Friday, January 31, 2014

Firewood Gettin'

Back in late October, I was having a spirited debate with a large tree concerning our differing views on the law of the conservation of energy and how it should apply to said tree. I was of the opinion that now was a good time for the tree's stored energy to be converted into a new state, while the tree remained rather steadfast in its belief that its energy should remain conserved in its current state.

I eventually won that debate (and if you're wondering, the orange stuff on the stump is smashed-up Halloween jack 'o lantern left out for the deer...).

 But not before the tree, perhaps given to the same sort of rage that could turn any literary, scientic, or philosophical debate deadly, tried to kill me. As a result, I wasn't really physically able to get back down to the farm to cut more wood for a couple weeks, and by then bird season had started, so I put it off, hoping that what I had already cut, split, and stacked would suffice until bird season was over. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cutting firewood, it's a very contemplative and self-satisfying endeavor. Just not as much as bird hunting.

Real woodcutters living in northern climes who cut all their wood pre-season will scoff, but living in Oklahoma, where the winters are generally mild and dry pleasantness interspersed with temporary bouts of brutal, windswept misery, I can get away with being lazy. Plus, I have a large amount of dead-standing hardwood to use, so I generally don't have to cut wood and then let it season before using it.

Unfortunately, this winter has been a whole lot colder for everyone, including us. I've burned a lot of wood. So with my firewood dwindling and a winter storm coming in this weekend, yesterday I loaded up the truck and went wood-cutting. Now I've previously written about what a pain in the ass cedar trees are when cutting firewood. And yesterday I went back and revisited the spot I wrote about in that blog post.

All the blood, sweat and tears I expended back in August clearing out this area paid off, as it actually didn't take too long to cut a pick-up load of firewood. Unfortunately, I had to carry each round, piece by piece, up out of the canyon to the truck above me...

Trust me, it's farther and higher than it looks. Or maybe I'm getting old. One or the other. I did, however, have some help from a re-purposed pair of antique ice tongs that I use to carry the larger rounds cut from the base of the tree...

They belonged to my wife's grandfather, and work as well for toting wood up hills as I'm sure they did toting those big blocks of ice. In another bit of re-purposing, I also use a pair of old railroad tie tongs that belonged to my grandfather to skid around the larger sections of wood and position them for bucking...

All in all it was a warm and agreeable wood-cutting session. I filled the back of the truck with enough stored sunshine to hopefully see us through the next few weeks, no trees attempted to murder me, the chainsaws played nice, and I even had enough time and energy left over to grab the 10/22 (stainless, walnut-stocked Mannlicher version, my favorite) and take a walk down the canyon on a quick porcupine/squirrel patrol. Nothing doing there, so I shot a few tin cans instead, walked around a bit, looked for interesting rocks, scoped out a few new spots to build stands for next year, and then went home. I've spent worse days.


  1. Good lord Chad, either get a real truck, or at least a big ol' winch for the front of your truck. That, plus a good 500' of steel cable and a couple of blocks and you'll be firewooding like we do out here in Wyomng, er, Wyoming.

  2. Yeah, the idea is not to kill yourself. My PD has pretty well put an end to the chainsaw part, but I am still splitting and stacking, and glad of it as our winters, as far south but a lot higher than yours, are COLD. Below zero tonight maybe...

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