I said last time that I delight in the midwestern winter, even when I'm entering it after a week in the tropics.
Fortunately, life out at the Homestead offers plenty of opportunities to spend that time outside in the snow. On our first full day back from vacation there were a handful of activities that I tackled, all part and parcel of time on the prairie.
Since we missed the first snow of the season I hadn't thought yet about picking up salt for the sidewalk. This fact was provided as a near miss at a painful reminder as I felt my feet move out from under me when I took my first steps out the back door. It was added to the list of things to pick up as I ran my errands.
But when I returned from those my primary chore - which I'd frankly left a bit for want of time to address it - was upon me. A little longer ago than I care to admit MLW sent me a text to let me know that a rather large section of the fir tree next to the back door had broken off and fallen to the sidewalk.
One of the things I've had to teach myself about living out here is that it is often better to leave a project - at least one that isn't an emergency - to a time when one can handle it properly. As it stands, with the declining daylight hours I typically leave in darkness, and in darkness I return... The limb had fallen near the sidewalk, but it wasn't in the way of anything, and it was too large for me to simply pull over to the brush pile; it would need to be cut up. But this meant that I'd be working on it in the snow.
Given the size of the limb, and in the interest of efficiency and practicality, I made a suggestion to MLW:
E: Hey, you know, what do you think about just using that fallen limb as our Christmas tree this year?
E: Hey honey - I said I thought maybe we could use that fallen limb as our Christmas tree.
MLW: Yeah - I heard you the first time.
It appears she was, shall we say, less than interested in that option.
So I gathered up some of my yard weaponry and prepared for battle.
I used my implements of destruction and was able to get it into small pieces fairly quickly. I keep thinking that I should get a chainsaw - there are enough downed limbs and weed trees to justify such a tool. But there is something especially satisfying about taking apart a limb like this with an axe. A few well-aimed swings can separate things into manageable pieces, and it's hard not to feel like you've accomplished something when you're done.
Once cut up, though, the pieces still had to be hauled off to the brush pile. Given that Freyja was hanging about and "helping", I tried to elicit her assistance:
E: Hey Freyja, you like to haul wood about. How about you carry these on over to the brush pile.
E: Really - come on - you're big and strong. It'll be a good workout for you.
So, yeah, disappointed for the second time of the afternoon, I hauled it all off for future burning.
Anytime I do something like this, outside, in the wintery weather, it reminds me how quickly one warms up if one is actively working in the cold. I started up bundled up against the cold, but before I got halfway through I was loosening buttons and unzipping things to get relief from the heat. It's mother nature's little gift.