The confluence of holiday socializing, firewood-gittin’, and a New Year’s virus finally caught up with me this morning, and I came to my desk thinking it Monday and therefore as good a day as any to tuck into the sundry projects begging attention. By the time I realized the start of the work week is still a full 24 hours hence, the snow that fell overnight had turned to rain, and this bleak fact, coupled with the congealed porridge of mucous rattling my every labored breath (hope you weren’t planning on oatmeal for breakfast!), cemented my decision to just stay put.
We launched the New Year with vigor, and this was particularly impressive, considering we stayed up ’til all hours – 10:30! – at a friends’ party. I felled and skidded what I’m currently estimating to be approximately six cords worth of hardwood logs, a calculation arrived at despite my long history of firewood-related optimism and the unflattering truth that year after year after year my initial estimates prove themselves ridiculously inflated. So, yeah, in truth, there’s probably about four cords of firewood at the landing. But that’s still four cords more than were there a few days ago.
While I sawed and skidded, the boys and Penny split and piled, and all in all it was a fine way to ring in the first two days of the New Year. For all the food we grow, and for the multitude of other ways in which we fill the cup of our needs from our own wellspring, putting up the fuel for a winter’s worth of fires – some for warming, some for cooking, all for pleasure – is the act that brings me the greatest sense of satisfaction and, in a way I fear I will struggle to explain, liberation.
As Andrea recently reminded me, it was Edward Abbey who wrote the cliffs notes guide to overthrowing the system: Brew your own beer; kick in your Tee Vee; kill your own beef; build your own cabin and piss off the front porch whenever you bloody well feel like it. Good stuff, Ed, and not a bit of it in the wrong, but for those of us in the north country, I hasten to add one more: Put up your own damn firewood.
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The last post brought a few trapping related questions.
First, thanks to everyone who’s recommend it, but we’ve seen Happy People. In an actual theater, even! Got in line at noon for the 7:00 p.m. show. That was a long, lonely wait, let me tell you.
Second, there is very little chance of catching non-target animals in underwater sets, which is one of the reasons the boys are particularly keen on water trapping. Most crucially, there is essentially no chance of bagging someone’s pet.
Third, the boys trap primarily for meat and fur and are committed to utilizing the whole animal (beaver liver pate, anyone? No? How ’bout muskrat pot pie?). They do sell a small number of furs to local craftspeople, but they are not drawn to commodity fur selling.
Fourth, the conibear traps like the one pictured kill instantly.
Fifth (and even though no one asked about it), supporting the boys’ trapping exploits was initially difficult for Penny and me. It was only through significant amounts of research and examination of preconceived notions that we have, over time, become accepting and even appreciative of their passion.