The fire season has been the most intense I remember in a while. The cold weather has made us go through our wood stash fast. Today I was gathering kindling again, this time of year we need more as we often let the fire die down during the day. The temps are warmer, and we are low on wood, no point wasting it. If we stoke the stove first thing in the morning and then bank the coals and ash against the side mid to late morning, there will be coals in the evening when we want to fire it up again. But that doesn’t always happen, so more kindling is needed to restart the fire at the end of the day.
Wood hauling has declined this week. Instead of a cartload or two pulled from the far side of the yard to the near side of the yard where a large wood rack sits under the deck and a smaller one up top, this time of year, it’s a wheelbarrow load or two. When we are filling both racks in December and January, we work together loading, hauling, stacking. To get the wood up the ten steps to the deck we use a large burnt orange nylon bag with stout handles that we can fill with 12 or 13 logs and each grab a handle and climb the stairs together to load the rack up top. We switch sides midway to keep from over working one arm.
Now I carry the wood up in my arms by myself, I see the extra trips up the steps with smaller loads as a part of my wood hauling workout; lifting, reaching, toting and moving all those logs. After that activity I think to myself, time to start upping the abdominal work to protect my back from the digging, bending and hauling that will be coming up as we begin to prepare and plant the vegetable garden and clean out the flower beds.
By mid- spring the wheelbarrow will sit at the bottom of the stairs and we'll just run down and get an armful as needed. When there are days and nights with no fire we'll reach a point of running across the yard with the big orange bag and just grabbing enough for bedtime and coffee time on the last cold nights. Soon enough there will be no fire at all.
The promise of spring is in the air, the days are warming, yet after dark it’s still clear and chilly. At the moment, the moon is bright. I’ve been watching it as it rises, before the sun has set, about ¾’s full and so brilliant, even in the blue sky. By Friday it will be full and shining in the bedroom window in the wee hours, pulling on our lunatic instincts, keeping us from a deep sleep as we roll and toss thinking of the projects and chores before us as our sap begins to rise.