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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Death by a Million bites or More Winter Prep Work

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 ~


  1. I didn't know this could happen to sugar maples. My favorite trees are the 3 large sugar maples that are an umbrella when I step outside my kitchen door. It would be terrible to lose them.

    What a lot of work you did!


  2. I am hoping I have enough hay to get the horses through the winter, with the addition of my daughters horse I have to reconfigure what we use. Although we do tend to a farm here, it's not quite the work load you have there... it will keep you young, Sandra :-) I keep telling myself that anyway.

    Love the roasted tomato recipe! Yum!

  3. You are a fine worker, SB! I'm glad you have all that wood ready. The tomato/bread dinner sounds VERY tasty.
    It's so weird in Colorado. We have so many sunny days that even winter feels very temporary most of the time, but I think I'll put candles in the fireplace because Bill doesn't want any more wood in the garage.

  4. Hard work indeed but it feels good though to me . . . you too?
    I hope you didn't lift that "round soon to be a table piece" by yourself!
    Treat that back of yours gently . . . love . . .

  5. I'm never ready for winter, but our yard and gardens are. I'm not a fan of the darkness...the cold I can handle with layers. I put socks on before bed last week, a habit that will continue until at least April. I wish my ancestors had settled in the south, not the Midwest. I love that the wood has warmed you twice. We are loving living in the country, the wide views are beautiful. I love watching the corn harvest.
    Stay warm, get some rest...and thank you for sharing your days. I find you very inspiring.

  6. A nice wood pile from your sugar maple at least. Ah, that wonderful bath with the jets!

  7. Love sugar maples and did not know this could happen. Glad you could get some nice fire wood out of this loss.

  8. Hi Sandra, the roasted tomatoes look so good. So sad you had to lose that old tree but it had a good life just the same. Great you can use a piece of the larger stump for a table giving it a new life to carry on.
    Your friend looks like a hard and great worker. How kind of him to help you out with this big job. Great to be ready for the winter months.
    Glad you could take a relaxing soak in the jet tub!

  9. I miss the wood chopping and carrying for our old woodstove. And the wonderful warmth! That bath sounds fabulous! I've got a chest cold and hives, simultaneously!! Looking for comfort. ;) Sounds like you're doing a good job of getting ready for winter.

  10. Such a shame about your tree, but it is good that you can put the wood to a good use. Hope that it keeps you nice and cosy! xx

  11. Sandra, you have a great start to winter wood for the year. Sorry about the tree, though. We used to heat with wood and I'm well aware of how many times that wood business heats you. It is the warmest heat for sure. Have a nice evening. xo ♥

  12. I roasted my excess cherry tomatoes last year and then froze them for use later. I havent used all of them yet, but they do add a nice touch of summer flavour. I am so glad that you have good friends to help keep you warm. Maybe that tree falling down was just what you needed to sotck up your wood supply.

  13. It's too bad about the tree...but nice to have the firewood...I love a nice warm wood fire when it's cold...

    ~Have a lovely day!

  14. thankful you have the wood, but sorry you lost the tree!


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