Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dvision of Labor

Our neighbor took down a couple of trees recently and offered the wood to us in exchange for us cleaning up the downed trees from her yard. We never pass up free firewood, and as a result, we've actually heated our house for free for the past two winters.

The wood from our neighbors trees won't be dry enough to burn until next year, at the earliest (the oak might even need to sit for another winter before we try to burn it), and so, we (and I say "we", but I mean "Deus Ex Machina") have been splitting the logs only small enough so that we can lift them and move them to our house. The plan is to split the logs small enough for the woodstove after they've seasoned a bit more - like next summer ;).

So, the other day we were getting the last of the trees out of her yard, and Deus Ex Machina had split a couple of logs, but this one stubborn log didn't split all the way in two. The bark was still intact holding the big log together. I could lift it, but carrying it with half of it split was awkward. So, he tells me to plop it up on the stump and split it the rest of the way, and then, he turns around to grab a couple more logs and load them into the back of our SUV.

I moved the log onto the stump and grabbed the maul. Then, I heft it over my head, like I've seem him do so many times, and I drop it onto the top of the log. Nothing. So, I try again, and again, and then Deus Ex Machina says to me, as I'm hefting the maul for a fourth time, "I'm going to call you lightning."

I smile, kind of sheepishly thinking this is some great compliment, like "Lightning McQueen" (from Cars - although I can't quite figure out the similarities to that one ;), or maybe something along the lines of his liking the way I'm handling this "man's job", even though the top of the log now has several little dings - all in different places - but the log is no closer to being two.

"Why?" I inquire waiting for the gush of admiration and adoration.

"Because you never strike the same place twice."

He's so witty.


  1. He is a funny one, that DeM... Merry Merry to all of you!

  2. That sounds like something my husband might say! Made me laugh...

  3. OUCH.

    Next year should be long enough. We had some oaks dropped in our back yard back in March, and we're burning that wood now.

  4. haha. My boss just asked me what I was laughing so hard about. That's great. :)

  5. Well, you could ship the wood here to the arid desert and our dry air would suck every last bit of moisture out of it in no time. But, the carbon cost of all that shipping might not quite be in line with your goals. ;-)

    Love the lightning comment (insult?).

  6. Depending on the tree species, some logs resist splitting quite a bit more than others. Lodgepole, birch, and cherry are bad this way. With these, I zip a stripe down the length of the log, 1/2 inch deep, with the chainsaw, and now it's ready to split.

    Some, like cottonwood, split really, really well if you whack not across the middle but at an angle to the middle, like:

    ( |)

    Practice those whacks and zips when he's not looking and then surprise him. There was a day when he was "lightning" himself. ;)