Sunday, August 31, 2008

Appreciate Your Heat

That's right I'll say it again you city dwellers with electric or gas heat, you better appreciate that luxury and how easy life is with it. Out here in the boonies most people resort to two types of heat. The first is clean burning propane, as Hank from King of the Hill would say. Its a great fuel source for heating anything but its downsides are the price up here and the fact that you have to have a monster sized propane tank sitting somewhere relatively close to your house in order to get you through the winter.
The second option, and seemingly most popular in this neck of the woods is WOOD! Just about everyone I know has some sort of wood stove or even wood belly furnace to keep their houses warm in the winter. I tell you what, nothing keeps a house as warm or dry in the winter as wood heat. I certainly learned to appreciate that over the past two winters when I would come into the house after a day in the field snowshoeing, getting cold and wet. But of course wood does not get delivered by little elfin type fairies, no no, if you want it you either have to have the chainsaw and wood permit to go out and get some, or know someone that will do the work and sell it to you by the cord (for those of you that don't know, a cord is a volumetric unit that is a pile of stacked wood measuring 4x4x8 ft).

Now Frank, Polly, and Mace are all hard working, independent people, so I'm sure you can guess which option they go for every winter, that's right WOOD! That's not to say that they don't have propane on the side in case of a particularly hard winter, but their primary source of heat is a wood stove in each of their homes. Each spring and fall Frank and Mace buy a wood permit, lovingly provided by yours truly out at the ranger station, and head out Martin Creek or Huckleberry with two 3/4 ton pickups and a 17 ft flatbed trailer. In a days work the two men can load the trailer and two pickups with anywhere between 3 and 4 cord of wood. That may not sound like much but when you look at everything loaded it seems like a ton. Mace's house is smaller so he only goes through about 8-10 cord of wood in a winter, the other house is a lot bigger and has a fireplace which is less efficient than a stove, so I shudder to think how much would we go through there. All I know is that Frank fills a bard full of wood and by the time spring rolls around there are only a few hunks of red fir or larch rolling around.

So over the last couple years I've participated in getting wood with the boys. Yesterday was just one such occasion. You all know me, I'm not one to sit around and have things done for me. I'm living here so I think its only right of me to help. Besides I'm no fragile little gal that's afraid to break a nail. Nope, not me, I'm out there with a set of gloves, work boots on, and picking up 30- 50 lb pieces of wood with the best of them. We all take turns between running the chainsaws, moving the trucks, and loading the rounds in each one of the vehicles. Between the three of us it goes pretty fast. Mace and Frank pretty much have it down to a science so the first few times I felt like more of a hindrance than a help, but I've gotten the hang of it and will run the block and cables from the downed timber up to the road as fast as any guy, maybe even faster than some. Now I couldn't go work with the guys from that show Axeman or anything like that but I pull my own weight.

Once the trucks are loaded, the battle is only half over. This time of year with the rain fall and freezing and thawing between night and daylight, the roads off the mountains are pretty well beat up. Around every turn you either meet a washboard surface or some pothole that makes the truck dip precariously in one direction or another, which isn't too great when you have round pieces of wood stacked about 5 ft high in the bed. So we take our time and occasionally have to pop out of the cab and go adjust the load a little. Then we head home to offload and restack the wood. By the time everything is said and done we're all sore and tired and ready for a shower. All in a days work right? Oh wait... yesterday was my day off... *laughs*.

ps... I guess that means today we need to split it all and restack it again. It never ends.

1 comment:

Kati said...

And I thought sleeping on the floor next to the radiant heat sucked.

In other sucking news :D Last night we girls got together to talk about Saturday night over dinner. Not to be obsessed, but here's the important part.

A really, really handsome (HANDSOME) guy was FIGHTING over dancing with me (versus 3 of his FRIENDS), and when he and his friends had to catch the bus back to their town, he waved at me while he was leaving.

In other news, it feels as though my contact is blinding me. :(

I have to go to the police station to pick up my cell phone, now!