Bringing in the Winter Wood

Last weekend, barely ahead of this season’s first big snowfall, I brought in the last of the ash, beech, ironwood, and maple logs that I’d been tossing into heaps throughout our woods all year. One wheelbarrow load at a time, those heaps became orderly stacks near the house, where the logs will continue to dry for use next year and maybe the year after that.

The wood we burn in our fireplace comes almost entirely from trees that come down on their own. I cut the fallen trees into fireplace-length pieces, then split those pieces into cord wood. I rarely fell trees, and never healthy trees or big ones. W20161007_121226hen I see a big tree that needs to come down, I remember D.H. Lawrence’s vivid story “The Fox” and, not wishing to end up like Jill Bannon, I call a professional to do the job. I get to work with my chain saw only when the tree is safely on the ground

Vermonters often say that firewood heats you several times, not just when it’s burned. When you cut and split your own wood and haul it uphill in wheelbarrows, you’re apt to shed your jacket just minutes into a chilly day’s work. Even if you buy cord wood and have it delivered to your driveway, you can work up quite a sweat just stacking it.

Firewood can cool you, too, I’ve learned. We just burned the last of the wood that I cut and split a couple of years ago in a rage at a relative. Rather than pick up the phone or fire off a furious email, I stomped into the woods with my chainsaw and splitting axe. At the end of the day, instead of an aching heart and a severed attachment to someone I love, I had a cooler head and a gigantic heap of firewood to keep our home warm even on Vermont’s coldest winter days.

2 Responses

  1. TLV
    | Reply

    Let’s here it for cooler minds prevailing, and finding ways to stay connected to love ones, even when it is difficult. However, I will need to use other tools. I cannot believe that you are still using a chainsaw and an axe.
    You are definitely one of my S/heros.

  2. Confidence Stimpson
    | Reply

    What a great feeling of satisfaction (hey, look what I did!) and security (now we’ll be nice and warm for years!) this must give you! Does Zoe watch you through the window? Does Lynne make you a nice hot cup of cider with a clove of cinnamon in it when you come back inside?

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