“Read the wood,” my dad would say when we were splitting huge blocks of oak wood and my splitting maul would stick in the block. It was usually this time of the year and more times throughout the late fall and winter that we spent many hours splitting wood for the ever hungry wood stoves in our farm house. The cook stove in the kitchen and the Round Oak heater in the dining room, and the stove in the pump house that kept the pump from freezing in below zero weather. And the stove in the potato cellar that kept the potatoes from freezing until they were ready for sale in January or February when the prices were a little better than in the fall.
“Read the wood” meant to study the block before taking a swing at it, looking for the direction of the grain, looking for any knots. A few seconds of study saved several minutes of embarrassment as I tried to extract the splitting maul from a block that I had not read—or had read incorrectly.
My son, Steve, has become quite a good wood splitter, as we continue to heat our cabin with wood stoves. Steve has learned how to read the wood, and he has taken the idea a bit further. He says learning how to read the wood is similar to working with people. Take a little time to “read” them before reacting can often avoid many difficulties.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Read the Wood
November 2, 9:00-4:00. The Clearing, Door County. Writing From Your Life Workshop. Workshop is filled.
November 2, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Book signing. The Clearing, Door County.
November 6, 3:30 UW PLATO group, Oakwood West, (Mineral Point Road), Madison. Quiet Season.
November 7, 7:00 p.m. Baraboo Public Library. Ringlingville U.S.A.
November 9, 9:30 a.m.: Sheboygan County Research Center, Plymouth, Limping Through Life.
November 10: 3:30 p.m. Books and Company Bookstore, Oconomowoc, The Quiet Season.
November 13: Wisconsin Public TV Documentary Screening, “A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps” and book signing. Wild Rose High School Auditorium, 6:15 p.m. Free and open to the public. (In cooperation with the Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose.)
November 17: Lebanon Historical Society. Fire Hall Lebanon, 7:00 p.m. Letters from Hillside Farm and Limping Through Life.
November 21: Wisconsin Historical Society Museum (On the Square). 6:30 p.m. The Quiet Season.
December 4, 7:00 p.m. Premier showing of “A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps.” All Wisconsin public TV stations.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING “A FARM STORY WITH JERRY APPS” DVD
DVD Jerry Apps: A Farm Story List $16.95 The Patterson’s price only $15.00 ($20.00 shipped)
Special Bundle Offer exclusively by the Patterson:
Tamarack River Ghost & Jerry Apps: A Farm Story – List $43.90
The Patterson’s Price Only $35.00 ($43.00 shipped)
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St. PO Box 305
Wild Rose, WI 54984
(All items are sold by the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library. They will accept checks or cash, they’re sorry but they don’t have any way to accept credit or debit cards, checks should be made out to the Friends of Patterson Memorial Library.