Bringing in the firewood on a rainy autumn day— the reward is many hours of quiet fireside warmth.
When we were kids, one of our morning chores was to fill the storage box with wood for the stove— a wonderful cast iron wood-stove. It had a smallish oven (big enough for a small turkey), and a shelf above for the pots and frypans. Each morning we’d go to the woodshed to load up the wheelbarrow, and then after pushing it across the lawn to the porch, we’d lift it out piece by piece, stack it in our arms, and traipse into the kitchen with those armloads of carefully split wood. Often we’d have to replenish the kindling supply as well. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as splitting cedar rounds into wedges, then into inch wide slabs and then the plink, plink, plink, of the kindling pieces flying off and landing on the growing pile. Until I was old enough to wield the hatchet, my job was to pick up the chopped kindling and stack it neatly in the box, avoiding getting hit by flying kindling.
Hatchets, chopping blocks, cedar smell, fir sap— and wheel barrows. Good memories— memories coloured by the years, I’m sure, as I think it was harder work by far when three sticks of firewood was an armload. Now, my arms are bigger, the wheelbarrow is more ‘modern’ and the wood is only for the comfort and coziness of the living room, rather than for keeping the stove going to cook our food, and boil the water.
Times have changed, but the fragrance and the basic tools remain.