A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cut Your Own Wood and It'll Warm You Twice

Rick always told me to stay away from the chain saw. I'm a clumsy person and both he and I could see plenty of chances for disaster if I tried to use a chain saw. He was practically born with a chain saw in his hand and even he had a near disaster one time when the saw kicked back on him as he fought one of the big many branched cedars. He was untouched but his jeans had a big slash across them. But things change and we have to adjust if we're going to continue on.

The one chore Rickie did that I was afraid I couldn't do was cut firewood. We have a small fireplace in the cabin. Our area is relatively mild most of the time in the Winter. We love a fire and burn one when it's cold but we don't really depend on it for heat. We have central heat but we don't use that a lot either. Usually just for a little bit in the mornings to take the chill off. 

But we both loved a fire and we'd have one inside and a campfire outside whenever we could. After Rickie died a neighbor brought me a trailer load of firewood. Which was such a nice thing to do. It got me through that year, but I didn't want to depend on someone else supplying me. And you could cut half the oak trees down I have and still have an abundance of them so buying firewood seemed kind of ridiculous. 

Sarah and I went to a workshop for ranch women several months after Rick died. One of the things we learned was yes, you can cut firewood. You just probably can't use the biggest chain saw they make or cut a redwood down. We learned how to change the chain and things like that. So I got the Husqvarna cordless chain saw and I love it! I recommend it to anyone that has trouble, like me, starting gasoline equipment! 

One thing I have missed with the addition is being in bed and looking out the window at night and seeing the stars. When the bed was in the original cabin room we could raise the shade and see Orion cross the sky, followed by the bright Dog Star and the moon. Out here where it's dark you see so many stars! There is a group of trees on the side of the addition and the windows are too close to them to see the sky. I'd have to cut them all down to see the same sky we saw from the cabin. And I don't have a window that gives that same view. 

But I can improve the view at night and see some stars. So the last couple of days I've been trimming the trees outside the bedroom window. Because I have plenty of trees and only one bedroom view! A view is as important to me as trees, and maybe more so. I grew up in the piney woods and always felt claustrophobic. You can't see much of the sky under those tall trees! One of my favorite quotes is "the barn's burnt down, now I can see the moon."

The bonus of the tree cutting is that I've got a good start on my firewood now! We only use about a half cord each year in the fireplace, sometimes less, and I've probably got enough already for the year. But I'll cut a bit more as the weeks go by. You never know when you might have a power failure!  Cutting firewood was one of our favorite things to do. Though I have to do it alone now, it brings back a lot of good memories. The smell, the noise of the chain saw, working side by side with Rick, getting something done on our own, being outside. We've been a little cooler and have had a great breeze so it's been pleasant. 

There are a couple of trees in the group I'd like to cut totally down. And I may yet. I have to study on it a bit! Also my chains need sharpening. I don't try to do that myself but take them to the hardware store in town. That was a recommendation from the rancher than taught us at the workshop. Rick sharpened his own but I'm making it work for me. 

We've had some rain lately and things have greened up. The fields are full of grass and wildflowers. I've been able to quit feeding hay to the longhorns and the deer have forbs to eat. The garden, which was a complete failure this year, is full of flowers. And the one pepper plant that didn't die right away was loaded with bell peppers! I've had some deer bedding down about 20' from the house; I love finding the matted down places they've left in the grass and knowing they slept close to me. 

This time coming up was always our favorite time of year and many days are hard for me when it comes around. Last year I couldn't bring myself to do some of the things we did and some things and traditions I tried to carry on. I'm not sure if that was better or worse. Some things I've decided just maybe have to pass away with Rick. Because they're never the same, no matter how you try. But while time doesn't really heal, it helps you learn to live with the changes. The memories don't always make you cry; they sometimes bring a smile. I'm hoping for more of those moments this year. And wishing the same for all of us who loved Rick. 


  1. Oh! as always another wonderful post. Love your stories Sue!

  2. Wow, I've got some catching up to do, the beginning of a new school year really takes it out of me. (Less than 2 years to go!!!) Your posts about firewood always inspire me. We DO heat our home with the wood burning stove, even though we have central heat and air. Splitting the wood is something I think about a lot and have researched lots of different types of splitters (is that a word?). A few years ago my husband did some damage to his elbow splitting firewood. I don't want him hurt again and I sure don't think I could split logs with an axe or a wedge. How do you split large logs?

    1. Judith, I don't split any. I have visions of splitting my leg open instead of the logs! We have so many little oaks here that are just right without splitting. Rickie used to split them. I have some of his large logs left and we just use them in the outside campfire.