The morning is crisp and clear, the air electric. The cold quickens my pace as I crunch through the snow on my way out to the old pickup. I load chainsaw, gas, oil, and an ax into the bed, then jump into the cab and crank 'er over. While she warms, I dart back into the kitchen for another cup — with Mama on my lap for a little morning lovin'. Then it's outside again, pulling on mittens as I go ...
... down the icy road, alive with anticipation. It's midwinter and time to make amends for a lazy summer and fall, when I should have been cutting firewood. There's no putting it off now. Mama has spoken: "Get more wood." Out past the farms and toward the Bureau of Land Management land, with pinon and juniper everywhere. Cross the rickety bridge and ease to a stop. Out of the warm truck, on with the tire chains, back in, and down the slope through deep, untraveled morning snow.
Look at that big old pinon over yonder. Quick, turn in right here! Out for a closer look. Yeah, this is the one for me. Probably half a load of spicy-smelling firewood in that downed tree. Thankfully, it's dead and has no sign of nests or holes. (Sure don't want to cut up anybody's winter home.)
Grab the saw. Check 'er over: gas, oil, chain tension. Lookin' good. Start 'er up, warm 'er up. Just look at the size of that old tree; must have been here when Washington was just a pup! Heft the growling, shark-toothed saw and bite into that log ... even thousand revs a minute ... half a mile of chain over the bar every sixty seconds ... plowing through ancient wood, smoking through resin so old and hard it's almost petrified. Saw-chips flying up and back in a graceful arc, then lining themselves out on the snow behind me.
Cut it up, load it up. Cut some more. Shut the saw off and stand knee-deep in fresh snow. Silence. Ahhh. The best part of a good morning? The quiet when the work is done. Just the slow tick, tick of cooling metal amid the stillness of a forest in winter.
Look! A hawk tracing slow circles across a steel blue sky. Searching for a meal, probably ... or watching me.
Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!LEARN MORE
At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).
You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.