"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm too tired to think of a title...

I tried to kill myself today.

Hmmmm. Maybe that isn't quite what I meant to say. Hang on while I think about this a bit. (Man, this is gonna hurt...)

Okay, how's this:

I almost worked myself to death today. Yeah, that's it. What happened was I went after firewood today, just a couple hundred yards from my house, and right alongside the highway. That meant I could drive up and park on the shoulder. The downed trees were between fifteen and twenty feet off the road. They'd been cut down two years ago when the highway crew was clearing its right of way so the sun would hit the highway during the winter and help get rid of the ice build-up.

The only problem with that is this valley loses direct sunlight from mid-November until mid-February, then slowly gains a few minutes a day. Ain't no sun gonna shine on that road!

Anyway, I've had my eye on a birch tree that no one else had seen. Now, birch is the a-number-one-primo firewood in these parts. It's a hardwood, and that means it has a higher BTU rating, which means it produces more heat. It also lasts longer in the woodstove, so most folks burn spruce during the daytime, then pack the stove full of birch at night. If we're real lucky, it'll hold a fire overnight, so all we have to do is add spruce in the morning and voila! more fire.

I put a new chain on my Stihl chainsaw and went to work. Stumbling around in the brush, shoulder-high fireweed stalks, and slippery vegetation, I found my coveted birch tree.....and more. There were several birches in that area, as well as some spruce.

Well, I fired up the saw and started cutting the tree trunks into lengths I thought would be easy enough to carry up to the truck. In logging terms, I bucked up the trees. Cut off branches, cut the trunks into lengths, etc. Then I set the saw aside and began hauling to rounds up onto the shoulder to load into the truck.

Holy snarlin' snakesh-t, as old Ed used to say! That stuff hasn't dried out at all. It may as well be green wood! I reckon laying out there in the rain and snow for two years didn't do it any good for drying out. I won't be burning this stuff this year.

By the time I got two skimpy short-bed pickup loads home, I was ready to pack it in for the day. I hurt. My back and legs are fine, because of all the litter-picking I do, but the shoulders? Oh, man. Two Aleve haven't helped at all.

And here comes the hard-to-believe part: This wood has road sand all over it. I'm going to have to get the hose out and wash this stuff off before I cut it into woodstove lengths. Yes, I have to wet it down some more. Either that, or I'm going to ruin my new chain.

While I was out there working, I realized that many of my neighbors are taking advantage of our second day without rain. Our neighborhood's spread out over a mile of highway, but I know of two building projects and five firewood projects going on today.

All of which brings me to what I wanted to write about. This month, September, is an anniversary of sorts. When my husband and I made out our living wills, he told me he wanted to be cremated, but never had an answer for where he wanted his ashes. I thought for a long time about it, and came up with three locations. Part of his ashes were sprinkled on the small plane airstrip he built behind our property, and part were taken into the Kenai mountains and spread near a hunting cabin where his friend Jack also lies.

The other third went with me last year to Boulder Creek in the Talkeetna mountains, to be spread where his friend Tom lies. Because this was done a year ago this month, and you haven't read about it, I'm going to post the six stories I wrote about that trip into the Talkeetna mountains.

So, coming up, The Boulder Creek Journals.


PS: No pictures to post about today's activities. I started out the door with my camera today, and that was the last I've seen of it.... Typical.

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