Sunday, 19 October 2008

Reflections from the Woodpile

Although we tend to focus our attention on the glorious sights of autumn, there is something special about the scents of the season. The rich aromas that go hand-in-hand with fall have a tendency to bring out the nostalgic in me. The smell of decaying leaves blowing in the wind brings back fond memories of playing hide and seek in the piles of leaves in our backyard. Turkey and pumpkin pie baking in the oven stir up cozy thoughts of Mom. There is also something comforting about the earthy, woodsy scent of firewood. It brings me back to the cool fall days spent with my father, lugging and stacking firewood to heat our house during the frigid winters in Northern New Brunswick. How I loved hurling those logs down the wood chute with all my might!

After so many years, I’m thrilled to be spending my Sunday afternoons piling wood in my own garage! Like many homes in Nova Scotia, ours has always been heated solely with oil. We recently decided to install a wood stove in an effort to both save some dollars and draw on a more renewable energy source to heat our home. The wooded areas of Seaside Farms recently underwent a Hurricane Juan clean up effort. Although our forest is primarily comprised of spruce and fir soft woods, we were able to collect a fair number of hardwood logs, perfect for burning in our new stove! For the past couple of months, Hubby has been picking away at cutting and splitting the wood. The boys are always thrilled to observe Daddy’s efforts with chainsaw and axe. Chi-Chi and Muffy gladly offered their assistance in piling the logs. Both my husband and I were amazed at the amount of effort and sweat equity that goes into the harvesting and preparation of firewood. It’s been an eye-opening experience for the both of us and has given us a greater appreciation of the amount of energy our family consumes. I guess we had not given considerable thought to the amount of energy and money that goes into producing and transporting a tank of oil for our furnace to burn. It’s so easy to sit back and relax while the oil truck fills up ones tank. Of course, it’s not so easy to swallow those hefty heating bills…ouch! Just as growing a garden or shopping at a Farmer’s Market makes us more in touch with our food sources, being directly involved in our heating source makes us more aware of energy consumption.

Certainly, our family is just taking baby steps in all of these areas. Planting a few rows of beans, raising a couple of chickens and chopping a few cords of firewood are all a good start. Finicky little Muffy refused to touch a vegetable until he started gobbling up our own garden beans fresh from the vine. At the very least, being involved in the process might result in better eating habits for this little guy. He’s now hooked on apples and pumpkin muffins after our trip to the Annapolis Valley last weekend where we put him to work on the “harvest”. I’m hoping he’ll take a liking to farm fresh eggs in the near future. This kid could use some protein!

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