I sit here typing, enjoying the warm fire burning bright in the corner. It's warmth envelopes the house in a cozy glow and it's power saving heat is a welcome addition in the winter. Here in the foothills of California our summers are hot! The air conditioners work overtime so in the winter we try to save power as much as possible. To accomplish this job the wood burning stove takes center stage.
It sounds so nice the fireplace burning bright but country life is hardly as glamorous as it sounds. Our weekends are filled with collecting, splitting and piling this precious resource. We are among the lucky people who have a property that is filled with the precious fuel but getting the logs to where they need to be on a forty acre mountain is a lot harder than it seems.
I would not trade my fire for any other heat source though. There is something about having the fire place going full bore all winter that warms the soul. Working with the wood in the yard brings you closer to nature and increases your skills with a hatchet, unless you want a few less finger tips (believe me I've lost one here and there). The skill of creating the fire and keeping it burning all night is something that is key to survival so I am thankful for lots of practice.
I am also thankful for all the great gas powered tools that we have to make the process easier. The quad has replaced the wheel barrow and makes moving the piles around a breeze. The gas powered splitter has replaced the maul and sledge, making the break down of huge rounds as easy as pushing a lever. Even though fire wood is a lot of work, these modern helpers keep the job manageable.
My point of sharing all of our firewood woes and blessings is to get you thinking about that electricity produced heat that many of us take for granted. Without this electrical power many people would suffer greatly. It is important to have a back up plan in the winter no matter where you live. If you are like me and you live in the country and enjoy all of the gas powered goodies that make the job easier, it is important to consider how you would do the job without them. Do you have a maul? Do you have the tools you need to get the wood gathering and splitting done without gas? Are you in shape so you could push the wheelbarrow around without having a heart attack?
Winter is a great time to think about our survival skills. Life gets a little more challenging and we have to work harder for those little conveniences. Time to get prepping and make sure you are ready to meet the challenge if you had to.