Sunday, November 01, 2009

Wood Splitter

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.


Matt said...

Steve should invent "Steve 3" to take pictures for him--then he could simply stay home and watch the Packers games whist collecting a paycheck. :)

Anonymous said...

Makes me think of Howard Kohn's book The Last Farmer, an remarkably poignant memoir of his father, farm work, and the mixed blessing of machines on the farm.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, I read your remark about Howard Kohn`s book the Last Farmer. I bought a copy. It is one of the best books I have ever read. The author nailed real life on the farm. The book was in many ways depressing but it was real life, not a sugar coated life. There is an upside and downside to most choices in life, not an easy side only. History repeats itself and and I am hoping my husband and myself will be the last farmer in our township... if we can make it another 20 years... of coarse the university experts say we are obsolete, the DNR and the town board are regulating us out as us little guys are inconvenient...