Joe and I both had a three day weekend over this last memorial day and Saturday was absolutely perfect. Over 70s in the sun it felt hot but the breeze was the cool promise of storms coming. We worked on our wood pile all morning together, him cutting and me splitting. We don’t cut down live trees and almost our entire pile right now was given to us by neighbors. The gift of heat in northern Minnesota where the temperatures can fall well into the minus thirties and beyond. We heat entirely with wood and, though it may seem early in the year to be worrying about next winter, quite frankly, it is never too early. It is the best kind of work, physical and very real in this age of digital everything. We take breaks periodically and sit together, bodies hot and sweaty, covered in saw dust and the smell of pine and oak, tamarack and elm.
It is splitting the wood where I am most reminded how much I love it. Wood is totally beautiful and utterly unique, every single piece has its own colors and its own scars. I have to fight myself not to save a log or a piece just because it made my heart sing… pretty soon I know our burn pile and my keep pile would be about the same size. We are excited to be retiring our butcher block kitchen counter tops here in a few weeks. A local saw mill is cutting us two slabs for each counter that I will be gluing and jigging them together before I trim them out in barn wood like I did in the little house a couple weeks ago. I can’t wait to see them and touch them and, yes, smell them. I may be weird but there is something so primal and simple and old school to handling wood. Joe and I sharing the burden and the sweat and the time it takes feels like a price to pay that is also a gift to us in its own way. It is something personal that is our equal burden, it fills us with a satisfaction that only truly working with your hands and providing for your family can give you. What could possibly be more personal then providing heat for your home? It is a task I am grateful for but not in comparison to how deeply I am grateful for Joe as the burden so often falls heavier on him then it does me and the man has never once complained.
Sitting with him in the sun, dirty and saw dust covered and dripping sweat in our little farm yard… I have found my Heaven.
Saturday I was disappointed to find that our ridiculous amounts of wind lately meant I was too late for most of our crab apple trees as their blossoms now cover the ground like snow. However our lilacs were in full beauty and our entire yard was heady with their smell… one of the very best smells in the world if you ask me. Sunday my mom and I did our traditional trip for flowers for both of our yards and planters. What better day could you ask for then one when your hands are in the dirt and your hair is in the sun? Joe and I took a drive and stopped by one of our favorite little lakes (this is MN – we have about thirty lakes to choose from within 15 miles of us) and we skipped rocks like kids and watched the storm come in. We got back just in time for me to snap a few pictures of our old barn, still standing after 100 years, shining in the sun with the storm rolling in at its back.
It sleeted and it really was dramatic for awhile. A decent spring storm when we needed the rain very badly. The same could be said for Monday, though it brought no sleet just some really great rain. I can’t complain that Monday was rainy and cold (though I know many people did and had good right to) as for me just being home and forced NOT to work in the yard was also a bit of a gift. It is so easy in MN to feel the pressure of spring and the need to GO GO GO. I saw almost everyone I loved this weekend and I have to remind myself that not everyone is so close to family and it is something for me to be very grateful for. Joe shot his spring turkey with his bow so this weekend ended perfectly for him, another gift to be grateful for.
I hope you all had a lovely memorial day weekend!