Tuesday 11 September 2018

Chopping Wood

Everyone enjoyed this lucky photo of me and
my antlers. 
When I last wrote, we were about to enjoy the last full day of the Dans' visit before they flew out again on an early Sunday Ryan Air. They woke up Saturday full of determination to complete the last of their three main tasks (mowing, re stacking the roof beams and splitting our stored log 'rounds'). The weather nearly frustrated them... but read on.

Giving the axe a good swing.
Chopping log rounds is not that easy if you are not used to it and if the logs are rather knotty, branchy black spruce. Dan had used an axe in his younger days - he was one of the cliff-top based team of a Welsh coast-guard cliff rescue unit - but not recently and never for splitting logs for firewood.

Raw material - those log rounds queueing up to get wedged.
He was a bit tentative to start with, till he got a feeling for it, not splitting anything, but he built up quickly to some good, powerful chopping that had wedges flying off in all directions. Danielle took up the role of assistant, passing him the next log, picking up the wedges and stacking them, and sometimes diving in with the metal splitting-wedge and lump-hammer rescue the axe when Dan had got it stuck in a 'round'.

Happy chopping crew. Job's a good 'un!
As I said, though, less than half way in, coming up to lunchtime, the drizzle turned heavy and the boss (me!) decided it was not safe to be slithering about on wet concrete, swinging sharp implements about on wet handles. We adjourned indoors for tea and chocolate cake, and Elizabeth lit the fire in the Sitting Room. We thought we were done for the day with the rain set in permanently. Eventually I went up for a nap.

When I woke up an hour later, the sun was streaming through the window and I could here the solid 'thunks' of the axe. My crew had decided it was safe to re-start and were going now like a train. The pile of raw material was fast diminishing and Danielle was starting the count down - only 12 left now!..... Final half dozen, Dan! Then it was all over, the wedged wood was all stacked away and the floor cleared of debris. The sweaty lumberjacks headed indoors for a shower and a beer or cider (according to taste). They'd done a brilliant job and definitely earned their supper.

Danielle feeding the pigs.
On Sunday morning, we saw the pair off to their early flight and some messing about handing the hire car back. Our only other job that day was to set up and 'staff' our water-point for the local Ros-go-Run which regular readers will know we do every year. It was a good full event this year with more runners than previously. The half marathon passes our gate in its 12th mile. The runners all appreciate the applause and encouraging banter on the way round.

Horse radish plants doing OK despite a caterpillar attack. 
I hear from Sligo Hospital, calling me in for another chest X-Ray. I take encouragement from this, which suggests that I am not forgotten - I am front and centre and may still be on for the heart op "soon". I am not lying in some dusty drawer on somebody's longer term waiting list. That is a job for Monday.

Meanwhile, when we were blown out by our August Help-X volunteer and then unable to attract a replacement, we had both rather given up on the Help-X thing. We decided that maybe the volunteers all come on to the website in Spring to set up their year of travelling and working, but by now they have all gone back to college or to work, never to be heard from again till 2019. Not a bit of it. 2 couples have popped up over the last few days, one wanting mid September (next week!) an the other mid October. We have accepted their pencil-in bookings but also warned them that we are mainly wet and cold now. We walked the site today with a notebook, writing down any jobs we could find - there are plenty! If these work out they will be Sonja and Asbjörn, (pastry chef and chef) this month and Vicky and Judith (medical students) next month. Should be fun. Watch this space.

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