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I took a break from raking leaves to stack wood.  I had two and a half cords delivered Monday.  I arrived from work in the late afternoon, changed clothes, ate an apple and some cider, and got to work.  It’s a lot of wood for one guy to move.  Here you see it, dumped in front of the shed where I would store it:

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I had asked a friend for a hand, promising pizza and beer, and he sounded agreeable.  After half an hour, as I began to strain and sweat, I sensed he was a no-show.  This premonition proved correct; in fact, I still haven’t heard from him.  I would have welcomed his help, but neither did I mind working myself.  There’s appealing simplicity in this job, clarified further when one works alone.  The pile took shape quickly:

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One cord of wood measures four feet high and deep by eight feet long.  Depending upon species, a dry cord weighs a bit over three thousand pounds.  The wood in my driveway, then, probably totaled eight thousand pounds.  That’s good exercise.

I hoped to stack everything in one stretch, mainly as a challenge.  The sun set, so I moved the Jeep nearby and shone the headlights.  I put Johnny Cash on the radio and kept going.  The work becomes hypnotic, almost inducing a trace: gather an armload, heave a little to stand, five paces to the shed, stack, five paces back, gather an armload, heave a little, five paces, stack, pace, gather, heave, pace, stack, pace, repeat, repeat, repeat.  The wood thuds and clatters into place, releasing an earthy, faintly spicy scent.  Every so often, I admire the firewood:

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I packed wood to the rafters.  I thought about the frozen January days when the pile begins running low.  I thought about snow.  I thought about the mice that explore the endless crevices between these logs, building nests of straw, leaves, and stray feathers.  I discover the little nests as winter progresses.  I thought about how I love the burning stove.  I thought about how my two dogs loved it, basking side by side in the fire’s glow.  I thought about how I’ll miss the dogs this winter.

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I did not succeed in stacking the entire two and a half cords in one stretch.  If it weren’t for the darkness and my work in the morning (this was, recall, Monday evening), I think I could have done it.  Instead, I did a little under two cords, then, very hungry, treated myself to the pizza and beer.  I finished the next day.

I can’t wait for winter.

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3 thoughts on “Firewood.

  1. I love reading your blogs, Dave. I can hear your voice in my head while reading them and I, too, find peace, simple joy and feel good endorphins while stacking wood – ever since I was little. It is a great feeling and change of pace to work with ones hands to create something of an accomplishment. I could even hear the armloads of logs thudding and tumbling into place and the spicy, loamy smell of the wood ; ) Thank you for continuing to write and sharing your thoughts with all of us at large.

  2. Well done, David. This year we have no apple to stack which means much easier stacking (I’ll let you guess why). I cut down an Ash and split it; this was really fun! Ash splits so easily. It makes you feel like you’re some good at it.

  3. Dave: your writing brought me back to the good old times in Woodstock; when I cut dead trees and transported them to the house, split the trunks and stacked the wood under the roof of the back porch. Great memories of my once
    healty and able body.

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