Thursday, September 23

A Mighty Wind

 Fern Glen Inn •

A mighty wind blew through here recently, along with heavy rains and a thundering lightening storm. It uprooted trees, snapped trunks and left a mess of branches, limbs and pine needles to clean up. 

It also left us without power for a day and a half, but that's not as big a deal as you might think. We have a gas-powered generator we can hook up to our electrical panel and run all the essentials such as water, heat, lights, fridges, computers, coffee maker (essential!). We just can't run them all at the same time. And of course, we conserve our energy use. When we're the only ones here, and when there's no pressing need for electricity, we shut off the generator and spend the afternoon in the sunshine, or the evening in candlelight. 

After this particular storm, there was plenty to keep us busy out in the woods. A walk along our trails revealed many trees down, blocking the path in at least a dozen places. Some were small or dry-rotted and therefore light enough to simply lift and move out of the way. But there were also a number of big, mature trees down as well. Maple, cedar, beech, poplar. These would take a bit more work—and Jim's chainsaw—to clear out of the way.

So we spent two afternoons making the trails passable. Jim used the chainsaw on the big trees to cut them to manageable lengths. The thin leafy branches we just dragged into the bush. The trunks we set beside the trail to collect later.

The hardwood species will be put to use as firewood, but not this year. Most of the maples that came down were large, seemingly healthy, living trees. Their wood is too green for burning now and will need a year or two to dry out.

Maintaining the trails and getting enough firewood to see us through the winter is demanding physical work. But we love it! Especially at this time of year when there are no bugs and the air is cool and fresh. Plus there's enormous satisfaction to this type of work. The results are so tangible. The cleared trail that had been blocked by a massive game of pickup sticks. The fat logs of hardwood piled in the back of a trailer to be carted out of the bush. The piles of split wood ready to be stacked in neat cords by the woodshed. Real work. Simple pleasure. Bring on more wind!

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