Thank goodness for the howling wind and ripping snow slashing across the fields. After all, it’s days like these that make splitting and stacking wood worthwhile.
We are still gnawing away at the pile of bucked logs that represent but a few of the thousands of beetle-kill trees removed from the ranch’s 360 acres of dark timber. I love splitting wood, or, to be perfectly correct, I love using our log splitter to split wood. It gives me kinship with the chipmunks who’ve been diligently storing seeds for the winter. Stacking the wood on the breezeway, knowing that at first drifts will pile up behind them, gives me a sense of properly putting by for the winter. Those stacks are better than a calendar. As they’re depleted they’ll no longer block the snow from the walkway to our front door. And that’s a sure sign we’ve built enough fires that surely spring will arrive one day soon.
I have a strong sense today of what the near future holds for me. First, some chapped skin from shoveling snow as my cheeks are scoured by icy particles. Then, a rip roaring fire as my reward. Last July I cut several armfuls of rhubarb, sugared it and cooked it down to a beautiful pink compote, then froze it all. Once I’ve thawed my fingers, I’ll be baking a rhubarb pie, to bring back the glory days of summer.