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It’s that time of year again, and we were caught completely off-guard. Sort of. The plan from last Spring was that we would not be living here most of the time over the next winter, so I didn’t make any effort to gather fire wood. Plans change, and suddenly the cold winter is bearing down on us.

Luckily, a neighbor who tore his house down last year was swindled by the house disposal company he had hired to dispose of his house. They just left it there – a common scam against older people who they figure don’t have the fight (or the years) left in them to take it to court. This neighbor does, but while he is battling in court, he gave us the OK to take whatever we need.

This is sugi ceder tree, and very old and dry, so far from the best wood for our stove as it burns fast and dirty. But at least it burns – and it burns easy.

I took the chainsaw over today to check out how much there is and get a few logs for tonight to see how it burns. There is way more than I expected and more than we can fit in our wood racks, so plenty for a winter or more. Tomorrow I begin the big task of cutting as much as I can and carrying it home to split and find someplace to store it. Wood this dry is murder on a chainsaw even if it is not riddled with hidden nails, so I am not looking forward to what will likely be more hours of sharpening than actual cutting.

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Mona, however, *is* looking forward to splitting it. She was practicing today on a smaller piece, and hopefully can graduate to something more substantial by the time she is ten.

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We also took advantage of the beautiful fall day to head out to the nearby forest shrine and gather some fallen ceder branches and leaves. As I mentioned above, dried ceder logs is not ideal for a fire stove (unless you want to heat a room really quickly) but the leaves are wonderful for getting the fire started.

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While we were there she took a moment to think about Punky and Pyo – the two slikie chicks she had been raising that were eaten by a cat this week. Just as we were down the to the bottom of the hill from the shrine, she suddenly stops and says “Oh! Daddy! I forgot. Can I go back?” So we climbed back up and she paid her regards as in the photo below.

“What were you doing?” I asked.

“Thinking about Punky and Pyo.”

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