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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Firewood: Day 6

There they are, sound asleep in the afternoon sun.  There are only four goats in this super-zoomed photo, which explains the fuzziness.

With only a little optical zoom, this is what they looked like.

I counted thirteen goats on the mountain face today.   Every day, it seems, more appear.

And this is what my woodpile looked like after I finished sawing yesterday, and Eric came to help split wood.  Eric lives in the apartment above the garage behind him.  It's on my property, and where I used to live before my husband and I built this big house farther away from the highway.

My dear friend Carlene e-mailed today that she is grateful she is still able to mow her lawn.   "At our ages," is what she implied.  I'll be seventy in a few months, close enough that I consider myself  seventy.  I'm at that age where we are totally amazed that we're still around, and begin to brag about how old we are.  I often think about my mother and my grandmother and wonder if they felt as young as I do when they were nearing seventy.  Somehow I just can't imagine that.

I've been asking myself why I do this.  I could just buy a cord of wood from the nearby sawmill, already cut and split.  Save myself a lot of work for not too much more money.

Instead, I chose to lay in enough wood for the next few years, thinking that perhaps I won't be able to do this in a few years.  On the other hand, maybe by that time I will have sold this house and moved into an apartment in the senior housing complex in nearby Cooper Landing.

See the uncut log that the wood splitter tongue is over?  That and the half log just to its right are the only two left to cut.  They will have to wait until I get a chain sharpened.  I couldn't even whittle my way through them yesterday.

Seriously, there's only one reason I do this stuff "at my age":  I love it.  I've always loved hard, physical labor.  I'm a glutton for this kind of punishment. And, I like the feeling of accomplishment, of being able to see how much I've accomplished each day.  There's a lot of satisfaction in that.

There's one more thing.  These logs were on a logging truck parked at the sawmill I drive past when I go to the post office in Moose Pass.  There was a "For Sale" sign on the logs.  I couldn't resist the challenge.  I think, down deep in those places we seldom examine, there was a hint of doubt, that I would be biting off more than I could handle.  I think I had to disprove that evil suspicion.

I replied to Carlene's e-mail.  I wrote that she didn't resemble a poster child for battered women when she finished mowing her lawn.  My forearms, the right one in particular, is an interesting pattern of bright red scratches and olive drab bruises.  I counted twenty-four bruises on my legs, and one nasty red scratch that would have needed stitches (but probably wouldn't have gotten any because I wouldn't have stopped working) had it been any deeper.  I didn't check it until I quit for the day, even though my jeans were torn and I thought I felt something trickling down my leg.

I'm not going to tell you how I got that scratch.  Suffice it to say, it's just a scratch.

Today is the seventh day of working on the wood pile, time to start transferring wood into the wood shed.  Eric has to go to work later today.  In the meantime, I'll do some rearranging and straightening in the woodshed and start that process.

After Eric leaves, I'll probably split wood.  It's a good day for it, cool, cloudy and a little breezy.

As of this morning, I have lost exactly a pound and a half after a week of this hard labor, even with skipping lunch every day.  Because of that, I am led to one inescapable conclusion:  Bruises weigh more than fat. 


  1. I'm nearly running out of things to say about your awesome undertaking. I do have this thought. When you build muscle, which I'm sure is present beneath your colorful bruises, you definitely will add weight. I'll humor you by agreeing that bruises carry a substantial amount of weight within them as well.

    So congrats! You managed to gain ONLY one and a half pounds.

    Another thought--you rock!!!

  2. You remind me of Buck. Tonight he looks like he had barbed wire tattooed in red ink all around his arms and legs. He spent yesterday sawing and dragging limbs that were closing in on our road between house and gate. The blackberry briars are already ferocious here, and grabbed him every time he dragged a pile of limbs back into the deep woods.

    Where was I? Up on a ladder taking down all the outdoor brass lights to clean, sand as necessary and use Brasso or Maas polish (for some crazy reason one worked better on some and the other worked better on others). All in all I definitely had the easier job. (I couldn't do a couple of them because birds have wedged spring nests between light and wall, so we'll have to wait awhile!)

    Either one's a lot lighter than your current task. Good on you!

  3. I hope I'm just like you when I'm (nearly) seventy. I understand what you mean when you say you like physical labor. My first real job was pruning Christmas trees. It feels weird to get paid now for teaching preschoolers. I feel like I need to be doing physical work to get paid, not just working my brain (and my voice, lol).

  4. Great series on your hard work. After sitting on my a@% all day at work, I love to go home and get physical. And yes, I usually have some badges of honor when I get finished with my chores.

  5. I was reading your stuff on Ann's blog and I had to come by and say Hi.
    I just had to check out this Gullible character.
    I like physical labor too, I can sit there and watch it all day.

    Anyway I love your posts.