Location: "Old Maintenance", Grant Grove, Sequoia National Park
I furtively lifted the maul. The hazard tree crew were lurking about somewhere, and I didn't want them to laugh at my attempt to split some rounds. I had been fortunate enough to score a cabin for my seasonal job, and it was only heated with wood. Since we lived at about 7,000 feet, it was either learn to split wood or freeze.
Since then, I have split a lot of wood. In this county, I have yet to find a woman who splits her own, though I am sure they exist. It would be easy to defer this task to a partner, but I feel like if I give up all the chores I don't want to do, because they're hard, I lose something in the process. And there's something satisfying about lugging an enormous round (or rolling it, because it's so big) to the chopping block and seeing it split in several pieces.
|Wood, split by moi|
I feel like every woman without health limitations should be able to a) split her own wood, b) deal with frozen pipes, and c) not freak out skiing alone below zero. At least, those are a few things that I won't give up doing myself. Last week I had all three of these situations. The bitter cold that allowed us to play on the lake also created some impressive scenery (the pipes thawed after I crawled under the house with a heater)
|Hurricane creek, with puppy in the distance|
|Looking down at the frozen lake from the East Fork trail|
|The first fat bike on Wallowa Lake. Those are my ski tracks|
Our winters here are long and I have to laugh when I hear people wishing for spring. That's at least two months away, folks, and most likely three this year. My cabin is small, and I usually go through about four cords a winter. I do sometimes get help. But most often, every piece I burn is split by me. I could probably get a different form of heat, but this way it ties me to the source. I can't just flick a switch. I have to wake up cold, trundle outside to get more wood, crumple up paper, and light a match. I like that.