The Woodsplitter

February 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm (Family, Mead Drinking, Mead Making, Roger, wood, Wood Splitter, Wood Splitting) (, , , , , , , )


By Eydie Wight

So much better then that olde wooden handled axe!

Well, it’s nice to have Brother John back from the throes of learning new Internet languages (do they have a Rosetta stone for that?) and able to post for us again. Let’s see what happened over the last month or so in the continuing adventures of Eydie and Sammy.

Nothing Left But Sticks and Twigs!

We realized about the end of January that the woodshed was nearly empty. What had seemed like a treasure trove of cut and stacked wood back in the fall had now become a puny pile of sticks and twigs and a couple of weeks worth of mouse nested middling sized pieces. I was puzzled, I’m usually pretty good at estimating how much wood will get us through a winter. And that’s with me stoking the stove enough to keep the house comfy and toasty warm even on the coldest of days. I blithely wander throughout the house in shorts even when the wind chill outside is -30 degrees (as it was a couple of weeks ago.) (Brother John here… but… but… I thought you ONLY wore pajamas when home. Perhaps it was just an urban myth?)

Hey Baby! It's COLD out there!!!

Sammy and I discussed the necessity of going over to our neighbors, who generously offered us all the fallen and standing deadwood we want in return for clearing it away. The only problem was that we had had several days of light snow alternating with ice, and we knew that cutting frozen wood with a chainsaw while standing on snow covered, ice coated, treacherous, stone and hole booby trapped ground was not really something we wanted to do.

And then I had the epiphany. Not the one where I realize that the cell phone I’ve been frantically looking for all over the house is the same one I’ve been talking on to my mother for the last hour, but the one where I realized that we have, neatly stacked against the woodshed wall, at least a month’s worth of beautiful huge chunks of cut wood. The only problem is that it was still in big pieces that needed to be split before they could go into the wood stove. That was where the rest of my wood calculations had gone!

Feel the POWER!!!

So, Sammy went into town to the local hardware/rental/landscaping/lumber store (behind the police station) and rented a wood splitter. We had to set the splitter up on the graveled flat part of the driveway, due to the ice and snow we couldn’t pull it up the hill to the woodshed. Neither could we get the farm truck up the hill, even in 4 wheel drive. Which meant someone had to bring that mountain of heavy, unsplit wood to Sammy Mohammad. Since we’re currently empty nesting with Rog trying life in his own apartment, that someone was me. So, I got ready to brave the cold, the ice and snow, and the wood pile. Picture Nancy Sinatra in white go-go boots, then change the boots to white rubber coated snow boots, and you get the picture. (Well, sort of. Put Nancy in red plaid flannel pajamas and an old gray chainsaw-oil stained sweat jacket with a bright orange knitted hat and work gloves layered over gardening gloves, and make her plump, 50ish, and wearing glasses. THEN you get the picture.)

Mead, Comic Relief...

I began schlepping the chunks down the hill to where Sammy was set up. At first I would carry each piece down to the splitter. I did that four or five times until my feet flew our from under me on the icy hill and me and my wood chunk slid down on our backsides. Then I had a scathingly brilliant idea. I loaded seven or eight chunks on the plastic tarp that had been covering the pile. I thought that if I dragged it over to the hill and got it started, that I could sort of sled it down the hill. And I still think it could have worked. (Brother John here… Uh Oh! I don’t think I like the sound of that… 🙂 ) IF I hadn’t accidentally stepped on the tarp, which was even more slippery than the icy ground, and fallen part way on the wood and part way on the ground, causing enough forward momentum to push me ahead of the loaded tarp as it went down the hill. We ended at the bottom with me backwards and my pajama bottoms full of snow. And I got a boo-boo on my elbow. Sammy was, wisely, silent. I don’t think though, that the tears in his eyes were either sorrow at my plight or from the cold. He just had a little sip of mead from the bottle we had stuck in the snow in the back of the farm truck, and kept on splitting.

I went in the house, changed into sweatpants, abandoned the tarp idea and instead would carry each chunk to the top of the hill, toss it down to roll as far as it would, and repeat that until I had a good sized pile at the bottom of the hill. Then I’d carry that pile, piece by piece, over to the splitter. Sammy, by this time, had a huge pile of split wood ready to be stacked under the deck. We have both split our share of wood using an axe (or my favorite, the maul and a wedge) but in four hours time the wood splitter had gone through enough wood to stack an eight foot wide by eight foot tall stack under the deck. I know because I stacked it. Sammy and I high-fived each other, tarped our afternoon’s labor, and went inside to stoke up the wood stove. As Sammy and I sat together on the downstairs couch, basking in a job well done, I heard the unmistakable sound of my woodpile falling over and crashing to the concrete. I took one look out under the deck and stormed upstairs, breaking my New Year’s resolution not to say: @*$^&#*@*$^&*@!!! By the time I got up the next morning Sammy had re-stacked my woodpile, made breakfast, and brought me coffee. Why I love the man.

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Ghost Story

September 16, 2008 at 6:39 am (Ghost, Hobbies, Stories, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


By Eydie Wight

Today was a gem of a day. We went to bed expecting rain and wind, and got up to blue skies decorated with clouds in amusing shapes (Sammy has seen a kneeling cherub, Abraham Lincoln, and the bearded face of God, I’ve seen a humpbacked whale with its baby, a plucked chicken, and a fat deep sea diver.) Kind of gives you a perspective on our personalities. It’s been a day of reflection and deep laziness as tomorrow is my birthday! The last year of my forties decade, don’t you know. That’s okay, I’m ready for 50 next year. I like who I am, where I am, what I do, and for the most part, what the future seems to hold. Not bad for half my life. I joke that I know I’m going to live to be 103. I based a poem, “When Lydia Was Ten” on this proposed long, long life. We’ll see…

(Brother John here… Speaking of poems… The Beekeeper’s Promise is now in Eydie and Sammy’s poetry section!).

At the moment Sammy is mowing and I am checking out his fine self on the mower. Sky blue bandanna wrapped around his head and all. Our property starts at an elevation of about 200 feet above sea level and rears up to 800 feet at the top. The roughly two acres that we mow include some fairly steep inclines. Mowing on the riding mower requires a knowledge of physics and a lot of guts. I watch Sammy throw his weight from one side of the mower to the other to counter balance the tilt. At a few points he has to literally stand on one side of the mower so it doesn’t tip over. I don’t mow with the riding mower. I am sore afraid. During the years that I was a widow lady living here alone I push mowed the whole damn yard. Not often, understand, and not well. I had waist high yard in places that could have been cut for animal fodder. (Good for bees though…)

Yesterday was another good day of this vacation. We got a load of wood cut and stacked in the woodshed even though the day was again hot and sticky. I worked on my poetry book (my friend Tony had been over to give me computer advice to get things into publishable form) and started looking through the hundreds of photo CD’s that Sammy has taken. The book will also feature his photo art.

I’ve been thinking my September thoughts of arts and crafts. There are quite a few things that I enjoy doing but put aside for the busy summer months. I often make grapevine wreaths using seed pods, ornamental grasses, pine cones, and wild grapevine I collect. I knit quite well, our Granny saw to that, and I make scarves, purses, baby afghans, hats, and the like. I got interested in making jewelry since I rarely leave the house without earrings. At this point I can’t call it a “talent”, I have to settle for “craft” because all I do is buy beads I like, or buy jewelry at flea markets and garage sales and take it apart to make into something else, and just assemble the lot. But it’s fun and I get as many new earrings as I want! This year I made some Christmas ornaments from bead and sequin kits I bought. I have the beads to make my own designs, but I found that finding the satin balls is difficult out of season. And, I indulged myself in a rather “tacky” latch-hook rug for Christmas. Such a soothing craft.

(Brother John here… Eydie and Sammy have added an Arts and Crafts section to their site. It’s very rough right now but will evolve as I have time to format and shape it).

One last thought before I turn my mind toward supper and going through pictures and yet another poem that occupies my brain cells. Brother John will appreciate this. I know it isn’t the Halloween and ghost season yet, and I have several other ghost stories to tell as THAT season approaches, but I’m sure Brother John remembers Betsy. When we were kids we lived with mom and dad in an old brick house in Fawn Grove, PA. Brother John always said the house was haunted, and perhaps he’ll want to add his own stories which are probably far better than mine, but… One night, when I was about six or seven, I had gone to bed. I slept in part of a duo of rooms that would have once been the children’s room and the nanny’s room. Just an archway in between, no door. My room had a doorway to the attic hall, and a doorway to the old nanny’s room. There was a grate in the floor to allow what little heat there was to come up to my room in the winter, and also to allow me to hear the voices of the grownups downstairs after I had gone to bed. It was a warm night. Back in those days I had long, thick, heavy, curly hair that hung down way past my shoulders. Don’t think because I had nice hair that I was a beauty or anything. I was fat and geekish and about as unattractive a child as you can imagine. Well, my hair was heavy, and in the summer it would get hot so I would fling it over the side of the bed and sleep that way. I had heard my brother tell stories of Betsy (and he should tell the stories HERE), but I had never seen or heard anything I could attribute to her. (Like I said, other stories for other times) But on this night, I could hear mom and dad and some of the uncles playing cards downstairs and hear Brother John’s music from down the hall and his room. (Not pertinent to this story, but Black Oak Arkansas as I remember.) I think I was awake. I suddenly felt a small tug on my hair. I was immediately frozen motionless, my head still, my hair still over the side of the bed, and I began to feel hands finger combing my hair, including a few sharp tugs. (I never combed my hair after that first hurried brushing in the morning.) Then, hands, and they felt like small hands, began braiding my hair. I heard someone humming a tune, one I didn’t know but was able to pick out on my fiddle the next day. I can’t describe it better than to say that the hands felt real, but the humming felt like it was coming from someplace else. The attic, my brother’s room, my parents room, the summer kitchen down below. I don’t know. I kept my neck in that panic stricken position until I really did fall asleep. In the morning, of course, my hair was still in the wild disarray it had been when I went to bed. I discounted the whole thing as a dream. Until, of course, a day or so later, when my brother John said, matter of factly, “Betsy says she likes your hair.”

(Brother John here… Our next door neighbor, back in those days, told me of a woman who had lived in our house long ago. It was a sad tale because the woman had been found hanged in what would later be our upstairs attic). After some reflection, my elderly next door neighbor recalled the poor womans name. When she said: “It was Betsy as I recall”, I literally felt chills going up and down my spine).

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