A while back, when widening the turnpike was still an issue, my family and I moved into our house. Our housewarming gift was Hurricane Gloria. Over 50 trees were knocked down on a 3¼-acre lot.

Now somebody like Davis Rawson, former columnist for the Morning Sentinel (rest his razor wit), would probably say that any real Mainer could only look at this as a windfall. I didn’t see much choice.

Electric heat was a last resort. Having no Maine woods experience, I decided I’d be a fool to not use the fuel at my fingertips.

For the next 10 weeks, I cut, carried, split and stacked six cords of wood in any spare time away from my regular job of paid manual labor.

When a cold drizzle came in December, I decided it was time to quit.

The 20-foot top of a poplar had let loose and scored a bull’s-eye on the chainsaw. My urge to save it was as fleeting as my feet. This was my second warning after an earlier close encounter ducking a log that was launched from a bent sapling. Three is probably a bad number in logging for people from away.


Cutting, carrying, splitting and stacking firewood is the hardest work I have ever done. Forget 34 years of mail handling.

I may be from away, yet I still enjoy walking into the lot in early spring to harvest a cord. The only other person I know who enjoys it more is my friend, Mike the Mainer. Firewood is his addiction.

At the mention of available cellulose, he will go anywhere that a few gallons of gas will get him to add to the pile. It probably has something to do with him backing his pickup truck down the tote road next to my woods. There is nothing like a friendly get-together with chainsaws.

Unfortunately, every now and then a tree doesn’t fall the way you expected. That’s why you visually clear the area around a cut. Mike couldn’t foresee a heart attack and a triple bypass, though he has come out of the woods OK. Being a non-smoker and a teetotaler helps, but I don’t know when or if he will be able to get back at it.

I do know that if you hang out with the right people they make you feel right at home, regardless of the state you’re in.

Ayuh, Davis Rawson.

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