"You still have a lot
of farm boy in you, Tom," Mike said. "I'm impressed."
Yesterday we cut wood at the farm. We have several big oaks on the back corner of the place which died of oak wilt a few years ago, and which high winds brought down for us. Oak is the best kind of firewood, and we were making a start at taking these trees while they were still good wood.
We have a Franklin stove in the living room of the old farmhouse, in addition to a small gas furnace. And Mary and I have an add-on wood furnace in our house in Fairwater. Between the two places, we'll go through a fair bit of firewood over the course of the wood-burning season.
It was a lovely day to be outside. A mostly sunny sky. The wind was subdued. There was a cover of snow to hide everything drab and brown.
Mary's brother Philip ran one chainsaw. Mike ran the other. Mike's brother Jim and Philip's wife Susan and my Mary ran the splitter and did the stacking. Mike and Jim are friends from Kansas City who come to visit us and can put up with this kind of abuse.
And Tom? Well, mostly Tom carried the chunks of tree: bucked them up from where they lay when they were cut and hauled them step by step to the splitter where they were turned to stove- and furnace-sized slabs. Someone had to do it: I didn't really think about it.
We cut and carried and split and stacked about two cords in the morning, then we went back to the house for a late lunch and a bit of rest. We went back out and cut and carried and split and stacked perhaps another cord and a half.
Three and a half cords all total cut and carried and split for stove or furnace. We called that a day's work. And it was.
By and by, we had some supper in the evening - leg of lamb and wild turkey and sweet potatoes and regular potatoes and fried apples and green salad. The workmen and workwomen deserve their recompense. By and by Philip and Mike and Jim were playing guitar and filling the old farmhouse with song. By and by Mary and I had to return to Fairwater; we packed our things and got our coats on. And that's when Mike said, "You still have a lot of farm boy in you, Tom."
I hadn't really thought about it, but - yes - we are geared a little different. When you see that tree from over there must be carried to the splitter over here, that's what you do. You carry the tree, a piece at a time. When you finish, you carry another tree. You do that all day long, til the guys with the chainsaws get tired. It's the farm boy way. You might say we don't know any better.
With the hard walking Mary and I have been doing since the first of the year, I found that I'm in pretty good shape to do a hard day's work. I lifted with my knees and carried with my legs and - wu-hoo - I'm not even sore this morning.
And that's a farm boy bragging....