One of my favorite things to make (and eat) are roasted cherry tomatoes with EVOO, sea salt, cracked pepper and rosemary. It's about a quart of tomatoes, a double drizzle of EVOO and enough salt and pepper to perk it up a bit. After roasting for a few hours at 300 degrees F, I take them out and, depending upon mood, mix with capers, olives (black or Kalamata or your pick) then top sliced toasted baguettes pieces. It's especially nice with a shaving or three of Parmesan cheese on top but not quite enough to eat after a day of wood cutting.
The huge, old sugar maple in the front yard has been devoured by black ants. Donald tells me the ants get into trees and begin eating from the middle out and, eventually, the tree loses enough of itself and collapses. I'm sad to say this is what happened to the top of my 150 year old tree. The rest of the tree is still hanging in there; may it continue.
Donald came over to cut up the tree; first using his chain saw
and then using the maul to split the large pieces.
In a word, he's amazing. He's using Dave's maul, bought the first year we lived here and should I try to use it, the blasted thing would probably bounce back and hit me in the head. It takes enormous strength to do all this work; my work was in loading up the wood and taking it round the house.
I filled the Ranger three times, enough for three weeks for the wood stove. Most of the wood is dry but to start, I'll use a ratio of 1 of these to 3 of the black locust; it'll both stretch the locust and cause a slower burn. I think, perhaps, there's enough to last me December, January, February and, should winter last through March, I'll limp through. The wood stove is supplemental heat and I use it because it's warm heat...warming me several times...loading and dragging wood to the porch, stacking it on the porch, carrying it into the house, stacking it in the house and, finally, burning it.
The large "log" on the left back side is the piece I'm using as a "side table" on the back porch plus it's a nice reminder of the old tree.
The third load in the Ranger, the first two loads dumped on the ground. Tomorrow, I'll stack wood on one of the wood racks and hope for the best this winter. That's right, one of two wood racks...on the back porch. I do not want a repeat of this year's February...when I ran out of wood. I'm doing my best to be safe, warm and ready.
After a trip to the grocery store I came home and got in the Whirlpool, jets blasting, hot water steaming and Epsom salts thrown liberally into the mix.
It felt wonderful!
Now, my bones are pleasantly tired and it's time for my evening to end; tomorrow comes early and I'm excited to be closer to winter prep work being finished. How about you; are you ready for winter?
Blessings ~ Donald ~ free wood for the physical labor ~ Whirlpool bath ~ Epsom salts ~ Ranger ~ roasted cherry tomatoes ~