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August 17, 2014: When Pete’s Away

Yesterday, Pete left for Fairbanks, leaving me in charge of the ‘stead. Pete’s on what my sister Eleanor calls a “do-gooder mission.” He’s helping Sean McGuire with political work and giving Nancy Fuller a hand on preparing her house for sale. And, he might also go and pick blueberries.

Meanwhile, I’m here, just doing the usual and then some. The usual includes tending to the garden and the animals. And the then some includes splitting and stacking firewood. The latter sounds like a huge endeavor, but it’s not. I’m not using an axe and doing the Paul Bunyan thing. Rather, I’m using a mechanized wood splitter.

I have never been adept at wood splitting. This isn’t because I lack the strength, but because I’m not confident about my abilities, vision-wise. I have limited depth perception, so I am never sure where the axe blade might land. It has, on several occasions, come close to nailing me in the foot. This lack of confidence isn’t something that I can take care of through the use of creative or non-creative visualization. It is a physical impediment, and therefore needs to be dealt with accordingly. I consequently have one of two options. The first is to let others hand split the wood. The second is to use the mechanized device.

Pete and I both rely heavily on the mechanized device, thus splitting the workload. At the same time, it enables us to best deal with the sheer amount of wood that we end up having on hand. We generally go buck, move, and unload mass quantities of wood first, then later split it.

I like using the splitter. It’s relatively safe, though one should think safety by (for example) making sure the surrounding ground is free of logs. You turn on the machine, put the log lengthwise on the flat surface, and then move the handle forwards or backwards. The moving maul then splits the wood. It moves slowly, so you can see the wood grains separate. And the wood, as it separates, makes a very satisfying sound. It’s sort of between a growl and a squeak.

Big logs – you have to half the halves and then half the half halves. Then you toss them in the shed with an overhand throw. I’m not as keen about stacking wood, and right now, the middle portion of the shed is filled with numerous pieces. Also, kindling (which will need to be separated out) is in the mix.

Today I got the stacking part of the job done by maintaining an “as if” attitude – I merely acted as though I had all the time in the world to get this task accomplished. I noticed that if I stacked each piece like I was shelving a library book, that the end result was better than it would have been otherwise. The stacks did not lean, and the rows were even.

My goal is to have the entire two piles split and stacked by the time that Pete gets home. This way, he will have one less thing to do on his very long list. And we’ll both then have more time to play. I doubt that I will achieve my goal because I also have so much to do around here; right now I’m doing double duty. But I won’t get all bent out of shape if I don’t get the job done. It is what it is. I’m just going to do what I can do, and when it’s half or three-quarters done, just call it good.

Next: 223. 8/18/14: Clip Clop