13 January 2008

Heft of axe, Heat of flame

Today marks a turning point in my manhood. For the first time, I have chopped wood. After years of cuddle-headed rustic dreaming and romantic woolgathering, I have finally engaged in the buckets-of-sweat inducing, hand-aching and shaking labour of busting, splitting, hacking, and chopping wood. With the sweet red devil of a brand new axe Jacki recently bought, we have now invested in warming our home in a way that doesn't involve oil. Like the olden times, but with instantaneous blogging and picture taking directly afterwards. Gay? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.

It is quite difficult at times. I, at several points, missed the object entirely and embedded the axe deep into the tree trunk I was using as my chopping block. Sometimes, I chopped clean through the entire piece in one blow, lengthwise. Most of the time, I was trying to shorten the overall size of the piece of wood, so it could fit into our little wood stove.*

The hardest seemed to be oak, which just completely resisted. I could put a dent into it, but an oak piece would just bounce off each time I hit it. After that, the most impervious to attack was cedar, which was most rewarding. I could hack through cedar, it just took a lot of work. When I got the axe deep into it, I was able to stick my nose into the red and pink wound and smell an intoxicating release of that famous cedar smell which is almost universally prized and used to keep clothes smelling good and to add to the experience of relaxation in saunas. Smaller, twig-like pieces that could not be snapped in half were sent flying high and outward by the severance of the heavy axe head. One piece actually landed on the roof. I climbed up and retrieved it. Small pieces from more resistant logs landed in my hair, unbeknownst to me until I cleaned my glasses and straightened my hair inside.

Anyway, now I am drinking some warm white tea, to soothe my savage breast, and listening to more Einsturzende Neubauten, the Interim EP. I was always impressed by Gavin Rossdale's ability to have enough balls to make an album as ferocious and grinding and pounding as Razorblade Suitcase, the poetic sensibilities to write lyrics as singular as he did for that album, and then the good taste to drink miso soup to calm down. Chopping wood does put one in touch with his or her murderous impulses, especially if one has watched The Shining somewhere around thirty times, like I have.

After Interim finishes, it is back to the recent podcast put up on Systems of Romance, which I was enjoying before Jacki and I went out for a walk and visited the adolescent black cows, who are definitely cute if you watch them for a little while.

For your twenty-first century pleasure, pictures taken with the MacBook Photo Booth program, to illustrate:



modernaged said...

reading your post I thought, shit if you split wood with an axe, you're doing it wrong.

Good thing the pictures cleared that up.

What you hefted was a maul, an axe that is blunted, specifically for splitting. If the maul gets stuck, heft the tool again, log and all, and come crashing down on our chopping block.

If all else fails, like with a particularly nasty hunk of oak, invest in a wedge. Set the wedge on the log in question, and smash it with the flat end of the maul.

Problem usually solved. Some logs just aren't meant to be split.

Glad to see you've joined the ranks or men who've split wood. Remind me to teach you the handshake.

Call me when you're ready to make a camp shelter out a canoe and some plastic.

modernaged said...

Uhg. Look at those typos. Too bad blogger won't let me edit them.

KLA* said...

Yeah, I used the pick up the maul with log still attached and bring it down on the chopping block hard maneuver many times. It definitely gets the job done. I'll have to check out a wedge. Thanks for the advice.

The thing to do about the typos is to hit preview before you hit publish. For some mysterious reason, typos are much more noticeable when in a different font with more spacing.

(PS- No Jackis were harmed in the making of this post.)

frankie teardrop said...

i am no real man, i guess. i'm ok with this, i guess. you are fucking scary, i guess.