On a sweater

My reasons for leaving this island are few and far between. I haven’t been off yet this year. Mark Knopfler wants me to spend four nights watching him sing in September, and then there is Christmas, maybe two or three nights in December. That should be it for the year.

We have friends who only come in the summer, or come most of the year but leave for the really cold months. But when we stay year round and have no inclination to suffer cold, we need more firewood than most. We had fallen behind in our stash.

Islanders often discuss the number of times one item is picked up and moved to get it to this island. Take one jug of milk.. Into the shopping cart. Onto the checkout counter. Into the buggy. Into the car. Into a wheelbarrow. Into a boat. Out of the boat into another wheelbarrow. Into a truck. Into another wheelbarrow down to the house. On to the kitchen counter. Into the fridge. You gotta really like milk..

If you think there is something you would like to have here, there is a certain level of commitment required to take the trouble it is going to be to get that new item here. Take my gardening friend and her ever so accommodating husband. They have one of the most beautiful gardens on the island and they created it on what is essentially a large rock. There was no soil. Over the thirteen some odd years they have been building their garden they have brought over 100 bags of soil each year with additional amounts of manure and soil enhancers.. Every time they come across in their boat there are a few bags of soil. This is in addition to the benefits of their composting program. Same story as the milk but for a bag of soil. That is commitment.

We were fortunate to buy a property from a gardener with beds filled with gorgeous composted soil accumulated over 22 years.. Not sure E would have shared the same enthusiasm as my friend’s husband if we had had to start at zero.

This discussion also applies to the warmth brought by firewood. We are lucky to have a property with trees and also, friends who are willing to share their windfalls. Unless they have already fallen we need to cut the trees down or hire someone to do it. Then we buck the wood into rounds 17 inches long. Then we have to carry them to and then lift them into our truck. (Luckily we have a truck). Get them out of the truck and onto our property. Fortunately we have a wood splitter. So now we have to get each round to the splitter and split each round. Stack the wood (we have run out of wood shed space) When it’s dry after maybe two or three years. (the longer the better) we put it in a wheelbarrow and take it down a steep hill to the house and load it into the wood stash on the deck. A days worth comes into the house next to the stove. Five am one of us gets up and lights the first fire of the day. House is warm by seven….

It is really nice to be warm. It is really nice to have a three year stash of wood now on the property. The work continues and we won’t be finished for another few days but we are very pleased. That being said, there is a point when I am feeling a little chilled and I think about all the work we go through to get the wood to our stove and I sigh… I sigh and then I smile,

and then I put

on a sweater

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