We left the farm in the early afternoon, when the sun was in a desirable place in the sky and it was warm enough for the snow to start melting off of the trees.
We drove down the main road for some time, passing the changing trees which were hanging heavy from the recent snowfall. The mountains were hiding beneath the clouds but the closer you got the more you could see their peaks and valleys peaking through.
We continued on our way down the backroad, where there was obviously much more precipitation. The ground was soft underneath the truck tires, a mixture of snow and mud. We drove to a most-secret destination where a plethora of dead and fallen trees remained, ones we had spotted during a previous adventure.
It was like they were there for us, just for us, lying, waiting, ready to become heat for our bodies and home.
We parked the truck among the trees and proceeded to begin the rewarding process. I double checked the glove box to make sure we had our tree cutting permit and it occurred to me that the piece of paper in my hands was fairly ironic. I donned my toque and gloves and ear protection.
In BC, collecting firewood requires a permit, which is free and available online. It also requires those cutting to take only dead, whether standing or down. The living of course, must remain as such.
I quickly pulled out my camera as the clouds started to lift at the mountain tops started to appear. The boys pulled out the chainsaws, the bar oil, the chain break and whatever else that they needed. They topped up fluids. They sharpened teeth. They laughed and smoked cigarettes as I wandered through the trees.
We found a beautiful fir laying peacefully in the grass. The top was rotten and soggy but the centre was perfect. We cut off the dead limbs, scattering them about. We cut the trunk up into rounds that would fit perfectly in our wood stove.
We piled the rounds into our truck, making sure they were snug as a bug in a rug. By this time we were all much warmer, sweaty underneath of our layers. We took a break to have a cold beer before beginning on the next tree.
We repeated this process only once, not taking more than we need but just enough.
“We can always come back,” we agreed.
We packed ourselves and our gear back in the truck and set off for home as the sun started to fall behind the skyline.
Once home, we piled the rounds near our carport and shed, where the rest of our firewood lives. We spent the next few hours by a fire outside, chopping and stacking our bounty. What an excellent workout, to chop wood. What a rewarding way to get rid of any negative energy.
Later that evening before making supper, we lit a glorious fire in our little wood stove. A moment of silence fell over us as we huddled around, warming our hands. A silent thank you to nature for providing the heat, the camaraderie, the workout and the beautiful day.