Burning wood keeps you in shape

"I have to remember to stack so I have easy access to the driest wood first."

With the arrival of snow, gardeners may dress in leotards and drive to a gym to work out.

I, however, don hard hat, goalie pads, and steel-toed boots and descend into the basement to stack winter firewood.

Stacking firewood gives me plenty of stretching as I heave the blocks higher than my head, and bending as I  grapple one block at a time from the floor.

Most blocks are too wide and heavy for me to safely grip and lift with one hand.

Stressing my bones helps to ward off osteoporosis and thus the risk of fractures, provided I don’t crush a toe or finger as I work.

With the exception of the occasional length of limb, two or so inches in diameter, every block is tri-sided tripling the sharp planes that must be avoided.

Experience has taught me never to place one hand over the lead end of a block. I did that once and needed several stitches to repair the damage.

Stacking wood in the basement keeps it dry, handy to the woodstove, and out of sight of neighbours who might criticize my stacking.

I openly admire one neighbour’s woodshed with every block lined up as precisely as kernels on a prizewinning cob of corn.

Since the 7.7 magnitude earthquake October 27 I now check the stability of my stacks not only from end to end of each row, but also from side to side, particularly the stabilizing ends if no concrete wall is available to be a bookend.

Over the years I’ve been startled awake or had my reading interrupted by the heart-stopping thud of blocks bouncing down and sprawling out on to the concrete floor.

For that reason I always aim to leave plenty of “delta” space between my stacks and the woodstove, gas furnace and hot water tank, just in case.

Besides the block-by-block considerations of length, shape, and uniform depth, I have to remember to stack so I have easy access to the driest wood first.

That’s one thing I forgot as I began stacking the second cord this summer.

Now my only access to the driest first rows is from one end, putting me at risk of a thump on the head, hand, or foot should I dislodge pieces higher up while I gather a piece or two from the floor.

I’ve learned to hold one block upright in front of my ankles while I pitch a heavy block toward the top of the pile to purposely trigger a slide.

Until I adopted this pup I could cover the pile with a plastic tarp when it was delivered and keep it dry from rain or snow until I could throw the wood into the basement a little each day.

But this pup chews anything. She would tear the tarp into strips before the first dawn.

Also, she hauls wood blocks to use as chew toys. The longer she has access to the off-loaded pile, the more wood I have to retrieve from the far corners of the yard.

After one delivery, I wheeled 31 pieces back to the basement opening. As though I needed the extra exertion.

Before the delivery truck leaves my yard she can have five pieces arrayed at her favourite play area. There she strips the bark and gnaws off bumps.

Any skinny sliver, bark curl, or branch nub is all her pincer grip needs to haul a heavy block, head high, rear end waggling to balance the weight, like a bitch removing a misbehaving eight-week-old pup from danger.

Gardeners enjoy a sense of satisfaction viewing their pantries with row upon row of canned fruits and freezers filled with their summer produce. I don’t garden.

But I share similar satisfaction from a basement stacked with enough firewood to keep me comfortable through weeks of stormy, cold weather.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: No injuries following fire at Terrace seniors’ complex

Old Skeena Bridge is reopened following a fire at Twin River Estates

Ice Demons returning to CIHL for 2018-2019 season

Central Interior Hockey League will return with five teams after shrinking last season

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

30-year old woman charged in Scott Avenue homicide

Mila-Ann Watts faces charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder

Gitxsan chiefs ‘close’ territory to recreational fishery

DFO will not enforce the conservation measure that rejects data from Tyee Test Fishery

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. woman set for trial in Alberta as animal cruelty investigation continues in home province

Karin Adams was discovered with eight dogs in Alberta weeks after having 16 dogs seized in Quesnel

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Most Read