October 09, 2002

It's All About Me

You wouldn't believe what a miser I am when it comes to cutting wood. I will stop and pick up the penny, as it were, every time. I dare say I haven't cut a stick of firewood in the past two years that was solid enough to still have bark around it. Not appreciating this fact, my neighbors who dozed the spindly pines away from our five flat acres where the pasture now glistens wet and green, pushed some usable wood over against the bank, what they didn't pile on the numerous bonfires two summers ago.

Can't have that. So today, Buster and I went to dig it out, cut it up, and we'll be burning it for heating the house one of these winter days. What's only half rotten is half useful, and 'a pound of (dry) wood is a pound of wood' I always say. And I'm not above ranking up a rough but well-stacked woodpile. It still counts for points in the Manliness ~ Stud-liness Competition, as it is the size of a fella's woodpile (and of course, to a much lesser degree the comliness of the arranged cordage, not the appearance of individual logs) that counts.

As usual, Buster helped me, Mr. Underfoot Dog. But he did take off to tear around the pasture after catching the scent of creature, most likely a viscious and dangerous field mouse. Oh for the camera. He ranged all over the field, which was still dripping wet with dew. Everywhere he went in his zigging and zagging and 360 degree turning left a visible trace of his passage in the shining grass. Looking down on it, it appeared as nothing less than a "Family Circle" cartoon, where the dotted line shows the ramblings of the children in the park, or their back yard. A kodak moment with no Kodak. Sigh.

In very much of a stream of semi-consciousness mode this morning, everything I saw elicted a loudly-bellowed song: Georgia Pines; the Green Green Grass of Home; Poke Salad Annie...there were more, I will spare you. It's a good thing we live out of earshot of the music critics. I don't always stick with the real words, either, I confess. If I don't remember 'em, I make 'em up.

I cut my salvaged wood until the sun came up over the ridge, warm and bright, about 9:30. I shed my vest; then my cap and my sweatshirt. Finally, down to my teeshirt, I was reaping more heat from the cutting than I will from the burning. I don't do heat of the sweating variety. So, I launched into "that's all she wrote (dear John!), I sent your chainsaw home." (Apologies to Jimmy Rogers). I left the truck and tools down on the edge of the pasture and will finish the job in cool shadows later, after the sun goes behind the west ridge this afternoon. I'll need my logging chain and a cant hook to pull out some really solid oak that would be a shame to go to waste. A penny saved is a penny earned, you know.

[Segue: And now, we join our intrepid woodchopper studly man-o-the woods back at the house, afterward]: Before I set out for my early-morning wood-gathering, I had managed with considerable effort to pull my jeans cuffs down over the tops of my thick rubber boot-tops to keep woodchips from the chainsaw from falling down into my boots. Back home at the side door now, I was ready to de-pant and de-boot and go drink coffee. But, well dang it, my pantlegs were wet from walking around in the deep grass, and my jeans would not let go of my boots!

So standing there on the side porch, with the one leg I managed to step out of the jeans, with the boot still attached to my cuff. About that time, wouldn't you know, I heard a car coming down our road (how likely is that!) with me standing there half in and half out of my pants/boots. I stepped quickly inside the door, being the modest sort that I am, and shut the door. But the empty and shrunken pantleg with the attached boot still hung limply out the closed door as the drivers went slowly by.

I imagine it looked as if someone's leg had been slammed permanently in the back door, then they starved to death, in place.

"They's probably just a bone inside that pant leg hangin' there, Martha. What kindofa place is this!"

Its like an early start on Halloween, neighbors. That's all.

Posted by fred1st at October 9, 2002 06:13 AM

Golly. We spent the day at the Georgia National Fair down in Perry today, and I dare say you're day was STILL at least as entertaining as mine!

Posted by: Curt at October 9, 2002 10:52 PM

Well, did the boot ever come off, or did you have to wash them both together? We're at the edges of our seats here!

Do you have to worry abou the spindly pine having too much sap, or is it just a matter of getting the fire hot enough so that the sap does not have as good a chance to become creosote?

Posted by: MarcV at October 10, 2002 02:31 PM

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