Tipsy with power

“Lovely day for hauling logs, eh?”

“OK.  Let us get the sea weed up, too.”  

And so it was that Saturday became log hauling day.  That is when we bring up the chopped-to-length logs from the beach to the 75 foot level of our property so as to process them into firewood for the coming seasons.  Today we hauled up nine sections. Plus ten buckets of garden sea weed. We are putting in next years compost and year 3’s firewood.  It is good to be out ahead of the chores especially when you are dealing with big logs on high lines and flinging them around like they were pillows.

“The winch won’t start!”

“Never mind, I’ll get my tools.  We’ll fix it.”

And we did.  Bit of a spark plug problem.  Bit of a gasoline-gone-stale problem.  Twenty minutes later, we were lumberjacks again.  Some parts of the high-line had also started to vibrate loose so, between logs, I tightened bolts, re-aligned the cable and re-tightened shackles.  All done matter-of-factly.

Anyone watching would think we knew what we were doing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the really surprising thing is that we almost do!  Of course, we DO NOT know all that needs knowing but we have managed to learn enough to get past most of the common challenges that are inflicted upon the off-the-grid newbie in the first five years or so.  And there are a myriad of them from reluctant outboards to wiring in new outbuildings, from plumbing to solar arrays.  What used to send a chill down my spine and a tremble in my heart is now, ‘ho hum‘, part of the deal, no biggie.

I can’t describe how good it feels NOT have a slight panic rise in your throat when, a few years ago, it would have.  We are starting to gain some confidence.

Sal’s default position is, of course, always confident and happy. She does not know fear, self-doubt or possess much common sense, really.  It’s bliss.  “What?  Go hunting and kill and butcher a deer?  Why not?  Which end of the gun is this? Point me in the right direction. What kind of wine goes well with venison?”  

My default position?  Disproportionate responsibility, culpability, potential embarrassment and fear of possible dismemberment.  Blood-letting to be sure.  Maybe a lawsuit to follow. Summed up?  “Now what!?” (complete with the appropriate tone). I tend to think that engines will blow up, pipes will burst and electricity will kill me in the end. I still think it a minor miracle that the outboard starts and that we have hot showers. I don’t forget the past easily.  If those things don’t get me, something else will but it might be so quick I might not notice. Like a cougar.  Or a tree falling when I am not looking.  Or,if it isn’t instant death it will be worse than that – it will cost me a lot of money to fix. I hate that.

Or, just as bad, I may have to deal with people-in-power (am getting real close to preferring instant death over people-in-power).

But today was good.  Calm.  No panic attacks.  I have come a long way, baby.  A long way.

Anyway, today we were the people in power and we had our way with those logs and that seaweed. Power put to good use.  It’s intoxicating, it really is.

10 thoughts on “Tipsy with power

    • Sometimes I cut ’em wrong and they get closer to 500 or 600 pounds. When that happens, Sal can’t lift ’em using the block and taykle. But the longer they are (up to 15′ cut from as long as a 50 footer) the lighter they are – for her. “That’s nuts!” Not really, Sal only has to lift one end (the log goes up the hill dragging the butt end) and so more weight is transferred back. We need 60 lengths a year. So, we are not THAT far along yet.


  1. The wood is just for heating the home? Not for heating water? Or for cooking?How many cords of wood will you burn in a typical winter? 10?
    (I had a friend in North Van that heated a 700 sq ft house with about 8 cords a winter.)
    Pesky questions I know, but inquisitions always are.


    • They are not pesky in the least. Ask away. Illumination is still gonna be elusive (consider the source of the answers). We rarely burn through more than 3 cords a winter. Maybe 4 in a bad year. We have a well-insulated 1200 sft home, a small but efficient (70%) stove that we run hot. We get hot water from SS pots on the stove in the winter but otherwise use a propane demand heater. Lights by way of Industrial Light and Magic (PV and genset). Cooking is propane but a few stews and slo-cooks on the stove in winter. Pretty simple.


        • Oh, I forgot to mention. I was working on a fishboat last week and the electricians were installing L.E.D. potlights. Not your typical potlights. Very shallow profile( only about 1.5 inches deep) so installation is quite easy. Way better even than compact fluorescents for the power consumption.
          Amazing illumination for almost no amps. The potlights were about $150 a piece but rated for some ridiculous amount of time like 40,000 hours of life. I had never seen LED pot lights that thin before. Even the installers were impressed with the amount of illumination they gave off. And cool to the touch, so no fire hazards.


        • Well, we usually go away for two weeks or so when it is really cold, so that counts. And we consider 68-70 F plenty warm enough so that may be part of it. And, so far this year, we have not gone through much of anything yet except a wheelbarrow of off-cuts and bits. We’ll likely hit November without even touching the real woodpile. And then we usually quit around may 1 – give or take. So that’s five months with a section out for ‘time away’. But even our coldest day is around 30 F. So we are pretty fortunate, really.


          • Yeah, the west coast “winters” are a blessing. I have some friends in Quebec that went through the worst winter they can remember last year. Usual firewood consumption, 10 cords. Last winter, 14 cords.
            Still, your 4 cords of consumption is amazing.


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