Chop Wood, Haul Water

Sunday, March 16, 2014
There's been a lot of rumblings around these parts about it being "a long winter." In fact, if my friends and I had it our way, #wilderbrothers and #buckwheatstash would have been trending on Twitter for the last month and a half. There have also been jokes a plenty about rationing out one shriveled potato a day and worrying about how we'll tunnel out of our homes through the snowy depths.

Are you picking up on the Laura Ingalls Wilder The Long Winter allusions I've been throwing down?

But here's the truth: It hasn't been a long winter. Last year was a long winter (perhaps we think this winter is just an extension of that one, since summer kind of barely happened), but as far as actual time elapsed with wintery conditions in winter 2013-2014, there's actually nothing extraordinary going on. We've had snow cover since late November and it'll probably hold until early April, just like it does every year.

Nope, the only extraordinary factor about this winter is how bloody cold it's been. As a result, we've been hemorrhaging firewood since December and by mid-February we were down to the "new" wood - the birch firewood we'd stacked in the autumn to dry out for winter 2014-2015. Argh. This means, for the last month, we've basically been trying to burn wet cardboard for heat. Needless to say, it was not going very well.

But before you send the Wilder Brothers to save us, I can happily report that we live in a wildfire recovery area, which means there's no shortage of dead trees to burn when the heating gets tough. This cheers me considerably, although a part of me has always fancied breaking up the dining chairs and chucking them into the woodstove ala Doctor Zhivago. To me, there is nothing so romantically dire as having to break up the dining room furniture with a hatchet. 

On our last days off, Andy felled a couple of dead jack pines from the property, which will tide us through until spring days (which are already partially upon us, despite the -20F temps this morning) and allow us to save the not free firewood until it's seasoned properly. As an additional bonus, removing those trees also mean more sunshine for the potato patch come summer.


In other news, this isn't exactly a spring tiding, but one of the Meyer lemon seeds has finally poked its sunny little face out of the dirt. I'm really looking forward to harvesting my own lemons sometime in the next decade . . .

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