As the winter tides rise, logs are freed from the beach. Wood floats. And our waters start to manifest the flotsam for which they have become famous. It is fire-wood harvest time for us.
But floating, good-for-chopping logs are getting more scarce lately (last four years or so). The Chinese will take anything and logging practices are more efficient and so a lot of wood that used to escape the booms now doesn’t. It all remains corralled and valuable. Not much gets away anymore. Our harvesting crop is less. Damn.
The other day, I heard the postmistress on the VHF telling her husband to get out and drive an errant (and now rarely seen) full-length log away from the post office dock. Logs caught amongst the pilings and floats can be a problem. Her husband dutifully complied and the offending log was set adrift further out in the current.
“Sal? If you are going up to the post office today, I heard there’s a log floating around up there. Ya might wanna take a sledge, log-dog and a rope?”
“OK. Is it a good one?”
“Dunno. Just heard D on the VHF. But, if it was big enough to warrant being towed off, it is likely good enough for us.”
A few hours later, Sal came home. I inquired about the log.
“That one drifted off but they had another. D didn’t want that one either but it’s tied up anyway. She said we could have it. It was getting late so how ’bout we go up in a day or so?”
In a way, that is not much different than having grown too many zucchinis in your garden (FYI – one is too many) or a bunch of potatoes or something. You have enough potatoes so you give your neighbours some. This is a bit different. This is a 45-foot Fir log. I guess they had enough of them. You say potatoes, I say fir logs. Same dif.
So, we went up today to fetch a pile of wood. Sal wrangled it down from the beach (90% was floating) and I picked it up in the boat. Then I picked up the wrangler. Then we headed home……..but first a little visiting was due.
One of our neighbours is building yet another boat (#16 I believe). This one is a pilot gig of 24 feet. Sweeeeeeeeeeet. Beeyooooooootiful. Just lovely. Gorgeous. And they (2 local guys) were at it up at their workshop on a very steep, scree-covered hillside.
We parked the boat with the log attached to his dock. It was pouring rain. We took off the tarp covering our dirtbike (parked nearby) and fired it up. Sal, the senior biker-chick, climbed up behind me and we scrambled and slid and clawed our way up the 1/3 mile goat track to visit S&K. We oohed and aaahed over the boat, had tea and then slid and braked our way down the hill to the boat. It was all good.
“How’d ya feel on the back, Sal?”
“Terrified going up. More terrified coming down.”
“Willing to do it again sometime?”
And so we finished our day towing the big ol’ fir log home. Maybe an hour. I eventually pulled into the little lagoon and Sal danced off the bow holding the end of the tow rope. She lashed the log to a tree on shore, danced over the slippery rocks back onto the boat and we thenmotored out of the lagoon and tied the boat to our dock and walked home. We were soaked.
As I write this, she is quilting.
A day in the life…eh?
Wow, that’s a lot of trouble for fire wood.. Our island is able to use wind damage and thinning almost entirely for our supply. No one has to take beach wood… Islanders here only in the summer tend to share with the full timers.. We are fortunate that we have a lot of Arbutus on our property which goes a long way…. Stay warm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The biggest reason is that we are water access only. Closest road is an old logging track quite overgrown and a mile away. Some of our neighbors can go a’foraging along old logging roads but we can’t. We do beachcombing like Bruno and Relic……
Bruno and Relic? you are dating your self 🙂 stay warm
Have started to process the log yet?
Nope. Gotta let it mellow……
We are lucky to still get picks of the litter. For us, a 45-foot fir would be too much to handle on our small floating dock to cut, split and store. Over on Sandy Beach log chunks that have been floating around the lake are still high and dry. We take the barge over and bring back a small load at a time, get it cut, split and stored. Then we go back for more. Kind of spreads out the work so it’s more fun than a chore. The good part is that they are mostly dry even now. Just a light ring of moistness on the outside. Once the go back to floating it can take forever to get them dry. – Margy
T’would be nice to have it easy but, all in all, it’s not the worst chore. It’s one of those things that takes you outdoors and gets you breathing and feeling alive. I’m OK with it.