#92 – Peter Barus: "Out of the loop"

From Moderator: Peter Barus is a great friend, going back a half dozen years or so.  When first I knew him, he was an out-east big city guy, a computer specialist, an excellent trainer and all around good guy.  Two or three years ago or so he and his spouse moved into the very rural northeast U.S., to a farm, and here begins his story….
I have been out of the loop for a couple of weeks or more.
And it strikes me now that this is more than burnout or just an upsurge in activity around here  I’ve really had a change in lifestyle.
I used to be plugged in all the time, writing back to everybody, reading everything that came in within minutes or hours of arrival.
What’s happened?  For one thing, I moved to a farm without electricity, with wood heat, and spent two years living as if I hadn’t.  This year, instead of paying over a thousand dollars for enough wood to stay alive til spring, I decided to go get it myself.  after all, this is a 186-acre forest.
There was a big ice storm last winter that knocked the tops out of about a quarter of the big trees at the edges of the fields and along the roadsides.  The plan was to clean up the mess where its close to home, like the cluster of maples that fell on the old tent platform just up the hill beyond the garden; then go out along the roadsides where the Town crew left major trees for us, before the less scrupulous among our neighbros scarfed it up.  And we had some big chunks out of the logging operation from last winter that a neighbor kindly hauled out of the swamp and left me several truckloads in the front yard.
Lots of people around here rent a splitter and spend about two weeks making their winter pile.  I like splitting by hand.  But first I had to go cut up the trunks and load them in the truck and bring them home.  Then I set up a big stump about waist-high and got out the old maul.  This is like the child of an ax and a sledge hammer.
I got to where I’ve been able to stack about five cords so far; seven is comfortable; a dozen would be nice, cause we can just carry it over into next year.
But it hurts!  My hands are all gnarly and knotted and other words that sound like “nnggg!”  All my joints ache.  I’m not complaining!  I’m strong as an ox now, at age 61.  But how many more seasons can I keep this up?
I think the secret is pacing.  A few strokes a day, rather than a crash-and-burn, all-out, heroic effort.
In between all this, clean the chimneys with the long handled brushes, finish re-shingling the roof, host a family reunion, etc.
We live in the previous centruy, or the one before that, now.  sleep when it gets dark, and up with the first hint of a sunrise.  Life here is a direct struggle with nature, and nature is changing fast too.  Weather like nobody’s seen before, changes in soil, habitats, flora and fauna.
Well, as I say, a change in lifestyle.  By the time I get to the Town Library and hook up to the local wi-fi, I ain’t got much to say, somehow.
But keep ’em coming.  I’ll get to it.