Our friends, Russ and Linda, have access to a great amount of firewood on an adjoining property to their farm--'tops' left behind after a logging operation a year or more ago.
They generously extended wood gathering privileges to our family.
Deer season begins next week--a time when no human-kind---or deer-kind-- is safe in the woods.
Accordingly, J. announced that we would spend the afternoon gathering wood.
It took some organization.
J. filed the chains on two saws to make sure they were properly sharp.
He went to fill gas cans, gathered a carrier of small tools, extra jugs of oil. He loaded the 4-wheeler with log splitter attached onto a trailer and we were off for the woods.
We parked the old truck [Snort'n Nort'n] in the pasture, bounced across the brook with the 4-wheeler and progressed up one of the log roads that intersect over many acres.
The forest floor was adrift in maple leaves, but many of the oaks and hickories are still clinging to leaves in shades of russet, gold, bronze and dark red.
A weathered stump dotted with maple seeds.
My assigned task was to pull small branches out of the way.
The footing in these cut-over areas is precarious, especially for the person running the chain saw.
Fallen leaves and twigs cover the ground, hiding small hollows or rocks and bits of moldering wood which can trip one up.
I dragged branches, making small heaps, and moved some of the lighter chunks of wood as they were cut to make loading easier.
When J. had cut up a goodly amount, we rode out on the 4-wheeler, came home to haul a tractor back on a larger trailer.
Its a good thing that between them, Russ and Jim have every sort of trailer.
J. doesn't own one small enough to be towed up the narrow log road, so he hooked the tractor onto a borrowed one.
The Russell's dogs clambered into the trailer with me.
When it came time to cross the brook I decided I'd had enough jolting, to say nothing of having my ears washed by a very enthusiastic large dog who seemed determined to sit in my lap!
I scrambled out of the trailer and launched myself at the steep hill.
Before I had reached the half-way point my leg muscles were taut with painful effort, my lungs on fire.
I considered throwing myself down in the leaves and gasping my last!
I huffed on, not enjoying the climb, but determined to follow the distant sound of the tractor.
As I rounded the last bend in the trail, the dogs came bounding back to encourage me.
Surprisingly, once I reached the wood pile I caught my breath and was able to help load the trailer.
Walking back out of the woods as the sun disappeared was not a challenge--downhill all the way!
Jim, easing the tractor down the steep winding track with a loaded trailer pushing from behind, declared later that it was no task for an amateur!
We visited for an hour with our good friends, then bundled into the truck and drove home as darkness settled around us.
It was supper time, but seemed more like late evening.
It takes us a few days to adjust to the change of clock-time.
More wood cutting is planned for tomorrow.
Give me strength!