“It’s been said that a long straight row of firewood standing in the yard in springtime is like money in the bank. It is indeed. As it dries in the summer sunshine, you’re collecting interest.” (

Back in February there was a mighty wind. Our trees swayed wildly, rain clattered against the windows, the cats huddled in the living room, we stayed inside. In the morning when we ventured out we discovered that the top of the red maple tree east of the house had broken. We were lucky. The broken top had caught among the branches just below it, preventing it from coming down on the electrical wire that leads into the house. It was obvious to me that I was not going to climb up there and cut that part out of the tree, and we decided that the broken part was securely stuck among the other branches and it was safe to wait a while before we had someone else remove it.

So, the week before Easter I finally called the tree guy. Yes, that’s right — I procrastinated. He came and looked at the tree with the broken top, and also at the gum tree on the west side of the house, overlooking the patio. A few smaller broken branches were stuck in it, high enough to seem dangerous. The tree guy said that he could take the broken part out of the red maple, but the gum tree should come down. The top was badly rotted and we were lucky that the very heavy limb that hung over the patio hadn’t fallen. We decided that we needed to think about it. We hadn’t planned to remove any trees yet, but the top really did look insecure.

So Wednesday I called the tree guy again and said we were ready. Thursday morning three men and a truck appeared at our house. The men climbed up and down, hung from ropes, and waved saws about. And for most of the day there was the sound of chain saws and heavy wood thumping onto the ground.

The result was a bit odd at first. The gum tree was still without leaves, but its absence has opened a wide space in the west yard. There is more sky visible from the patio and from the yard below. And there is a long straight row of next year’s firewood stacked along the side of the yard.


One thought on “Firewood

  1. I’m an American city boy who’s ended up in rural New Zealand, and I’m still getting used to heating the house with a wood burner. There’s something deeply satisfying about preparing wood for winter — although the winters here are nowhere near as cold as the Michigan and Minnesota ones I grew up with. Still, it’s very satisfying looking at that stack of firewood.

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