Tuesday, March 11, 2008
there's a little Buddhist in all of us
We have been making small changes to our lifestyle to try to be more conscious of our environmental impact. Honestly, the changes we've made are insignificant on the face of all that's happening, but it's as much about changing the thought process as anything. We got an external wood furnace longer ago than I like to think about, and finally got it hooked up this year. As other River Valley Bloggers (RVBs from hence forward) have posted, our oil consumption for the month of January was 19 gallons. As in less than we pay for cable. It's been exciting to put it mildly.
As a result, of course, we've had to gather ourselves some wood. This being the first year, we really didn't know how much we'd need. We probably had 3 cord left from last winter, cut and split, but it's better to use longer, tree sized logs. (They burn less quickly so you have to fill it less often-- which is a bonus, since you have to go outside to fill it.) We had been given a bunch (I have no idea how much it equated to in cord terms-- none whatsoever) of scrap wood and left over pieces from some friends building a new house, and then my dad brought up a huge truckload of ends from his mill work business. In addition Weather Boy had cut down 3 or 4 trees. So we had a lot of wood out there, but no idea how long it would last. We figured we'd have time to figure it out before it snowed.
And then it snowed for the entire month of December, and most of January and February, too. All that wood was buried, many times over. Eventually I took it upon myself to dig out the wood. Not because I had to, or wanted to make anyone feel guilty, but because I could, and it needed to be done. It became part of my daily routine: go through my regular day, and then either after lunch or after school, head outside with my iPod and work for about an hour. I'd exercise, get some fresh air, and accomplish a task all at once. When I reached the End of the Pile a few weeks ago, I actually felt a void in my day. What would I do now?
We have burned through all we had to start the winter, but winter is showing no signs of ending. And so Weather Boy has cut a few more trees, creating more wood for me to move. This project involves cutting it at the edge of the field and hauling it in on the kids' sleds. Some days we fall through the 3 feet of snow, and have to pull ourselves out before we can move forward. It's become a zen-like project: bundle up, bring the tools, figure out the setbacks, and get it done. My own little meditation session. Zen and the Art of Wood. I like that.