Big Chill

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This is probably proof to all the Mid-Westers and East Coasters out there that those of us living in the Maritime Northwest are soft, but here goes: I’m freezing! The backyard hasn’t thawed in a week now, and each day, the frost just keeps getting thicker. From a distance, it looks like snow, only without all the fun. The upside is clear blue skies and these amazing frost crystals.

Downside? It’s been averaging about 38 degrees in my unheated office, and even with a space heater blowing directly on me, my fingers keep getting too stiff to type.

That and the alarming rate at which we’re burning through an already light wood supply. This time of year, this side of the shed should have four full rows, and we’re already down to three. Yikes! But the stove feels so good…

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Every Bit Helps

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We’ve had very little weather this winter. The good: No sleepless nights cringing in fear of trees falling on the house, no power outages, etc. The bad: No windfall trees for next year’s firewood. Of course, we’ve been extra busy this year with the farm and book and kid activities, but still, I should have a huge pile of rounds stacking up in the yard by now. And I have to admit to a certain level of anxiety whenever I think about our wood supply.

So, when our good friend (and bookseller extraordinaire), Victoria, called to say there was a madrona down on the road, I was stoked. “It’s not much,” she said, “but it’ll burn.” That’s all I needed to hear. Madrona is the premier firewood around here, heavy, dense and packing tons of BTUs. A little madrona is better than a lot of most other wood, and it’s much, much better than the big zero we currently have. I threw the saw in the car, ran down there and started cutting.

She was right, of course. Not much. But just enough to get the pile started with hopefully more to come. I did see some pretty nice standing dead madronas over there while I was cutting…