Sunday, January 4, 2009
It was about this time last year that we read the journal kept by Elizabeth Hyde, who lived here before we did. Mostly she lived here in the summers, but in the winter of 1984/1985 she stayed over, and wrote about her experience. Elizabeth was here by herself for most of the winter, and the house had no electricity or running water then. Many of her journal entries were focused on the basic tasks of survival. A friend of hers, Anne Priest, read Elizabeth's journal at about the same time we did. Her comment to us was: "It's all about wood!"
It's true for us too, even though we have it plenty easier than Elizabeth did. The house is still heated with wood, though our Pacific Energy stove is much more efficient than the old cast iron number Elizabeth used. Greg spends most of his outdoors time felling trees, cutting logs, carting them to the wood pile and splitting them. He's working on next winter's wood, a good sign of our progress. This time last winter we were using it as fast as it could get thrown on the wood pile. I call him The Woodcutter, as it has a nice Brothers Grimm ring to it.
My task is to resupply the log holders next to the wood stove. I do this every day. I have built up an extra supply in the breezeway in case we get a patch of wet weather. Our wood pile is protected, but not very well, with plastic sheeting that blows off in spite of the many many logs and rocks I have piled on top.
Before Elizabeth bought the house, the back wing (an old building that had been attached to the house at some point) was a woodshed. In those days you could walk from the kitchen into the woodshed without going outside, and your wood was always dry. The old fellers had their priorities straight. Elizabeth turned the shed into what she laughingly called the guest wing, and we followed her direction. We put the plumbing over there, and made a laundry/mud room/breezeway, bathroom, closet and bedroom in that space. Some days I think we ought to turn it back into a woodshed.