How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
What does it even mean to chuck wood? I’ve never understood that silly tongue twister. If it means hauling and stacking firewood at my parents’ house, the Woodchuck family chucked 5 cords on the May long weekend, and had fun doing it!
This is only a fraction of the wood that awaited our arrival (there were a few more piles here and there in the yard; don’t think we got off this lightly!).
Sadly, it turns out woodchucking is a term for woodworking. There was some of that going on in Grandpa’s workshop, as well, but that’s not where I’m going here. I’ll abuse poetic license and roll on with the woodchuck thing.
My parents live on a parcel of land near a few ‘lake communities’ (you know, those small, lakeside communities that are over run with cottagers, weekend visitors, and campers all looking for an escape from the city in the summer months) about 40 km north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. When asked, I usually just say that they live in the bush. These crazy kids built a straw bale house and they rely an awful lot on burning wood for heating and cooking.
As you can imagine, cooking with a wood stove offers it’s challenges, especially when you want to eat, but you don’t want to heat up the house. Nonetheless, mom’s pies and fresh baked bread are big draws for family and friends alike, and nobody refuses one of dad’s big breakfasts of pancakes and bacon!
Before you can feed people, of course, you have to feed the stove. That’s where the Woodchuck Work Party came in. Now, mom tells us the delivery of five cords of firewood right before our arrival was a complete coincidence. The jury is still out on that one, but I will point out that this amazing fluke didn’t stop her from sending emails to let us know there was work to be done, if we were interested. Smooth operator, Mom.
Disclaimer: on a normal day, when we aren’t sporting our work clothes, covered in sap and sawdust, wind-blown and a bit hot and grimy, we are an exceptionally glamourous lot.
Stacking wood, intended to stay stacked for a couple of years while it dries, is more of an art form than you might think. You’ve got to get the rows straight and spaced just right. Here, Kenny is guiding Gary, a newcomer to the process.
Clearly, Gary was a star student, as he was soon starting rows unsupervised!
Advancing so quickly is quite unheard of. Many of us have been hauling wood for decades and still seem to require a great deal of guidance.
Of course, there’s also a lot of grunt labour involved, and some of us are happy to work where we’re able to go free-style. Karen, my sister Debi, and I spent much of our time on wheel barrow duty.
Eventually, neighbour Roger brought his toy to the party and things really started to move!
Debi and I have decided that Roger has earned honourary brother status (poor guy).
After all of this hauling and careful stacking, what does a family do? That’s right! You get a rip roaring big fire going!
And now, the results of all of our work. If these next two pictures don’t bring a tear to your eye, you need to join the next Woodchuck Party, my friend. You just don’t appreciate the fine workmanship that went on.
If you’d have told me 35 years ago that one day I would voluntarily spend the first long weekend of Canada’s summer ‘chucking wood,’ I’d have laughed you off this blog (you know, if we’d had blogs back then). As it turns out, this family work party was so much fun, we’ve suggested an annual event (fair warning, siblings!).
You may have already noticed that my posting has become quite sporadic since my return to Canada. Bloggers do go on about how important it is to post on a regular schedule, so readers know what to expect. Well, I’ve got gardening and quilting and other fun stuff to do, so I think my summer schedule will continue to be not so much of a schedule. See ya when I see ya!