CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Sure Sign That Winter's Coming

August in the CPR section house brought the first sign of winter : a huge pile of firewood .

Clipart from
  Prior to delivery Dad would hitch a chain to the current abandoned car and haul it away .With the newest old car in the lead , the backseat full of kids and Mum or the neighbour's teenager steering the abandoned car , we headed to the junkyard to deposit the most recent metal 'car-cass'.

 " You should pay me to leave it here" the standard exclamation always preceded the quibble over the value of the pile of scrap . I am sure all the faces pressing against the car window in worried anticipation also pressed against the junk man's conscience . He inevitably gave Dad a little more than the going rate . This fifteen dollars would be the down payment for the first ten cords of wood . On the way home , the better part of a dollar was sacrificed for Popsicles all around .

For a day or so the kids would enjoy the extra space in the yard until the woodcutter backed his truck up to the spot . Then we swarmed the pile on the back and began tossing out the sections of logs into the yard . The wood was five dollars cheaper if we unloaded it ourselves . With the down payment handed over , a handshake and the promise to pay in full by the end of August , the woodcutter left us to our work .

If there was enough money , the firewood was ordered cut to length , but often it arrived in eight foot lengths. Dad and Mum on the push-pull saw worked their way through the biggest logs cutting 18 inch lengths for splitting . The bucksaws handled every thing else .

The pile was sorted by diameter first , smaller logs for kindling cuts , medium for sectioning into four and the huge stump ends for serious wood chopping. Mum would split the kindling and Dad took on the quartering- the back work . Stumps were left until the very end and done over time . The kids hauled the chopped wood into the shed for stacking against the wall - the leg work . Dad always checked to see that the piles were neatly placed and pressed back to the wall . Within a weekend , the ten cords of wood ( face cords ) were in place .

Then we would wait a month for a final load to come...paid in full upon delivery . " I wonder how So-and-so will manage to pay for their wood this year ?" Mum would say . Always reminding that there were others worse off when handing over large sums .

This second load was split and placed along the south side of the shed .The space that had held the junk car was ready for the huge pile of snow plowed and shovelled off the roadway during the winter .  It became the sliding hill and castle for the kids . And the woodpiles became a temporary home for mice , squirrels and white winter weasels . Until the cook stove ate away the stack .

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