Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Woody Weekend

On Saturday I drove down to Rob's with my chainsaw. He was going to sharpen it for me and I would help him chop up a pine tree that had been felled previously. He had it all set up and made me put on his humungous overalls and an awful visor thing which although I appreciated it would stop wood chips flying into my eyes I wished I'd brought my own safety goggles so I could retain a little of my street cred. Oh well, there was no one to see me, thank God.
I used his 20" chainsaw which was a lot heavier than mine and got stuck in. I love chainsaws. I had a great time chopping up the tree but was very grateful when the job was done, my arms were nearly dragging on the ground and I used the last of my strength to hand the saw over to Rob.
He finished off chopping up the smaller pieces while I took photos, mainly of his butt!
I then strolled down to the animals, with a bag of chopped apples and carrots. Sunflower the cow was happy to trot over for a snack and a cuddle and thankfully decided that this time I wouldn't get the customary head butt. Blackie and Sam were also grateful for the munchies and company and soon the feast was demolished. The calves were looking cute under a tree and let me get close enough to take some photos.
Then it was time to start the fire. The stump of the tree was pretty massive and we stacked wood all around hoping it would burn down. Then we sat and watched it for a while with a couple of beers and some peanuts as it blazed furiously. The day was starting to cool a little, perfect bonfire weather.
Once the fire was burning steadily and we'd stacked even more wood around it, we went to the shed to check out my chainsaw.
Rob sharpened and tightened the chain for me then I went out to test it. It was still very blunt until Rob realized the chain was on backwards. No wonder the previous owner had hardly used it!
With the chain on correctly it sawed easily through a log and I was excited to think of all the wood I could now chop in Marshall. Rob suggested getting me a 100ft power lead for it so I could roam further. There'd be no stopping me, I had visions of my poor neighbors listening to me and my blade whining through the woods in the dark and wondering if they'd have any standing trees in the morning.
His and Her chainsaws. Aaaaaw!
After I'd tucked up my chainsaw in the trunk of my car and we'd dined on chicken cooked on the BBQ we went back to the fire and noticed the sky was darkening and threatening rain.
We weren't budging. Despite a few threatening raindrops we sat down with our beers and resumed watching the fire.
We stacked it up even higher and it felt wonderful. As the daylight died we grabbed jackets and hats then continued our vigil. I found this wood beetle which Rob said destroyed trees but I wasn't going to let it be squashed by Rob so I let it go in the neighboring field hoping it would head to the woods far away from the house.
I took a couple of portraits of Rob as sparks flew from the fire. I'd made some hot mulled cider with nutmeg and cinnamon sticks which we fortified with vodka. It was delicious.

I love watching the fire and always remember a poem that was in a book I still have given to me as a child, Treasury of Poetry by Hilda Boswell.
Firelight by Irene and Aubrey de Selincourt

I like to sit by the fire and stare
At the curious things I can see in there;
Its better than pictures in a picture book
To sit by the fire and look and look

I can't see the things that Anne can see
(Anne she's seven, but I'm just three)
Faces, and rivers, and forests, and all....
(Anne's enormous, but I'm quite small)

But the fires makes a nice sort of creaky song
It popples, as if it were running along
It talks quite soft, and it means to say,
"I know a nice quiet game to play"

I don't want to jump, and I don't want to shout
Mummy says, "what are you thinking about?"
But I'm not thinking; I just like to sit
Quite still by the fire, and stare at it. 

The book has beautiful pictures of fire fairies and all the things the children saw in the flames. 
We sat by the fire until late into the evening, about 8 hours in all, burning all the pine wood and then left it loaded with more hardwood hoping the stump would be gone in the morning. It was.
On Sunday I had to leave at noon as I was going to MJ and Martin's house for dinner. Our friends Sam and Stephanie who we've spent some wonderful Thanksgivings with are moving to Arizona in a couple of weeks so this was a farewell dinner. Unfortunately Sam had to work so couldn't come but we gave Steph a night to remember. Some of the regulars from past dinners were there and we had a fabulous evening with equally wonderful food cooked by our hosts. I think we actually laughed the whole evening.It was a superb albeit sad ending to the weekend. Both days had been filled with so many laughs that my cheeks felt tired but it sure was nice to fall into bed that evening with a big smile on my face.