“Careful with that axe Eugene.”

Winter’s hesitance has fallen away yet it has arrived bearing a relatively gentle demeanor. Following the peculiar rains of last weekend the skies cleared, and the temperatures began to drop. Ice began to form in the creeks and lakes and rivers. And in the frickin’ puddles that had gathered in the tarps that I had not yet quite got sorted out. Bone head. So there I am today with a small piece of firewood, wielded like a Shillelagh, bludgeoning the frozen bulges in the tarps trying to spread them out flat so that I could actually use them as intended. That is –of course- to cover up the piles of wood. All but one usable log has been blocked off the ground to spend the winter air drying. There are really very few of those left. There are many logs destined for firewood…which is of course a notable use in its own right, but there is so much firewood around here these days that in log form it is a fairly low priority. I can break out the chainsaw casually over the course of the winter and cut them to length at will. Then bust out the axe and split, which is an activity much better reserved for winter anyway.

As for the timbers, as mentioned they are stacked and stickered, with hopefully sufficient airflow to facilitate a gentle drying over the winter in hopes that they do not twist or check over much. As an additional precaution, today I secured them with 2”x8” braces screwed together in a binding frame around the whole pile. Then covered the whole package with a tarp. Frickin’ tarps. Much like Visqueen…aka plastic sheeting, I think that many Alaskans have a love hate relationship with blue tarps. They are of course super handy; relatively light, reasonably sturdy, but regardless can just be a pain in the ass to work with. Almost impossible to hang, secure, or fold well by yourself. Impossible to dry completely. But still, very handy. Anyways, I digress.

To be honest I have been a bit distracted this weekend. Probably should have tried to get some work done on the shed frame but instead went to Curling class on Saturday. Now, I have no idea where the idea for this silly game came from…although I am inclined to say it is likely Nordic in origin. I will learn more about it and fill you in later. Anyways, it is kind of like a mix between bowling and shuffleboard…or something. Played on a sheet of ice with brooms and 42 pound pieces of granite. I will not admit that I fell down more than once. I did, however get the hang of it towards the end and look forward to more. Then I came home and moved logs around. Silly me. I could barely move this morning. So I hung around and looked through more old photos –and some new ones- until the dogface nearly grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and dragged me outside for a walk. You see it snowed a bit last night and the first snow, I am convinced, has always been her favorite. So we went for a long, late morning walk which she led, while I ambled along in her wake…distracted. Well, maybe somewhere between distracted and flighty. Sometimes it is good to just let one’s mind wander. To walk along aimlessly behind a happy dog, frolicking through the snowy woods, and consider the possibilities…

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