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Don't cut wood in your pyjamas


I moved into a new house this past summer. Well a new province truth be told, but that’s another story. In our new house we have electric baseboard heaters in each room, but the front room has a lovely wood stove. Seeing this stove, I thought it would be an ideal way to heat the house in the winter. Use wood, a relatively cheap yet renewable resource, and save money on electric heat, which in our neck of the wood uses non-renewable resources.

So my sister and I speak to our new neighbours, check prices, and research what it means to be a wood burner. In case you are wondering, this method of heating is not for wimps, nor is it for the uninformed.

For example, when you wake up on a chilly fall morning and the house is cold and the Chihuahua is walking around with her teeth chattering, you need kindling to start the fire. If you do not have a nice pile of kindling ready, you cannot expect that scrunched up newspaper will start a big log. Nope.

Now if you decide to head to the woodpile in your housecoat, be prepared. That axe handle is damned cold. And when you lift the axe overhead in order to take a first resounding whack at that stump of wood, expect that your housecoat is going to come undone and somehow in the motion of that full swing, things are flapping around and the axe glances off the top of the danged log and takes a chunk out of the garage floor instead. Yes, I was chopping wood in the garage. You didn’t really think I’d be outside in the open doing this did you? Why would I chop outside where the neighbours might see me in my earliest attempts to cut a piece of wood? Where my housecoat flying open could reveal what I sleep in (which is not much, in case you went there already).

When it is cold, chopping wood is best done in your heavy denim cowboy jeans, a pair of work boots rather than slippers, and a good pair of leather work gloves. I know I look like a keener but I think it was worth not getting caught in the whirling swirling ribbon of dressing gown or introducing the axe – shiny and newly sharp – to my slippers. I have now developed a system for cutting wood. When I am at my dining room table writing, I need frequent breaks to keep me awake and my writing stimulating. I write, chop, steep tea, write some more, chop and dump the now cold tea and exchange it for a hot one…and the house gets lovely and warm with all that wood burning. And I have all my fingers and toes and can now quite confidently chop wood in my back yard. Yup.

1 comment:

dad said...

Wow that’s a real tour de force pity you got my birthday wrong though otherwise I should be 75 this Friday and I know that cannot be so since I remember that band on the lawn so clearly and it’s only a few years ago – isn’t it?

See if I can help with the childhood memories how about Guy Fawks in the rain on Bovingdon air field, rhubarb crumble from Home Ec. at Longdean School, talking to the Elk at Tunnel Mountain and counting Mountain Sheep from the hot pool at Radium Hot Springs.

Love ya Dad