Chopping Wood for Winter
With the willing extra hands available during our Thanksgiving holiday, we wound up taking some time to chop wood. The sun was shining, though the thermometer read 34 degrees fahrenheit. Bundled up in our barn coats, hats, and gloves we all set out to spend some quality time with the splitter.
A saying my mom used to tell all of the kids was “many hands make merry work.” Chopping wood can sometimes be monotonous and long. Often times chopping wood happens on days when you would rather be reading a book. With cousins, aunts, and uncles abound, we couldn’t have had more fun!
While the cousins from the city thought it was “quaint” to be out chopping wood, it still brought about a sense of nostalgia for all of us. The smell of freshly chopped wood made us all breathe deep. The cold made our cheeks and noses turn rosy. Our fingers fumbled in our thick leather gloves as we loaded and stacked each piece.
Living in an old farmhouse, our main source of heat is from our wood stove and fireplace. Warmth from wood is something that one has to experience. The heat gets deep into your bones and fills you with an incredible sense of love and history. Odd feelings for a stack of wood and a roaring fire, but I feel it is true. It takes a lot of love to heat your house with wood. It requires a family that is willing and able to chop, haul, and stack. The history aspect of wood heat is for those of us with a sense of nostalgia. We wonder about those before us who had no choice but to use wood to heat their homes and survive. We also think about the land where the trees came from and how many years those trees had lived and what they may have witnessed. Through this love and history, our own home becomes warm and we are able to make our own memories as the fires burn.
After our noses were numb and our arms tired from carrying bundles of cut wood, we went in as the sun began to set. I put a pot of water on to boil for hot chocolate. Using some of the wood we cut, we started a fire in the dining room fireplace so that it would be warm in time for dinner. The youngest cousin surveyed the scene and pointed out a few of the logs in the fire. “Those look familiar” he said. We all laughed and passed around the whipped cream and inhaled chocolate goodness as we warmed our toes by the crackling “familiar” logs.
Looking into our wood shed, we marvel at how much work can be accomplished in only a few hours with so many hands. The sad part is that the high stacks of wood, while impressive looking, will not last as long as one would think. When the stack gets low, we will once again have to bundle up and inhale the sweet smell of hardwoods.