Wood Heated Winter
When it is so cold that even the doorway guardian needs a woolly hat, you know that it is time to cut wood. Lots of wood. Of course, an ideal time to top up the wood pile is way before winter, but up in the bush at Paul's place there is plenty of dry wood for cutting, and frankly, it is much more comfortable cutting wood on a cold day than in the heat of summer. So, into the woods we go with chainsaws.
Being a lumberjack in the bush is so much fun. At the same time as we are cutting wood we are also clearing tracks through the undergrowth. Don't worry, we are not cutting through untouched bush. Paul's land was cleared a hundred years ago for farming, and has since grown back into dense bush. We are clearing some of the more flammable undergrowth and attempting to restore it to the kind of park-like state that the Tasmanian Aborigines kept their hunting grounds for thousands of years. This is becoming increasingly important as the climate changes and dries out and bushfires are stronger and more common. As we clear out undergrowth it encourages the native grasses which encourage wallabies and pademelons to keep nibbling away and being our specially trained lawn-mowers and fire-retarding guardian angels. Plus, cutting wood and clearing fire tracks is a gloriously fun way to spend a weekend.
Paul has the big grand-daddy chainsaw, and I have the baby bear one. Paul bought this for me, because he knows that what women really want is chainsaws. This is a wee, battery operated one, mainly for pruning fruit trees on my gardening days. However, it is also perfect for cutting kindling.
Paul cuts giant logs for his giant boiler that keeps him warm and heats his water, and I come along behind cutting baby logs, which is handy because I have a tiny wood heater that needs small logs to heat up to keep our house toasty. I potter about the tracks cutting up limb wood that has dropped onto the forest floor.
At the end of the day we have a lot of wood sorted for the weeks of cold ahead. Happy winter's solstice to us, and to all, and thanks to the land that keeps us warm.
And happy summer solstice to all of you in the sunny North:)