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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doing Wood

I am busy "doing wood" these days. This involves felling trees, skidding the tree length logs out of the bush, cutting it into blocks, piling it so it can cure in the heat and wind and finally moving it into the basement of the house.

Better late than never this year. I should have done this in the Spring. I will have to buy some properly cured wood for the early Winter. What I am cutting now is green and may cure by late Winter if I cover it and keep it dry.

Not getting your wood cut, stacked and cured before Winter is an unforgivable sin in the country. I will pay this Winter with some low grade heat. Shame on me.

This is my friend Dave. He died last year. He was a local who lived and worked in this area all his life. He raised 10 children. NO! he was not a sex fiend, he was a Catholic. :) For his generation 10 children was not an outrageous number. Some had as many as 20 children in French Canadian Catholic families. Life was hard and many hands made light work. . .or so they claim.

Dave lived with me, with his second wife June (his caregiver), for four years. He enjoyed helping with the wood. He piled split faggots of wood on his walker and wheeled them to the pile and added them to our growing woodpile. We joked about this as I call him the trucker. He made a difference in the work load (slow and steady) and I enjoyed his company. He is missed.

This is the business end of a skidder for those unfamiliar with logging. The chocker cables you see hanging from the arch are attached to a mainline steel cable attached to a winch. The mainline is dragged out and the chockers go around the tree length logs and the bunch of logs is winched up to the skidder until their butts are off the ground. Then they are dragged out of the bush.

My friend Leo has only five chockers on his skidder. On the skidder I operated ,I had as many as 15. It was a bigger skidder and I could skid a bunch of mixed sized logs out of the bush at a time.

We skidded out some trees I had cut. What is here is about 1/3 of what I have down in the bush.
This will get me going for now.

(click on the photo to enlarge)

Here is my effort so far. (Don't you just love the late afternoon light). I build three piles at a time. Every 8 feet is about one cord (128 cubic feet of wood and air) or three face cords. I need 20 to 30 face cords of split stove wood. So I have a way to go.

I like spitting wood by hand with a maul. I think of it as the "zen of wood". It is a kind of meditation, requiring both concentration, study of the wood and it's splitting lines and the physical effort to strike the perfect blow so the block splits artfully. I know. . .you think I am nuts! Could be! I turn down the offer of mechanical splitters.

In a week or so the effort will not leave me with painful shoulders and back. I will be humming along by then. It give one a great deal of satisfaction in the Spring to have a lovely pile of wood knowing that you have quality fuel for your Winter heat. I shall miss that as I stuggle with less than perfect wood this year.

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At 8:36 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You must be strong and in good shape.

At 12:05 a.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Happy splitting--and take care.
I remember you writing about Dave and splitting wood in prior years.

At 12:58 a.m., Blogger Sissy said...

Isn't there a nice strong boy around you can coax into helping you? This post brings back a returning nightmare I lived trying to gather wood for so many years. Do you have a cell phone in your pocket! Just in case...
This worries me.

At 10:50 a.m., Blogger Loretta said...

Makes me remember being in the woods with my daddy. I've still got his old ax and maul. He too could strike that perfect blow. I've watched men hammer away at a block of wood and wished he were here to show them what a real wood cutter can do. Take care.

At 4:14 p.m., Blogger possum said...

There is nothing like the smell of a nice wood fire. I miss mine, but not the work.
I know you miss Dave.

I give away trees every year to a neighbor... he cuts them and takes them home to heat his house... keeps him warm, keeps my woods open for the pines to grow. Anybody wants any gum trees? - they are yours for the asking!

At 5:20 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I remember your wood splitting from last year's blog ! I think you're being too hard on yourself. You keep up that place on your own and that can't be easy.
BTW: my husband loved splitting wood the old fashioned way too. He would hum a happy tune as he piled up the wood.

At 9:14 p.m., Blogger amelia said...

That's one thing we do have is a log splitter!! It's such hard work without one although it didn't get used this year at all!

Take care with the chain saw, you don't need to be losing any fingers, toes or worse, limbs!!!!

At 11:06 p.m., Blogger John and Carol said...

Wow, you really use a lot of wood! We heated with wood one winter in the Colorado mountains. We had electric heat to keep the temp up to 50 degrees F, used wood above that. We needed one cord a winter, I think. We we used a mechanical splitter. You really work hard. Enjoy.

At 8:02 a.m., OpenID goodnightgram said...

Philip: What an interesting post. I loved the photo with the afternoon light, too. Sorry you have gotten a late start to doing wood, though. And I'm sorry to read about Dave's death. Sounds like a very good friend. Thanks for taking a break from your work to tell us about it. Take care.

At 5:43 p.m., Blogger Mary said...

Philip, Believe it or not, I miss the days of woodstoves and splitting wood. Yes, I've split and carried my share to the wooden crate behind the woodstove. I love the smell of the wood and also the smell of it burning. I enjoy nippy evenings when I step out onto my porch and smell the smoke from my neighbor's chimney. There's nothing quite like it and it brings back memories.

Hoping you keep warm this winter.


At 10:09 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

My dad came from a brood of 18 kids. Yeah, Catholic. I also think it's because there was no TV back then. Nothing else to do! :)

We can't have a woodburning stove here. Our insurance won't allow it. I grew up with one and really miss it. Hubby & my first place had a fireplace. I really loved that one. Yeah, no tv either. :p


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