My son, Steve, whose day job is photographer for the Wisconsin State Journal, has been my wood splitter for a decade or so. We heat our cabin at the farm with wood stoves, very hungry wood stoves, so each fall we cut down several dead oaks, sometimes a cherry tree, and make wood. Steve splits the chain-sawed blocks into stove friendly sizes.
One has to learn how to “read” a block of wood before splitting it—the direction of the grain, the location of knots. Some blocks are easily split, others less so. Same for understanding people according to Steve. Some people are easy to read, others all knotted and twisted and difficult to deal with.
Earlier this year Steve had surgery on his back—more to do with carrying heavy photo equipment for many years than splitting wood. But no more wood splitting, said his surgeon.
My brother, Don bought a mechanical wood splitter a couple years ago and named it Steve 1. Steve had developed a reputation for wood splitting, you see. Now I have Steve 2, a new mechanical wood-splitter sitting in my shed. An efficient, quiet, non-complaining piece of equipment. A mechanical Steve, but alas, no words of philosophy comparing wood pieces to people and more. A step backward as I try to move forward.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: You cannot know where you are going until you know where you are.
Nov 6-8: National Farm Toy Show, Dyersville, Iowa. Book signing: Blue Shadows Farm and other titles
November 14, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Sheboygan County Historical Research Center, Sheboygan Falls Library. Blue Shadows Farm.
December 12, 10 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Fireside Books, West Bend, WI. Book signing. Presentation at 10:30 a.m. Blue Shadows Farm.