Monday, October 10, 2011

Any Day Spent In The Wood Pile Is A Good Day

..and today was no exception; a truly awesome autumnal (cool
word, eh?) day in October!

Boy howdy, how I love stacking our winter's worth of firewood. Especially on a gorgeous day like today. The scent, the sight, the feel of fall; the leaves, the wood pile, the wind-fall apples on the back lawn & in the all is just down-right mood elevating! Even though my morning started out with a migraine, a chilly house, and no electricity (crews are replacing a power pole directly across the valley) things just kept improving.

Before I did anything else I built a fire. Without the ceiling and stove fans being able to run, and no storm windows in yet, I knew it would take quite a while to get the room temperature up above 55 (brrr) but I had to make a start :) While the kindling caught on and the fire started to crackle I lit the gas range top in the kitchen, boiled some water, and made my morning's hot cup.. Teecino laced with cocoa, Torani's sugar-free classic Irish Cream syrup, and a splash of both almond and whole milk.

I was going to bake bread & pie and fix some computer issues the desktop was having but the power company changed that plan. Couldn't vacuum or do laundry either. It was overcast and drizzly this morning, making for an extremely dark & dismal living room and kitchen with no power for lights, and, in contrast, rather bright and cheery outside despite the weather. So after tidying up a bit I decided to put on a heavier jacket and see if I couldn't manage to dodge the raindrops while stacking wood.

It actually felt warmer outside than in this old drafty barn-masquerading-as-a-house (not surprised in the least, are you kids?!) and the leaves on the trees seemed to light up the whole outdoors.

As I uncovered the woodpile and started loading the wheelbarrow the rain tapered off to almost nothing.. a sure sign from God that I was meant to be out there ;) Further evidence were the enchanting calls of several gigantic flocks of geese flying just at treetop level back & forth up and down the creek, and the big black bulls that were grazing peacefully in the pasture to the south.

Click on the pic to see two of the bulls behind the wood
Jenny-the-dog-faced-girl was thrilled to see I was coming out to play and proceeded to prance and dance and race around both me and the wood yard. She especially liked it when I gathered up some apples from the lawn and tossed 'em to the bulls, chumming them 'til they were up close and personal. 
Click to see the apples on the lawn that became bull treats :)
Remember how our little pigs used to act all nonchalant until the cattle were up by their fence-line then suddenly bark and charge them, sending the big critters thundering away? I still get a kick out of watching our goofy dog and the cows play the same game, except, unlike the pigs, the dog don't bark. Funny animals!

The power never came back on until 2:00pm so I ended up staying outside and got the whole pile stacked. I couldn't have been happier, both about the wood getting done and having a great reason to avoid the indoor chores and be outdoors most the day =)

However! I did want the lights back on so I could see to make that soup I've been planning to try. And it all worked out. It was simply delicious. I cut the recipe in half, since it's just Papa and I, and didn't think we'd need a week's worth of leftovers. Boy, was I wrong. I would've liked to have had enough for lunch every day. It's that tasty.
yummy pic directly from pioneer woman's soup post
While I was tearing kale and sauteing sausage & onions Abby called to chat, Papa drove by and blasted an *I'm almost home honey!* on his air-horn, and Ben and Adam drove in with 3 cords of pine rounds to fill the spot I'd just cleared away by the wood-splitter.

Ben had spent the weekend partying with UnclE and the boys in Klamath and Roseburg, Oregon and drove back to California this morning so he and Adam could get this load for us.. hip hip hooray!

These are ginormous rounds - I can't muscle them around at all
So, even though I miss the tremendous help you kids have always been for getting the obscene amount of wood we need processed to survive the cold in this big old place, know that yer ol' mammy is happy as can be that she can still split and stack her own self =)
Only 6-8 cords left to go! ..horrors :-/

Extra note: Just in case any of you try out that soup in your own kitchen here are the 'half-a-batch' ingredient changes I did that may appeal to you, too:

-Two big long kale leaves (mine were approx 12" long & I didn't use much of the 'bones' down at the base)
-6 small sized red potatoes
-3/4 pound sausage; half of it bulk Italian & half just plain Jimmy Dean bulk breakfast sausage
-1/3 c or so of chopped onion (Abby/Eli.. use a couple green onions if you prefer)
-A scant 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
-2 c chicken broth (or 2 tsp bouillon plus 2 c hot water)
-2 c whole milk (use low or fat free for fewer calories)
-Splash of evaporated milk, since I had no cream (worked great-no canned milk taste)
-omit oregano and black pepper.. plenty of seasoning already in the Italian sausage
-using half broth instead of mostly milk/cream gave it a lighter base, which I prefer...
-only simmer (gently) for 10 min after adding the torn kale pieces; you don't want those tender greens getting over-done!


  1. hahahahahaha barn-masquerading-as-a-house! That is by far my favorite description! Great post! I miss the pigs...Jenny... heck I almost miss stacking wood :)

  2. Last winter Ben, Papa, & I started a list called 'You Know You Live In A Barn If..' I'm sure it will be the title of an upcoming Journal entry in the next few f-f-f-frozen months. Watch for it! (we get so so so inspired during the winter in this 'house')

    I MISS PIGS, TOO!!! I miss the cute names you guys came up with for them, their funny antics, pig rodeo ridin', and yes.. pigs in the freezer :p

    Glad the post made you smile. I do the writing for you and Papa and the pictures for Eli & Ben, lol. Actually, Eli says he'll read the words, too, as soon as being back at school loses its thrill and he starts missing the mountains again :)

    Give yourself another coupla months & you WILL want to come home & do a little stacking. What will you & Richard stack when you live in Hawaii?...Coconuts?

  3. Pictures first, words second!

  4. Oh wow. Lookee here. You read the words, Eli! Good boy. Now...get back to your school work!!

    Instead of traveling up there I think we'll send you to White Rock for a week for graduating. So with THAT incentive you should be done next semester, eh?