Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chopped, Split and Stacked

When my sister and I were very young our family mostly heated with wood in a large iron wood stove my Dad built. He drew a picture of our house on the door of the stove and I remember looking at the picture and picking out my bedroom window in the drawing.

My Dad would buy or trade for the winter wood and eventually it would be delivered to our house in a large pile of unsplit chunks. We would climb all over the pile and inevitably one of us would end up bleeding or with a nasty splinter! As we grew older we would help each fall by tossing the wood into the house cellar to stack, into the shed to stack or by stacking the wood. Stacking wood was a job that I remember dreading, but now find the smells and sounds of it very comforting.

It was always a family affair and usually that meant friends of my folks and their kids. The more people helping, the faster the job would get done. Now I realize, too, that extra hands means the kids are being watched with extra eyes. Chopping and splitting wood can be dangerous business.

We had a dead Ash tree removed from our front yard last month and over the last two weekends Matt (with help from friends of all ages) chopped, split and stacked the wood.

With the winter-like temperatures (30's), I haven't been going outside too much, a couple days ago Sam, Otis and I bundled up and walked out to look at the woodpile (and I wanted to smell the woodpile). I have been watching the black squirrels climb all over it and I had to see what all the fuss was about.
These strange seed pods fall from our Osage Orange trees which line the west side of our homestead creating a living fence. Every fall we pick up hundreds of the seeds...and the squirrels love to eat them.
Sam came down with a strange virus this week involving a body rash running from his head to his toes. His energy levels decreased (some) and he developed really red patches on his eye lids and under his eyes. Our family doctor recommended keeping him home from school for two days to we did...and it was really wonderful.
Just beyond the woodpile sits our new compost pile. Matt did lots of reading on home made rapid composters and finally settled on this model made of found pallets and reused PVC pipe. He (and his helpers) spent the better part of two weekends assembling and filling this. We've all enjoyed watching the top of the pile sink and feeling the warm air escaping through the pipes! Science everywhere!
Matt has been working like a horse this fall. Since the end of September he has:
:: butchered 31 broiler hens
:: harvested copious amounts of garden produce, including blue corn and the black beans
:: repaired a failing chicken fence
:: made a variety of house repairs including hanging some coat hooks for me
:: removed an old toilet, moved one working toilet to a new bathroom, and installed a brand new dual flush toilet
:: built and filled the composter
:: chopped, split and stacked the wood from the ash tree

I love him.

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