I have a love-hate relationships with the morning. I am a morning person, and like getting up early and maybe even accomplishing a few things before work. On the other hand, I hate getting up. I like lying in bed with the animals and listening to the birds chirp. I like flipping the pillow over to get the cool side one more time before I roll out of bed.
During the winter, it’s easy for me to get a good night’s sleep. The sun goes down before dinner, so by six or so in the evening, I’m ready for bed. I struggle to stay awake, and light every candle and lantern in the cabin to keep myself up so I don’t end up sleeping twelve hours every day. But now it’s tough to go to bed. The sky is light until after nine and the sun is up so early that I’m usually awake before my alarm goes off.
Sometimes getting up early has its benefits. Last week my days off were actually pretty nice. Cool, but at least not rainy. All of the piles of stuff in the yard that I can ignore all winter because they’re covered in snow were in full view, mocking my laziness in cleaning them up. I don’t really need three huge piles of wood in the yard. The bag of returnable bottles from two years ago should probably have been disposed of a long time ago. And the fifteen or so shingles that were left on the porch roof before I rebuilt it actually had grass starting to grow up through them. It was time for my spring cleaning.
I spend most of the winter inside the cabin. Of course I go skiing and snow shoeing and have a social life, but I don’t hang out outside at my cabin all that much. It’s cold and there’s snow everywhere, so being out in the yard is not that much fun. But this week, I made the outside a little more usable doing what normal people call yard work.
That bag of returnable bottles? Re-bagged and donated to charity. The shingles? Bagged and tossed in a proper disposal bin. I could have dragged them up to one of the old dumps, but adding new stuff to the old dumps seems wrong. And as for the three big piles of wood, I cleaned up one of them. The other two are ok, but the one junk wood pile has been bugging me, and now it’s gone. That makes me happy.
I have a huge stack of wood for outside fires in front of my cabin. I have been looking at the same pieces of wood and blue tarps for two years, but the pile is stacked neatly, and it’s too big to move so, I have no choice but to be content with it where it is. The other pile of good firewood for next winter is now sitting in the middle of a large weed-whacked area. It seems out of place, but I’ll soon be building the new wood shed and this stack will be moved under a roof soon enough. But the third pile was the ugly, unwanted bastard of my wood piles.
Rotting stumps, huge pieces of old driftwood, and even some forty year old plywood made up the third pile. There’s still nails in the plywood and after sitting directly on the ground for the last couple years, the wood in this pile was not so choice. I have an outside fire almost every night. It’s a pleasant way to kill a few hours before bed, and also use some of the junk wood and clean it up a little bit. After weed eating around the fire pits last week, I made a concerted effort to get rid of the bonfire pile. Not by having a bonfire, but by cleaning it up.
There’s an old hitching post in the yard that had some old logs stacked in it. I don’t know when the logs were placed there, but when I went to move them I found that they were more soil than wood. I shoveled them out and wheeled it all into the woods. Then I took a couple of old two-by-tens that I had laying around and attached them to the bottom of the hitching post to make a proper wood rack. I pulled the plywood off the bonfire pile and started stacking the wood in the new rack. I was left with three wheelbarrow loads of wood that was too rotten to burn, so back to the woods it went.
I threw an old chain on my chainsaw and ripped the plywood into burnable-sized pieces. I then found an old sheet of tin roofing that was so bent and mangled that it would never sit flat again. I screwed this to the top of the hitching post and stepped back to admire the new wood rack. There’s a big ugly brown circle in the yard where the wood was, but that will be grown over in a year or two.
As I stood there approving of the job I had done, I realized that I had spent the entire morning moving a little firewood about twenty feet. It seemed like a waste of time until the next night. It rained all the next day but cleared up that night. Instead of digging around for dry wood under the rotten and rusty-nail laden plywood, I casually walked up to the new rack and got a few pieces of dry wood for the fire. The irony is that now that the rack is built and the wood neatly stacked, I don’t want to burn the wood anymore. It just looks too nice where it is.