Thursday, September 3, 2009

Squirrels and Their Nuts

In late Spring each year I begin the hunt for firewood (to use in our wood stove, our primary heat source). I get the chainsaw out to fell leaning or hazard trees, or buy logs from a logger. Then I cut the logs into rounds and split them over the summer. By Autumn, I get antsy, along with the squirrels, to make ready for Winter. I try to split and stack about five cords of wood to fill my wood shed.

Now some people with higher I.Q.'s just flip a switch on their central heating. Which sounds better every year. But it is another one of those therapy things for me. And it is honkin' good exercise. When you sit at a drawing table for hours at a time, you need to get out and shake that thang.
Plus, I am in tune with the seasons. Lately the squirrels have been scampering around the top limbs of the fir trees, yanking off fir cones and throwing them down by the hundreds. We have a metal roof so..."bang!...whap!...clunk... clunk... clunk...bam!...bam!" sound the cones as they bop our roof. Well, that makes it a tad hard to concentrate on my paintings...

It is the call of the wild...so I join the squirrels as often as I can (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em...) "Ennnyaaa-aa-aa-aa-tuc-tuc-engik!" Which is squirrel for, "Winter is coming, you fools! Gather your nuts, chop, chop, out-a-my-way, dog, those are mine, don't look where I'm hiding these, ahhhh! I need more, more, more...get me some coffee, that should help, eeeeeenkk!!"

12 comments:

storyqueen said...

Oh, it would be so nice to think about Winter....we are boiling down here in SoCal! It's not supposed to be this hot when you go back to school!

I myself don't speak squirrel, but I have been known to oink from time to time.

Shelley

Mary said...

Young Lance, my neighbor, is likewise devoted to the Zen of Kindling. He provides a bracing example of living off the grid, and the ringing sound of an axe falling on cedar.

Often, it's the music to which I write.

Squirrels are oddly lacking. But from time to time, my dog peeks in at the door of my office and wags tentatively. It's enough of a request to get me out of the house for a long climb up F street.

I do feel guilty for not chopping wood and not entertaining canines, but in the grander scale of things, mine is a relatively benign offense.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Shelley, I hope you are safe from the fires. Having grown up in SOCAL I am well acquainted with the fires. But it is still horrible. I am glad that you can oink. You never know when these skills will come in handy. I new a lady who was a horse whisperer, but that is a skill I lack. I love pig related items and witticisms (could that be spelled right?) Have you heard the saying, "Don't teach a pig to sing, it will waste your time and it will annoy the pig".

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Mary, I like that-"The Zen of Kindling". It sounds like, The Duke of Earl. I once saw a documentary about an Amazon tribe, and a man was demonstrating how his people had traditionally cut down a huge tree using a stone axe. He said, "It is chopping, just chopping..." and it does become a state of mind, like canning plums, or knitting. I could lend you some squirrels if you like.

ruthie said...

Being in tune with the seasons - i love that expression! Nothing better than wood collecting & chopping for that. Me & mine would go out collecting kindling every week in the woods over the hill, or down on the shore. Such a great feeling to watch a fire that you can happily sit back and know you have worked for!

Richard Jesse Watson said...

For sure. It is said that wood warms you twice. Once when you sweat to cut it and then again when you sit by the fire to warm your tootzies. By the different handlings of the wood it warms you about five or six times. But I must say, that a wood fire is friendly an hobbity and yes, there is a lot of satisfaction in the effort to make fire. Like Tom Hanks in *Castaway* when he danced around the fire and said, "Look what I have made! I have made you fire!"

steven said...

hey richard, i've never cut wood in my life and my ojibway friend - he's an elder on the reserve about fifty km north of here - told me that he would teach me how to talk to the tree, how to listen to it, and how to prepare it for burning in his woodstove and in my fireplace.
i love the feeling of this place you've created!! thanks for visiting my place.
see you again. steven

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Thanks, Steven. Your musings and insights are thought provoking. Your latest post was white knuckle and serene somehow. Would love to hear more about talking to the trees...

tlc illustration said...

Our sadly lacking house is fireplace-less (and garage-less, basement-less and attic-less, but that is another story entirely). Hence I must apparently achieve my Zen through weeding...

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Weeding is good. I'll bet your house is not roofless, or door knobless. Or artless. I, on the other hand have a yard full of weeds...

Kitty said...

:D I love the blogosphere - it's always so nice to *meet* people from the other side of the world! Thanks for your kind comments - I've been smiling at the warmth in your posts.

That looks quite a mountain of logs to get through - the logs we use come from the sawmill and are already a manageable size :)

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Lucky you, Kitty. Thanks for visiting. Your blog is breath taking...