Enjoy the season by flickering firelight

There’s not much that compares to the soul-warming and achy bone-healing heat of a real wood fire. Especially when you open the door of the wood stove to feel the heat directly on your frigid fingers after another morning of bringing up the seasoned wood for stacking closer to the hearth!

January certainly isn’t one of my favourite months of the year, but there is a certain solace and joy in watching the flickering flames that only a real wood fire delivers in what is usually one of the coldest months of the year here in Canada. It’s the final payoff… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ice and snow storms leave us powerless

Rewind to the Easter weekend ice storm of 2016, when my parent's country property was hit pretty hard by a day of rain that slowly turned to ice and caused the snapping, breaking and in some cases, complete uprooting of some 60 (yes, sixty!) poplars in a matter of hours. The sound of the crashing and snapping of the trees, which started around 10:00 p.m. was apocalyptic in its effects on both our psyches and the landscape, snapping power lines and causing widespread havoc.

In our particular case, we were without power for 3 days, which gave us a chance to enjoy life as the early settlers did! By flickering candlelight, all we could do was listen to what came crashing down around us. With the outside utter darkness surrounding us on all sides, we were huddled around our kitchen table, hoping nothing would come down on our heads! Against all odds, our 4-foot garden angel statue escaped unscathed, which lifted our spirits in view of the utter forest devastation we saw all around us.

Poplar tree clean up and winter chores

The clean-up would begin almost immediately, with chain saw and chains at the ready. So much wood! Where to put it all? And it was poplar, not exactly your most cherished of hardwoods. But over the next few months, with all hands on deck, we did get to cleaning up the worst of the debris, at the very least that which covered the driveway and hampered access to the workshop.

There are still snapped trees, looking like decapitated silhouettes, awaiting their fate, but their harvest will have to wait until spring 2017. We’re finally getting to enjoy the fruits of all that labour now. And yes, the poplar is actually giving us just the heat we need!

Wood heats you three times

They say wood heats you three times - first, when you cut it, second, when you stack it, and last, when you burn it. It’s Mother Nature’s gift to us, all the sun’s stored energy that we can now enjoy - visually, viscerally, spiritually and psychologically to warm us and sustain us through what’s left of Old Man Winter. 

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