Monday, November 24, 2008

Chopping Wood

One of the great problems with poverty is, of course, the inability to purchase things -- even needed things. In order to keep our electric bill as low as possible this winter, we're keeping the thermostat very low and, in the evenings, heating the front room by using the fireplace.

Making a fire almost every night necessitates having a lot of wood to burn, possibly a cord or two for the entire season. Around here, a cord of seasoned wood sells for $120 - $150 and that's about $120 - $150 more than we can afford. So what to do?

I'm very fortunate that two of my neighbors had several of their dying trees cut down and neither wanted the wood. So, we were able to procure a tremendous amount of firewood for no money. In addition, as a result of last December's mighty storm, there are downed trees and limbs all over the forest behind our home -- more free wood.

Were it not for my fibromyalgia, all this free wood would be an utter bonanza! While it certainly is helping us to lessen our utility expenses, all of this wood needs to be cut and split. I am the designated cutter and splitter of the household.

So each dry day -- when I feel up to it -- I split wood. I can only do it though for about 60 minutes before my body gives out. Today offers a good example of what I'm referring to. I split wood for about 45 minutes, then stacked it in the basement. Once finished, I limped up our back steps and took a 4-hour nap!

In essence, a 60 minute workout means I'm done doing ANYTHING physical for the rest of the day -- sometimes far longer. It's really terrible being a middle-aged fellow who can barely do the necessary work to produce needed firewood.

But this is my path and I must accept it.

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