Our stash of firewood for the winter was pitiful. I hoped it would be enough, but I knew, deep inside, it would not. We only had a fire on days that were really cold, cold enough to make one cold even while wearing several layers of clothing; when even the little electric space heaters couldn't beat back the cold; when even having the oven on and the door open still made barely a rise in the thermometer in the kitchen.
We tried to make the wood last, scrounging the iffy bits with soft ends that started to rot, using every last little bit from the bottom of the pile. Andrew would rush home at 4:30 in the afternoon and squeeze out some splitting in the last hour of daylight. He would get up early before work and trudge out to the woods on snow-free days and cut trees the tree cutters felled and left behind for us. He would have just enough time to load and unload the truck before having to get cleaned up and go to work at 2:30. Working rotating shifts make it hard to schedule things, adding in family duties, errands and other chores.
A couple years ago, someone bought the land next to us and built a pallet factory. The power company came through to install power lines and asked us permission to cut down trees on our land to make room. As long as they left the wood, they were welcome to do what they had to do. When they were gone, we surveyed what was left and we were warmed at the sight of huge logs that would need cutting and splitting. Much too big for Andrew's saw, but we cut what we could here and there, big limbs and the smaller trees, when we could get the kids settled for an hour or two.
A few days ago, Andrew was out there, and saw that someone had cut and taken some wood. He was furious! That's our wood, for us! It might have been different if someone knocked on our door and asked permission, but to come onto our land, cut and take it without asking?! He fumed and could not concentrate, thinking about that wood. He posted 'No Trespassing' signs directly onto the logs themselves.
Yesterday, outdoor temperatures were rising into the high 60s and he happened to have the day off! He called our friend Jim and asked if he could come over with his 20-inch saw and help cut those logs and in return, he could have some wood for himself. Lucky for us, he was free and happy to come and help cut, then load both pick-up trucks. He even declined our offer of wood and helped unload both trucks into our pole barn, ready to be split on Andrew's next day off.
It looks to be another warm day, an early taste of Spring, I am sure it will get cold again. These nice days are only teasers, lulling us into thinking winter is over, but it is only mid-February and surely winter has not let go of us yet. We have not had a fire in over a week, because we had only 2 or 3 days left of firewood to burn and we were saving it for one of those just-can't-get-warm kind of day. We will still be stingy with the wood, though we now have a nice pile of logs, waiting to be split. Hopefully this stretch of warm weather will last through the weekend, Andrew does not have another day off until next week.
We will be more diligent this year in getting wood put away for next winter. Hopefully with Peter a little older, he'll be 3 this summer, we can get a bit more done without having to stop every 5 minutes to chase him down or rescue him from some predicament he's gotten himself into. Lately, Andrew is out there alone, since I need to stay and watch Peter, so it will be nice to work side-by-side with him again, something we haven't been able to do much of since Peter stopped taking 3 hour naps as a baby.
Not having enough wood or money to buy wood has been a cold lesson learned.