Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wood Knot Work

I’m tired. Last night I built a fire even though it really wasn’t cold enough to have one, and fell asleep on the sofa watching it. The only thing I really wanted to do was get rid of a piece of wood with knots all through it, and burning it seemed like the way to go. Wood usually grows straight and the grain is smooth and easy to split, or at least not terribly difficult. Pieces of wood where there have been branches and limb have curved and crooked grains, and the wood is a lot more dense here, in order to support the mass of the limbs. It’s a trade off of time, effort, and exhaustion for firewood, and I decided just to throw the thing into the fireplace and see what happened. A hundred pound piece of wood is not a mistake made lightly, no pun intended, and once I got it into the fireplace, getting it to burn wasn’t easy.
Once the fire was going, and it looked good, I decided to throw a curvy piece in with it, to get rid of two chunks of wood I couldn’t split. They were both too large, really, and together the fireplace looked packed. But tiny flames flickered to and fro, and the next thing I knew it was three in the morning, and there was nothing left but a few glowing coals. The dogs wanted out at five thirty, so I started the fire again, using tiny pieces of wood to get a small fire going, and finally, about the time things warmed up outside, the fire was going good again. Both the curvy and the knotted wood are burning now, and next time it won’t be so hard to get them going.
I recognize both pieces of wood in relation to where they were on the tree, and surprisingly enough, or not, they were fairly close together. The curvy piece was part of the massive limb reaching out towards the eastern sky. The knotty piece was on the west side, a few feet lower than the curvy, and its limb was sheared off by another that Tropical Storm Fay dropped from above.

This is my furlough day, and I’m tired. I could finish the rest of the splitting, maybe, in one day, but I’ve been at this since Friday and have neglected a lot of other things in its wake. Mostly, it’s the exhaustion of it all. Splitting firewood is hard work, and along with the clean up from the tree, I haven’t had a lot of rest since Thursday of last week. I’m way behind in my writing. I’m behind in my housework, too.

For someone to have had five days in the row off from work I can’t say it’s been a lot of fun, but it sure as hell has been interesting.

Take Care,
Mike

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