Dancing on Marbles

Lots of attention is being paid to neighborhood firewood piles this time of year. I think one of the best things about our rural life is that we have options if times get tough. While wood heat isn’t as even or convenient as a fossil fuel furnace, it works when the power or the money runs out. And up here in the dead of winter, keeping warm is a priority for 4 months of the year.

firewoodLast weekend, a buddy of mine and I spent a couple of hours helping a disabled neighbor get in a few more cords of firewood for the winter. We both brought our saws and worked at opposite sides of this log pile. While I was cutting, I thought back on the 4+ decades of winter wood I’ve made.

In the early (more agile) days of my firewood career, I would cut up lots of logs at a time. There would be 16″ “rounds” laying all over the ground in all sorts of directions. What I liked about that technique was I could roll a log up onto the rounds, cut it up, and not have to worry about my chain hitting the dirt. There is a downside to this technique, however.

There is a lot going on when running a saw. It is easy to be concentrating on one thing and lose concentration on another. One wrong step and your foot can plant itself on a round. Suddenly there is a running saw being held by a goofball that is dancing on marbles. In my more agile days, I’d laugh at my stupidity, pick myself up, dust myself off, and resume sawing.

Now-a-days, I roll one log, maybe two, off the pile, saw them up, shut off the saw, toss the rounds into the pile, and then roll another log or two. Nothing to trip on, no more dance routines, no running saw to toss away as I’m going down. The wood pile grows more slowly than it used to, but I spend more time upright on my two feet.

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