and the build an artful pile to let the wind and the sun cure the wood to just the right moisture content.
Well! my experience of Zen is over for this year. The wood is done. I have split and piled in the basement about ten face cord of wood, which is dry and ready to burn. David, my faithful helper, and I have cut, split and piled about 15 face cord outside which I will cover with a tarp to keep the rain and snow off . The heat, wind and cold will cure the wood for use in the late Winter and Spring.
See David loading the last of the wood into his "truck".
We have three piles of stovewood over four feet high and 33 feet long. and the beginning of a fourth. I estimate about 15 face cords.
For those of you whose lives are not organized around wood, a cord is a measure of wood. At one time, there was a forestry trade called a scaler. He would come into the bush and scale,(measure) the wood in logs. Loggers were paid by the cord. it is an inexact measure. There are two scales, one favours the logger and the other favours the purchaser of the wood. Guess which one the government scaler used.? Now wood is seldom scaled. It is weighed. The logger is paid by the tonne (we use metric tonnes in Canada), as is the trucker and the contractor who manages the wood lot. It is fairer as long as the logger gets a variety of species to cut and the logs are not left on the ground too long for they can dry out and lose weight.
The cord is a measure still used for firewood. Legally, " a cord is 128 cu feet of air and wood". This is a pile of cord wood 4' X 4' X 8. If it is pile of boards rather than round or split wood it is 70 cu feet. The cord of firewood is also inexact for their is more wood in a pile of split wood than is a pile of round wood.
Around here people have gotten into the habit of calling a face cord, 16" X 4' X 8', a cord. It is actually 1/3 of a cord. Seller's beware. I am waiting to purchase some cords of wood and have a seller bring me only face cords. Where are my 2/3 of a cord?? A legal case could be won. When you are buying and comparing prices, know what you are talking about.
To confuse it even further there are long cords. This is wood two feet long rather than 16". It is in fact 1/2 cord.
I am sure you are finding this fascinating. Sorry.!
My dear friend, Madam Carré, once told me she was not going to leave me her estate when she died. For a number of years she had said she was going to. I spent a lot of time trying to dissuade her. I would find it very embarassing for her daughters and grandchildren and great granchildren are my neighbours. There were already whispers that I was after her money.
When she told me this, I told her I was relieved. I told her I never wanted anything from her except her friendship, "and that would last me a lifetime.". Then I added, there is one thing of hers I coveted,. . . . . her scalers rule, (she and her husband had been jobbers logging in the bush). I half expected her to give it to me on the spot but she didn't. Her Grandson next door has it now.
To complete the story, after she died her daughter came by the house with a large framed jigsaw puzzle of a lovely farm scene, which we had put together over many cups of coffee. "My mother wanted you to have this picture." It hangs in a place of honour in my library. I know she like this jigsaw picture and she apparently associated with it quality time with me.
Still, I sure would like a scaler's rule.
Here is David resting on his walker. He calls it his "truck". While I am the logger he is the trucker. He has managed to do quite a bit of work. He seem to relish working (He has worked hard all his life). Just as we were finishing he asked me if i was going to get some more to cut and spit. "You can never have too much wood." Here he can not only do a little work but he can watch the dogs, pigs and cows in the yard. Also, overhead these days are flocks of honking geese which sometime land to rest on my fields. I may give in and get some slab wood to cut up for kindling. David could help with this also.
Here are some of my neighbour's cows which came for a visit. I called him to let him know and that they were not on the road. The two in the front are mine. They got a close as the electric fence would allow. I suspect they were checking to see if the bull came this herd of cows and calves. They are both in need of a good breeding (aren't we all) unfortunately the bull did not come. I must have one over for a couple of weeks of good grazing and cow companionship.