THE CRANKY OLD MAN
Random thoughts and stuff from a cranky old man. Humor (maybe), satire, and some politics, mostly stuff from a confused head.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014
years ago, when Spencer was about seven…(holy Hannah, he just got his drivers
license so it was more than several years ago.)
years ago a neighbor gave me some firewood.He did not have a fireplace and he had just cut down an eighty year old white ash
tree on a property he was developing.This neighbor, I called him Big John because he was 6’ 6” and was at one
time was the leading scorer for the Seton Hall basketball team, dropped off 35 huge
logs into my backyard.Each log was
about four foot across and just the right length for a fireplace.
I left the
logs in the back for over a year to season.They burn better when seasoned and they are also easier to split.I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns
out that white ash is a very good tree for fire wood.This tree being old was extra
dense.A single log fired up easily and
burned forever.This stuff was like gold
for anyone with a wood-burning fireplace.
It was not
easy to split.Even when dried out it
was not easy to split.Each giant log
had to be split into four smaller logs which could then be split into two
fireplace sized logs.I split two of the
original huge logs every week.It was
good exercise, and good bonding with my seven year old son.
I had not
split wood before, but I had seen pictures of it being done.A big brawny guy takes an axe and with one
whack one log becomes two.
Not, I soon
found out, with four foot in diameter 80 year old white ash logs.No, to split these logs it took a maul, two
sledge hammers, and multiple wedges.
You start with
three wedges through the middle of the four foot wide log and whack them until
the big log splits in two, then one wedge to quarter the log, and finally the
maul to split the quarters into two fireplace sized logs.
the wedges with a little sledge hammer we named “Little Baby.” Once in place a
standard sledge “Big Baby” was used to pound the wedges.
“Spence, hand me ‘Little Baby’ so I
can start the wedge.”
“Spence, give me ‘Big Baby’ and watch
started the wedges with “Little Baby” which he swung with two hands as I held
the wedge delicately in place ready to release it quickly if “Little Baby” was
missing its mark.Fortunately that was
not often.Spence handled “Little Baby”
I would then
ask for “Big Baby” to pound the wedges in.When the log was about to split, I would sometimes let Spence do the
honors with “Little Baby.”
nothing, and I mean nothing as satisfactory as the sight and the sound of a log
splitting in half.It is an adrenaline,
testosterone rush! When Spence split a log you could almost see chest hairs
It took a
full summer to split all those logs, and two years to burn them.I would only burn one a night.They started quickly and kept other logs of
lesser quality going.When I visited
people who had a fireplace, I would bring along a log or two instead of a
bottle of wine.Those logs were much prized.
It may look
like work splitting wood, and in fact if you did it all day it would be a great
deal of work, but for an hour on the weekend it was great exercise, and a great
way to bond with a seven year old boy.
some day many years from now, Spence will be splitting wood with his young son.
I can hear him now,
“Hand me ‘Little Baby’
let’s get this wedge started.” The Cranky Old man is working from his JV computer. Comments are difficult, but I am lurking.