A day in the life……..

Update: Sal and I have been gettin’ in the wood these past few days.  Firewood.  We have not had to do much in the way of stocking the woodpile these past few years.  We’ve had it easy.  We’ve gotten soft.  Especially Sal (but I like that in a woman, personally).

We were away for the winter for a couple of the past few years, the house is well insulated and, of course, we get the heating benefits of global warming. The three or four cords we had in the wood shed served us for the better part of four years.  But this year, staying put, we pounded through the back half of it and so it was time to get back into the swing of things.

As the days go by, we generally keep an eye out for a good ‘floater’, a log that sits high in the water and looks generally knot free.  Potential heat.  We like the little ones – between 8 and 12 inches in diameter.  Easier to manage for us.  Don’t forget, we have to drag ’em up the hill on the highline, then drag ’em across the top of our property to pile up in the pile-up place.  Then they sit there until we have enough – 30 or 40 twelve-foot lengths – or, in some years we had to get on with it whether we had enough or not.  Usually we have enough to warrant the effort. Over the past few years, we had acquired the thirty or so logs and now we were gettin’ on with it.

Funny how age compensates for less energy……..now we double-thought and stewed about the process a bit more and did a few minor changes to our ‘system’ and then started up a’workin’ a few days ago.  A little different system.  A few efficiency moves…….

“God!  At this rate, we will still take ten or twelve days to get it all in.”

“Well, we are doin’ good.  The first day is always slow.  We can pick it up to a full row a day, I am sure.”

That’s my point.  We need twelve rows!”

“Right!  Quit yer lollygaggin’, then.  Let’s get on this!”

Today we put in the 11th row.  We only have one more to do.  We’ll finish it tomorrow.  We did good.  And so we are good.  The wood shed is full.

“Dave, one row doesn’t seem like a lot?”

It’s not.  One piece of split-wood, the row is 12 feet long and eight feet high.  That is the sad part.  One row is half a cord maybe a quarter…something like that.   If we worked hard, we could do one cord a day.  Maybe two.  But we don’t work hard.  We work hard for two hours.  Maybe three.  Then we have tea. That’s the day.  That’s the hard part of the day, anyway.  There is a great deal more to our day but the hard part is now quite limited.

It used to be four hours of hard work but, if we have a choice, it is now two.  We don’t always have a choice so four and even 6 hour days are not uncommon but they are usually not the ‘lifting logs’ and wheel-barrowing wood kind of days.  As a rule.  Typically, we can do a four or six hour day and be tired out but, to be honest, nothing all that heavy or difficult is undertaken. It is usually just the time spent.  Like making dinner, writing the blog/book, fielding calls, sharpening stuff, working on the motorbike….nothing that breaks a sweat.

Side note: motorbike improvement.  Clutch NOW works.   

But, when we lift logs, haul rocks, carry heavy steel crap back and forth or do carpentry or something, our work output is somewhat diminished.  The good part?  Well, we are better at doing that sort of thing nowadays.  So, despite NOT doing too much of it, we actually still get stuff done.

As soon as this is done, we have to build a large BOAT crib out of old creosoted logs we salvaged.  My boat is leaking.  But the old crib collapsed.  Time for a new one.  Quickly.

I’m gonna hafta get Sal on it.

15 thoughts on “A day in the life……..

    • Yes and no. Typically, an ocean-delivered log has been washed of bark but, when there is some, we keep it. Yeah, D-Fir is considered best but, honestly, there is virtually no difference in btu rating and absolutely no difference in the experience of it. Properly dried Hemlock is 95% of what D-Fir is – to us, anyway. The hottest burn is old coastal pine. The gnarly, tough-as-nails stuff. OMG, that stuff burns and burns hot and long. Next to impossible to split, tho. Best to burn the whole of the round. They are never more than 6 inches in diameter. The problem is they don’t float by. The loggers don’t take ’em. THEY just ‘slash ’em’. Complete waste of good firewood.

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  1. On the east coast as kids we would work with our Uncles to cut soft wood (pine or spruce) into cords for a pulp truck to come in the Fall and take. $40 for a cord with the bark “on” and $80 a cord for peeled wood.
    Guess who did the bark “peeling”
    Nothing worse than working all summer long with the blackflies and mosquitos and the 1970’s long hair AND pine tar to gum everything up.
    My uncle laughed long and loud when my second week I was sporting a crewcut. It didnt help much.
    Our “gold mine” was when we’d find an old oak or a maple that had blown down in the previous years Hurricaine( Most farmers didnt want their perfectly good maple( potential syrup) tree or oak tree being cut down).
    $200 a cord AND no sticky tar .They’d burn for hours in a wood stove.
    Something primal about a hot glowing wood stove on a cold , wet rainy night and knowing you’ve got at least a years supply out back.
    Mind you a rural friend in Quebec went through 14 cords of firewood for PERSONAL consumption 2 winters ago and only 4 cords last winter….crazy weather.

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    • AND I lied! We did NOT do the last bit today, like I expected….a friend sailed by and stopped for a visit. Damn. Just when you thought you had it handled. Oh well, tomorrow, I guess. But, t’is the season for drop-ins. Ya never know. Seems we have NO friends in winter but are very popular in the sunny weather….

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      • No. But there is a semi-regular visitor who signs Red Green. NOT likely Steve Smith. Maybe?

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      • There is a little red light, there is a little green.
        You got to stop on the red and go on the green but do not get caught by mister in between.

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  2. As oil prices plunge Alberta’s economy is in a tail spin. Oil prices have dropped from about $140 to about $45 or so. World wide market forces have participated in this trend every where including Latin America. Economic challenges abound in all states. The popularity of the ‘Bern’ an avowed socialist is a sign of discontent about inequality. The Donald suggests that he might default on Americas trillions of debt. The concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals is seen by many to be preferable to helping the poor. The wagons are circled at the mere hint of greater social justice.

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    • “Greater Social Justice” is in the eyes of whoever controls the money…..
      You’re not seriously inferring that Latin American ‘social experiments” such as Venezuela’s bizarrely named “Bolivarian Revolution” ( aka 21 century socialist revolution) that has failed so miserably that armed guards are unable to stop looters from ransacking markets out of desperation……where people are so hungry they are eating stray cats and dogs as reported yesterday in the news.
      Or the country of Brazil that is also suffering through the worst recession since the Great Depression after the left leaning socialist “Workers Labour Party has essentially bankrupted the country through mismanagement, incompetance, corruption, etc.etc.etc. Their socialist President Dilma was just impeached and booted from office a few days ago when she was found to be using govt money for her reelection…….
      Blaming their economic ineptitude on “Market forces” or “big business”dropping the price of the black gold is a tad simplistic.
      Apparently even socialist are corrupt, greedy and very willing to call in the army when it suits them. But forget about all that and celebrate the Olympics……….

      Lets look at another reason.
      The biggest producer of oil in the world is Saudi Arabia and they have opened the taps wide to crush Iran’s newly legal “trade status”. The Saudi’s have also wanted to render “Fracking” bankrupt by driving the price of oil so low US producers squeal in agony.( Or commit suicide as the biggest “fracker” in the US just did one day before he was to testify in a senate hearing for racketeering/price fixing.) But I digress
      The US became oil “independant” 2 years ago due to a huge surplus of “fracked” fuel . The US is awash in strategic reserves of oil. The highest levels in its history.

      Russia, the worlds secong biggest producer, staggers under its own corrupt, inept version of “capitalism” where former communists/oligarchs steal everything from their starving “socialist” comrades.
      Vladimir Putin is estimated to be worth $40 Billion US and if the revelation of the Panama Papers are any indication (his lifelong best friend, a salaried cellist in the Russian Symphony is worth $2 billion. Putins son in law, a doctor, is worth $2 billion) those estimates could be low.
      Putin. Another former “socialist” wallowing neck deep in corruption while “his people ‘ starve.

      We’ll wait and see what happens to the price of oil as Saudi Arabia burns through billions of petro dollars squirreled away in a rainy day fund ($900 Billion at the beginning of 2015 and dropping dramatically as they run $90 Billion dollar annual deficits).
      Its possibly why the Saudis are tinkering with “going public” and floating shares of Aramco( the worlds richest AND privately owned company valued at conservative estimates of $1 Trillion dollars. Yep thats Trillion with a “T”).
      All because the Saudi Royal family can see the financial writing on the wall. Either they cut back on oil production and raise the price of oil which will help Iran(their hated enemy that they are fighting in proxy wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq) and Russia( who supplies arms and advice to their hated enemy in Yemen, Syria and Iraq) which will make the cost of living go up.
      And if the cost of living goes up….. that will possibly topple the limping European, Chinese, Japanese and US economies……..
      Even economists are talking about the last act of desperation after Quantitative Easing……..
      Helicopter money.
      You aint seen nuthin yet.
      Living OTG could be a salvation for a lot of people.
      So dont blame “big bad business”…
      It isnt a “conspiracy”.
      Its ruthless business at its worst and the socialists will line up at the money trough just as quick as the capitalists.
      All to be first in line for the gravy.
      Rant over. My beer is empty.

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      • Hmmm….does that mean that the # of rants is in sync with the # of beers at hand?
        You make an interesting series of points but the one I like best is the one I read between the lines…’all politicians are corrupt and the socialists aren’t socialist and the Capitalists are thieves. In other words, the labels these pigs give themselves are just plain old lies…like our so-called Liberals in BC. Like the so-called Conservatives of last year.’
        Hmmmm…jus’ sayin’ that made me want a beer…………

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  3. It is a complicated world. It is hard to know who to believe. Seems world oil reserves are not as high as was claimed. Hence oil prices reaching a six month peak due to higher demand in India and elsewhere. Canada has the third highest proven oil reserves and yet several Canadian provinces are experiencing difficulties but do Canadians blame our politicians or our mixed economy? Saudi Arabia has the second largest proven reserves but is an oligarchy with a challenging human rights record. Seems scruples are ignored as Canadian military materials are sold to Saudi for use against whom? Daily stories are run in the press about mostly nothing but elevated to the highest level. Countries that product oil are in the tank but no one is to blame and no one will accept blame. When Jim Prentice told Albertans that the gravey train was off the rails they booted him out of office.

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    • Its complicated in your world THATS for certain..
      Random neurons firing off out of sequence couldnt even begin to explain that nonsensical semi coherent pseudo geopolitical rebuttal.
      Let me guess. Bachelor of Arts?. With a minor in Political Science? Still paying the student loan off?
      Canada may have the 3rd largest proven reserves but there’s that pesky tar sand thingy that makes our “oil” the most expensive to refine by a quantum leap. Canadian tar sand oil cost profitablity “breaks even” at about $65 US a barrel. Saudi oil breaks even at $4 US a barrel …..kinda hard to compete with that…….
      Pray tell. If Saudi Arabia has the ‘second largest” oil reserves. Who is number one? And while we talking about Saudi Arabia , I would say most people would refer to it as a theocracy rather than an oligarchy (Russia) but since both are brutal dictatorships that imprison, torture and murder their own citizens with impunity the average citizen of either country would be hard pressed to see the difference.
      Higher demand in INDIA? …..and elswhere……? Perhaps China or the US rather than India might, just might, be the biggest consumer in the world of the black goo?
      As for the rest of your comments.
      I dont think supplying GM manufactured armored personelle carriers to Saudi Arabia a “black mark” against Canada when the US,France,Germany Britain is supplying them with Jets, missles, attack drones, artillery guns, shells, etc,etc,etc. we send them trucks with armoured plate to protect their soldiers from Irans (Russian and Chinese) bombs, missles, jets, etc.etc.etc.
      War is profitable, and until we’re beating each other over the head with sticks and stones again( which, ironically enough, Albert Einstein predicted we will do after WWIII).
      It will remain profitable to sell bullets, bombs and bandages to the “other guy”.
      As for the “blame” for the low price of oil……I already covered that in a previous comment and your more than welcome to go back and read it slowly so it actually sinks in.
      And as for the Alberta election debacle for the 40 year plus reign or the Conservatives ( whose relevance to the discussion at hand escapes me).
      The conservatives had been in power far far too long and had grown lazy, arrogant and out of touch with the average voter. Kinda like Stephen Harper and most sitting leaders.(Unfortunately Christy Clark seems to defy all the odds with her babbling BS but thats another topic for another day)
      A 1 legged dog with fleas could have gotten elected Premier and judging by how NDP Preem Rachel Notley is doing in the latest polls these days. It would be more popular.
      I await your nonsensical response with baited breath.

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  4. We look for floaters like you do, but we only have to haul them up on our cedar raft to dry, or if they are big leave them in the water until cutting. That’s a last resort and this year we didn’t have to go there. We found enough small stuff to cut, and about 2/3 of it needed only one or two splits. We cheat. Wayne bought me an electric log splitter for my birthday (or maybe Christmas, I forget now) and that makes my life a lot easier. We use the generator and it gets even logs with knots split much easier. I like some cedar in the mix to get the fires going hot and fast, and then ad the hemlock and fir rounds to keep it going longer. Unless it is extremely cold in winter we let the last fire die and wait until morning to start it again. Makes for interesting negotiations in the mornings if you know what I mean. – Margy

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