Burning Firewood

I put another stick of firewood on the fire.

It’s a large awkward chunk with holes riddling it, part of an old carpenter ants’ nest. It came from the big cherry tree on the old fence line. It must be one of the oldest trees on the property with three big trunks and when one of them broke and fell it landed on the neighbors side. Cherry is about as good of wood as we have for burning at our place, so I quickly sent John over to negotiate. Our tree, his land, we will clean it up quick, thank you very much!firewood carved by ants

My brother happened to visit just about then so I put a chainsaw in his hand and he cut the limb into rounds while I heaved them over the old wire fence. Straight into all the kinds of prickles that grow in Wisconsin. It took another day with John running the chainsaw to finish clearing everything. And then, over the course of several months I smashed my wheelbarrow through the brush to a little clearing I had made. There I split the big rounds into firewood sized chunks. There I also learned it’s important not to catch brush on the top of your arc while splitting wood. Then I loaded them all up and brought them to the wood pile. That was the time that I learned that even if those ants are frozen solid, they thaw – alive…

My firewood piles near the house are dwindling. I need to move more from the big stacks a bit further away but I need a better system. The tractor would be ideal. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon. Maybe a sled would work. I think there might be a half dozen hard to split pieces back by the fence. I must have given up on them when I hurt my shoulder last year. I should check. And I should learn to use a chainsaw so I don’t have to rely on the boys. Of course that gives me an excuse to spend a day working outside with John or my brother or my dad. Maybe I’ll stick with the splitting maul. Our chainsaw has issues anyway, I wonder what else we can try to fix it…

I put another stick of firewood on the fire and I wonder what people think about when they turn up the thermostat.



Mundane Monday: Firewood

The past few weeks I’ve noticed that greydaysandcoffee has been participating in Mundane Monday. And I thought to myself, “Self, you should do that too!”

And then I forgot.


But today- today I remembered! Camera in hand I went to turn something “mundane” into a beautiful photograph.

Turns out, I’m bad at mundane.

I keep wanting to give things a second chance.  I don’t want them to be, mundane

“Hmm how about this chair?” I asked myself. “This chair isn’t mundane! I got it out of my family’s garage and painted it brown and then I painted it red and I have to keep gluing it back together when it falls apart! This chair has history!”

The door knob? Anything but mundane. Look at it! It’s full of swirls and lines and hey! That could be an “ornate” photo challenge! But not mundane.

The wood stove? Couldn’t possibly. Not only did we move it from the old house, how many people have a wood stove? Besides it’s full of fire! Fire is not mundane.

The silverware? The table? The floor? My boot? Too many stories, too much history, possibly too much caffeine.

Yes, today I discovered that “mundane” is not my word.

I did make firewood all day though and firewood is pretty mundane. I mean, if you don’t think about what kind of tree it is and why it was cut it down. Also you need to try to forget how you hauled it to the wood pile and ignore the the different noises the splitting maul makes as you split it, and then of course when you stack it there is a bit of an art to get those stacks to stay up and hold tight and the shape of the pieces matters…


I love my firewood.

In the end, I took a picture of a piece of firewood. It’s just firewood. It’ll be burned in our wood-stove to heat the house. The tree it came from had a nest of ants in the middle of it and they smoothed the wood to a velvety appearance as they made their tunnels and did their ant things. Which possibly makes it one of the most un-mundane pieces of firewood I could find to photograph.firewood carved by ants

But like I said, I’m bad at mundane.