Humble Daze

This week has been all about the Coming Of The Rain.

Charlie’s “lumber orphanage”  had to be completed before the anticipated shower…and he just made it in time last week. Our yard began resembling its gardenesque self.

This week, another promise of rain, so the wood splitter was improved by a bolted-on ‘cruciform’ blade that made four little pieces out of each chunk of madrone, oak or extremely worm-eaten bay.  The hydraulic splitter is a vast (but not fast) improvement over the frightening sixteen pound maul that I can only barely get over my head…and which I was convinced was ruining my back. All that torque, the ballistic action of the swing, oh my.

Why haven’t I had back problems yet, I wonder?

This week should tell. I spent about three hours scurrying back and 4th from the back end of the splitting machine and the Jim Frick woodshed (each of our buildings has a name, didn’t you know? There are about ten of them. You know the name of the tree house, and the main house.  No need to know all the others.)

Inside the extremely ratty (hope there’s no hantavirus haunting the place) dry shed, I’m bent double, taking each wood-hunk and flinging it frisbee-style underhand to the far corner of the shed.

Such routine unskilled labor is made fun by noticing that (unlike sports that have balls being hurled or  swatted) my aim is perfect. Each chunk sails–and sticks!–to its appointed corner.
Mark Twain, sorry, Sam Clemens had something to say about writing and wood:

Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.

Today’s post is dedicated to Charlie Kelly, who has persistently nudged me about my relative silence. Since his fave author is one of mine, I thought I’d drag in a Twainism or two.

Here’s a doozy he  crafted called Advice to young girls. It just happens that an artist I’ve admired for years has illustrated the text.

Please do not think I’m not writing my book. I am just playing with the raw materials first, to feel the grain, the heft, and breathe the sawdust of the future work…

~ by jacquiephelan on October 1, 2011.

4 Responses to “Humble Daze”

  1. That’s what I’m talking about.

  2. I like the term “lumber orphanage.” I do believe we have one of those under the grape arbor. We’re inveterate trashpickers here, too…this past spring found Joel and I in a huge rollaway skip, salvaging out 2x4s – I think we got about 30 out of there. There’s always something needing to be built, and any wood we don’t have to buy is appreciated and enjoyed.

  3. your writing has made me go back and rerereread my battered copy of his wonderous work as i hold my sister’s while she goes through the difficult task of leaving this vale of tears

  4. Go with the 6 pound maul…even the 8 can be a pain the back and a 16, hand numbing and hard on the back in my opinion…have fun

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