The first of the year was one of those classic north woods winter days, air warm and calm enough that you can breathe a bit, but chilly enough to keep things frozen. The sky was slightly overcast, but it was not dark like some days we get in winter.
The Hermit had bought a full cord of well seasoned oak firewood from a guy north of Duquette. If I could burn only one species of wood, oak would be it. It seems to radiate warmth like no other wood can, and it lasts a long time. On New Year's Day it was warm enough to start the truck, so I agreed to go with him to load the wood. I wanted to get out and look for birds, anyway.
You really could not get any further into the woods than where this guy lives. He has 200 acres on a gravel road that gradually narrows down into a lane. As we drove in, we marveled at all the mature hardwoods on the land, primarily oak. When we first bought our land I thought this was pine and aspen country, but now that I've explored a bit I see some fine stands of oak and maple.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw the wood we were about to load. It was cut short, 12-16 inches, and split so there was not a log more than 4 inches in diameter. Furthermore, he told us he cut this wood five years ago, and it has been drying and seasoning since then. Five years! Last year before we got the propane heater we got a load of wood that was primarily birch and aspen, some of it so green you could almost see the sap flowing out of it. This year we have gotten a couple loads that have oak, albeit in very big chunks. Some of them do not even fit into the new wood stove. So this was well worth the price we paid.
We got about half the wood into the back of the truck. It was good work, really. Physical exercise, for a good cause, on a nice day. We'll come back for the second half when we have a similar nice day.
When we arrived home, we rearranged things in the entry way and put almost the entire load in there, against the south wall under the window. Better that than to have it outside under a tarp, and continually have to bring armfuls inside. I feel warm just looking at it.
I cannot put into words how it felt to be outside, doing something, on such a beautiful winter's day. I really feel like a resident of the woods now, instead of just a visitor.
Sorry no pictures. I left my camera in the back of Jim's car during the Christmas bird count, and it's in the mail. It wouldn't be a Christmas bird count if I did not leave something behind!