Wood Stacking, Year Two

It’s that time of year again . . . winter’s only just ending and eight cords of wood arrived to keep the house warm next year. The wood was dropped off in many loads back and forth from Woodview Farm & Forest Products, and dumped in sprawling piles all over the yard on top of the snow.

Despite the reward at the very end (and the key word is very) the appearance of all that wood—which required anyone coming down the path to go through a complicated wood maze to reach the front door—was nothing short of depressing. The day I’d organized everyone to stack it couldn’t have been a worse day: high winds from the north, snow and ice. It just wasn’t the same as last year. We had music, we had help, but no one really got into the groove. It was just too cold. The tarps covering the one pile were still frozen in to the ground so after stacking one beehive-style holz hausen, we decided to abandon ship and wait for warmer weather (and for at least a third of the wood to unfreeze from the ground!).

Weeks went by and we gave it another try. Carlyle was home from university on Easter break, and Jamyang, our Tibetan friend and wood-stacker extraordinaire, came over to help. We licked the last four cords in a couple of hours. And, once again, the result was structures of beauty.

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How we could go through that much wood seemed unfathomable; taking the first piece out and wrecking the form, equally so. But there it is. True to form, in lieu of helping with the stacking, Grace made us a delicious brunch of devilled eggs, especially nice with decorated Easter eggs still in evidence, but there was an overall sense of quiet and fulfillment.

A footnote: This past week, I heard a tremendous crash and watched one side of the first holz hausen we had stacked, collapse. Note to self for next year: Don’t stack when there is still frost in the wood and snow on the ground! Once the sun warmed the south-facing side of the wood stack, just like potholes in the road, everything just shifted and fell apart! Good that no one was near . . . that would really have hurt.