Sunday, October 26, 2008

Smell of Oak Smoke

Oak smoke once again trickles from the chimney of the wood stove at the old farm. A reminder of fall and winter soon to come. A tantalizing smell that brings back memories of when we heated our drafty farm house with wood stoves, one in the kitchen and one in the dining room. Memories of making wood. Sawing down huge old dead oaks in the woodlot back of the farmstead with a two-man crosscut saw for there were no chainsaws in those days. Hauling the limbs and tree trunks to the farmstead and piling them. Hard work. Dangerous work.

And then inviting the neighbors for a wood sawing bee when a power-driven circle saw sliced the limbs and trunks into blocks of wood of a manageable size. A reminder of threshing, silo filling and corn shredding when the neighbors helped each other. But the work was not done when the neighbors left, for the blocks of wood had to be split into pieces that would fit in the kitchen stove, in the dining room heater, in the pump house stove, and in the potato cellar wood burner that kept our potato crop from freezing.

Today, I enjoy cutting wood, even doing some of the splitting. Mostly because it is my choice to do it. And because I enjoy the smell of oak smoke on a chilly fall morning when the sun is just peaking above the horizon and white frost covers everything.

The Old Timer says: Take time to smell the oak smoke. It is a mysterious smell filled with memories of an earlier day.

Upcoming Events:

October 27, 7:00 PM. Schwartz Bookstore, Mequon. Presentation and signing. Featuring Old Farm

October 28, 1:30 PM Brillion Public Library. Presentation and signing. Featuring Old Farm

October 30, 2:30-3:45 PM WEAC Teacher Convention, Madison. Presentation and signing.

November 1, 10:00-2:00 PM Land Genealogy Workshop. Wisconsin Historical Society
Museum, Capitol Square, Madison. How to conduct a genealogy of a piece of land. (See below for details)

November 5, 5-7:00 PM. Barnes and Noble, Green Bay. Book signing. Featuring Old

November 7-9, National Farm Toy Show, Dyersville Iowa. Book signing. Featuring Old
November 7, 6-9 pm
November 8, 9-6 pm
November 9, 9-2 pm

Land Genealogy Workshop
November 1, 2008, 10 am-2pm. Check in begins at 9:30.

Contact InfoE-mail: museum@
Phone: 608-264-6555
Fax: 608-264-6575 Registration Deadline 10/25/2008
Ticket Info: Cost is $45 for Wisconsin Historical Society members, $50 for non-members.
Jerry Apps, author of Old Farm: A History, reveals how to conduct a genealogy of a piece of land, including its geology and discovering who lived there over time. Participants will receive a copy of the book, and lunch will be provided.

Location: Wisconsin Historical Museum, 30 North Carroll Street, Madison.

No comments: