All the work I’ve been doing with pica lately, watching them putting up hay for the winter, reminds me I need to get busy doing the same thing. Only instead of hay, I need to start cutting wood.
I’ve been heating with wood for twenty-five years. In some ways gathering wood each fall has kept me connected with my past. Growing up on the farm and helping with harvest. Whether it was corn, hay or soybeans, the satisfaction when the hayloft was full and the corncribs were overflowing is something I’ll always remember. Let the winter come, we’re ready.
When we first moved to Silver Gate, there was an abundance of 1988 fire killed trees to harvest. Now, years later it’s mostly beetle kill or blow down timber that we are clearing. I reserved the lodge pole pine for the woodstove only and everything else (spruce, fir and whatever) for the fireplace. Cindy and I usually work a couple times a week for 4-5 hours in September thru October to get enough wood cut and hauled in.
I must admit I like the feeling when sharp chain bites into dry wood. The utopia when a heavy tree crashes to the ground in the exact spot I predicted.
Years ago, Cindy and I would wheel barrel ten cords of wood to our cabin. Then one day we were sitting on a pile of wood resting, when I looked at her and remarked “our car’s paid off”. Cindy was confused for a bit, then slowly began to smile. Fifteen years later our old 87 Nissan still hauls our wood. As a matter of fact, fall is now the only time we use the car.
Once I was cutting when a ruffed grouse and her brood filled by completely unaffected by the saws whine. Another time a weasel bounded around me and this year a couple of bison watched me from the trees.
Cutting fire wood season is just that. A season. Just like the first snow of winter, the green up of spring and the long warm carefree days of summer. Fall means it’s time to harvest wood and we don’t dread it. We don’t revel in it. It’s just when needs to be done to survive in the woods.
When you visit us this winter and warm by our fire you’ll know it’s a gift from us to you. A gift we give freely and ask only your friendship in return.
As I hit the off button on my saw and set it down on an old stump, I gaze at the rocky cliffs high above. Two mountain goats climb across a steep slope. A jay lands nearby to scold me. I’m done. That was the last cut of the season. Let winter come. We’re ready.