There was a great big landslide during the last few days of November, 2020, in a not-so-far-away neighbourhood near us. A chunk of Bute Inlet was washed into the sea by a wall of water that started as a naturally dammed glacial lake that blew it’s banks and spilled over to join a storm-swollen river. That engorged ‘new’ river raced down hill and took half a mountain with it. A pretty massive amount of devastation resulted almost instantly.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bute-slide-ii.png
Photo: National Observer

But it is a bad landslide that does not sweep somebody some good even if the overall effect was pretty damn bad. The forest there was erased. The salmon habitat suffered. The normal delta area there was suffocated under the slide. A cottage or two was swept away and the sea was virtually unnavigable for miles around because of the ‘debris’.

Image: Hakai Institute

But the debris was not just mud and smashed trees. It included hundreds of good, healthy, assorted-sized trees as well. Put another way, next winter’s firewood was then just floating around for the picking. And so some of us went a’picking.

Well, to be more honest, we just sat at home and watched in amazement as the natural bounty was swept hither and yon all through the region and we are right in the middle of yon. There were trees everywhere!

I have suggested in prior blogs that my wife is a bit of a nut but nothing illustrates her quirks quite so much as when she comes across bounty. She can get ‘hooked’. I once had to physically pick her up and carry her to the vehicle begging for more ‘sifting’ time when we had stopped to try washing sugar garnets from a roadside tourist trap. The kids and I had enjoyed the process for 20 minutes or so but an hour later, Sal was still saying, “Just one more bucket of sand, just one more!”

She is much the same way with Roger’s chocolates and, surprisingly, she is also a driven and obsessed log-aholic. She kept shrieking, “Oooh, look at that log! Another good one. C’mon, let’s go!”

“Sweetheart, we already have a lagoon full of logs. We have half the hill strewn with logs. And we have a bunch tied up and floating near the dock. We have no more room, no more rope, no more log dogs and, quite frankly, I think we are starting the 2023 winter wood pile already! We do not need anymore logs.”

“I know. I know. But, it’s like free money in the bank (she tends to garble her metaphors a smidge) and they are just sitting there! I need to get some. I need ’em. C’mon! Just one more…..maybe two. And yellow cedar doesn’t count!” Translation: by exempting yellow cedar, she was basically saying, ‘Let’s get a couple fir or Hemlock and then hunt all day long for yellow cedar ’cause they don’t count.’

‘Money in the Bank!’

Suffice it to say, we got in some wood this winter.

13 thoughts on “Wood

    • Right! The real work is just beginning and me without my highline. But that does not mean I am hiking it all up the 120 foot 35 degree slope. I am putting in a new highline first. And that arrives on the 26th. So the logs can just marinate for a few more days. Then we’ll get on the job likely getting up one third of the logs one day, another third two days later and so on…..and then cutting a bunch to lengths for a day and then just letting it all air-dry til late in the summer. I am glad to see that this amuses you, Wim. You want we should save a pile for you?


  1. Looks like a terrible slide. We had one a few years ago along a creek that enters Powell Lake. The lake water was clouded with suspended mud for weeks and jumbles of logs were a boating hazard. I use the same metaphor as Sal when it comes to wood. – Margy


    • Well, there is, in the common speech, “Free money” and there is also the phrase, “Like money in the bank.” But it is NOT common to say, “Like free money in the bank.” That is mixing metaphors. But my life with Sal is very much like mixed metaphors so it does kinda work.


  2. A natural disaster becomes natures bounty. Nice.

    There’s been quite a few big slides this year on the coast.
    I’m wondering if the massive amount of rain has anything to do with it and if this is what we can expect in the future with climate change.


  3. I’m fond of a mixed metaphor. πŸ™‚
    What a shame that the landslide caused such damage to the delta. That yellow cedar is real purdy. Perhaps you could get it milled somehow and make something out of it rather than use it mostly for firewood. Don’t tell Sal I suggested that.


  4. Well, you can save a pile for me πŸ™‚ . I am pretty good with a chainsaw and also at chopping and stacking wood. Still have a lot of chopping to do here myself (we also burn wood, although much less then you….we have an open fireplace in the livingroom). I know already some of the required skills for living OTG


  5. Being willing to ‘help a neighbour out’ is the only prerequisite skill and so YOU ARE IN!!! But no hurry. We are good. We have a system. We have the tools. And I have Sal. We are good to go. Good attitude is everything. eh?


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