Friday, 17 August 2012

Hot and Heavy

We order a load of firewood each spring, but this year our usual guy couldn´t or wouldn´t do the job -- we never could figure out what his problema was. So we phoned a number posted on the window of the fish shop in Sahagun. "Sure," the guy said, "I´ll be over on Tuesday with a remolque-load."

Miraculously, he arrived just when he said he would. And that remolque-load was beyond miraculous. It was Epic. 

A remolque-load of firewood as we´ve known it lasts us almost exactly one winter. A remolque is a farm trailer, it tows behind a tractor.  Manure, sand, straw bales, and firewood come by the remolque-load. I am not good at estimating volume or weight, but I can tell you a remolque-load of anything takes two people two long days of labor to move and stack (or spread).

But when this remolque rolled up to the back gate, it was towed by a tractor with an 18-wheeler engine. Its sides were twice as high and its bed was another meter longer than the usual remolque size, and it was stacked to the rafters with beautiful logs and sticks of aged, mossy oak.

The man tipped up the pneumatic truck-bed and the remolque-wheels sank into the soft dirt. The timber bonanza roared down the elevated truck-bed and chuckled over itself onto the sand. Logs rolled out onto the N-120, into the back yard, and up against the outer walls, forming eddies and sculptures.  I gazed at them out the double-wide gateway. They blocked out the sun.
twice as deep as it was wide
It cost a small fortune. It had to be moved from outside the walls to inside the orchard before the highway department fined us or a timber-thief decided to help himself. It had to be sorted and stacked five meters away, under the corrugated-steel roof of the wood-store. It  cost us five days of back-breaking labor, during the hottest spell of the summer.

No pilgrims showed up, offering to help out. No friends materialized. So Patrick and I did it ourselves.

We worked together in the early and late hours, when the sun was low. We used two wheelbarrows, and stacked the logs according to size in two sides of the wood-store. A system evolved, a sort of Zen state took over. We wove the logs into continuous sculptures, and slowly filled the little shelter from the floor up to the ceiling with fragrant fuel. It is not elegant, but it fills the space efficiently.

We sweated and swore, we swilled water and beer and lemonade, we ate little and slept deeply. I wore the fingertips out of my deerskin work gloves. We bruised ourselves, we ached. We got it done.

Paddy says he has never worked so hard in his life.

Now at night, when I sit out in the orchard and look up into the Milky Way, the firewood snaps and sighs nearby as it dries in the dark. It is practicing, I think, for winter, for the moment it´s chucked into our little woodstove and crackles into heat and light.

It occurs to me that we bought the wood to warm us. So this summer, without burning even a stick of wood, it´s already given us  our money´s worth.    


Libby said...

I think you each deserve a big, frosty beer.

ksam said...

Raising a glass to you!