Everyone has their own sign that summer is over. Maybe it's Labor Day, or the last trip to the beach, or the beginning of school. For us, we know summer has ended based on two major events. One is The Great New York State Fair. The other is the beginning of the woodpile.
I may not have even mentioned the woodstove yet on this site, but you'll be hearing a lot about it in the coming months. A LOT. You'll also be hearing a lot about how I burn myself on the bastard every single day, and how much of a mess the wood makes, and how sick I'm getting of stacking and hauling wood all the time . . . I bet you can't WAIT for all of that.
See, we don't have central heat. Unless you count the fact that the woodstove is centrally located in the dining room. We do have an oil furnace, but the house is so big and so cold that to heat it in any comfortable fashion with the furnace would require the selling of some vital organs to pay the oil bill. And I would like to keep both of my kidneys, thank you. So we mostly rely on wood heat.
When I say "heat," I'm not talking a balmy 70 degrees inside. I'm also not talking heating the whole house. The woodstove is in the dining room, so we set chairs up around it and basically live in the dining room in the winter. The living room gets a little residual heat. The bathrooms have space heaters and the kitchen has its own propane heater. That leaves the other 80 percent of the house unheated. And when I say "unheated," I mean the kind of unheated where you can see your breath and ice forms on the walls. Inside. A. says it builds character. I say it builds chilblains, but whatever.
So this post was supposed to be about the wood and how we start gathering it early, before I got sidetracked by the sub-arctic cold of Blackrock in the winter. Getting back on the main track . . .
We keep the wood on one of the side patios, just outside the kitchen door. In the summer, this patio has a picnic table and the grill. But when the picnic table is moved and the wood begins to be stacked on that patio, that is the end of the Blackrock summer. A. split wood this weekend, and this week I began The Stacking.
The woodpile in embryo
That whole stone area will soon be totally covered in wood stacked five feet high. We get most of it delivered to us, because we don't have a wood lot, but we always supplement with trees we get from various sources. Last winter, we had a maple tree felled, so we cut that up and A. is splitting that right now.
Welcome to Dogpatch
So that's it. The woodpile has begun and summer is over here at Blackrock. Soon it will be nothing but flannel-lined jeans (oh yes, I own some and they are SEXXXY) and wool coats. And wood. Lots and lots of wood.
But enough about me. How do you know your summer is over?