Winter’s End

I cut-up the last of my firewood and am ready for the final cold nights of the season. Here’s my firewood tip: check size and seasoned status before they drop 2 cords of wood in your driveway. I did not and the pieces were too long for my wood stove and much of it was not seasoned. But what was I going to do, have the guy reload it all? Not me, I’m a sucker. I’ll be more careful this year. Meanwhile, this season my chainsaw skills have improved and I learned some tricks to speed up drying.

I appreciate all the steps that go into heating my house with wood – from stacking logs, collecting small branches for kindling even cleaning out the ash. I sprinkle this around my blueberries, hydrangea and pine trees and they thank me for it. The outside activity on a cold day feels productive and invigorating and the resulting crackling fire brings me joy as well as warmth. A stove or fireplace will be a requirement for any future home I may live in.

There’s enough chill predicted in the week ahead for me to fire up the stove but the light is changing, days are longer and daffodils are in bloom. Spring is showing up. I pulled the plastic off of one window downstairs to let fresh air in and was reminded that along with breezes and fresh air comes a lot more noise. The thrum of traffic on nearby I-95 can sometimes sound like a roar and how I hate the relentless grind of leaf blowers! But it was sweet to hear the birds again and soon there will be the rustle of leaves – a good trade-off.

There have been some recent mornings warm enough to sit outside on the porch steps with a cup of tea. Through the bare branches of the Norway maple I can easily watch nuthatches, chickadees, downy woodpeckers and plenty of other birds as they poke and peck around. But the tree is now heavy with buds and soon my bird visibility will be limited.

Yes, I’ll miss these easy views of bird-life and the lights of houses two streets away as layers of green grow in and hide it all. I surprise myself with how much I have come to appreciate naked, cold aspects of winter. In years past I’d be irritated by these lingering cold days and now, I feel almost wistful. And I no longer feel like I can change into my pajamas at 6 PM. I’ll miss that.

Are you sorry to see winter go?

6 thoughts on “Winter’s End”

  1. I stay cold long after the earth starts to warm. We will have evening fires into May. We, too, got a load of oak that was a little tough to burn this year. It was seasoned, but because it had been stored outdoors during frigid weather, also frosty and damp. I found a way to make it work, though. All winter long, I had a couple of blankets set up in n the house. I would split the logs (my splitter is my BFF!) and lay them down to warm and dry before I burned them. I kept ahead of our wood needs by a day or two. It was just another step added to my wood ritual and I really didn’t mind. Now that spring has arrived, the wood is burning well. I still love my wood guy. When we were struggling to burn the wood, he added half a load of maple and sassafras to my wood supply, which burned like a charm and was great for starting the fire and creating a nice bed of coals. He wouldn’t take any money for the supplementary wood.
    Fires are the best and I am happy you enjoy them, too, Tricia. ❤️

  2. I too will miss being able to justify getting into my jammies at 6! Also not being able to have a “fire” in our bedroom in the mornings. It’s a gas log, but still cozy and warm and inviting. What I especially love is standing in front of it to heat up after I’ve ventured into other, colder regions of the house. I love that feeling of warmth spreading through my whole body. In the summer though, I go outside and sit in the sun for that kind of radiating heat.

  3. I feel the same way about winter – the fact that I can see further is one of my favorite things. Birds in the trees, and the view from the top of a hill to Long Island Sound – invisible when the leaves are out – are among the things I love…

  4. Yes – I know you are also a fire-gal – from your beautiful shots in front of what looks a magnificent fireplace! Us Bronx gals embracing the flames! xxx

  5. Dave always comments on how he misses the views into the wood once the trees leaf out. And I am perfectly happy snug inside with writing or a book…much as I love warm weather and sunshine, there’s a lot of yard work associated with it and sometimes I miss the excuse of cold to keep me in! Lovely piece and wonderful images – both of spring and cozy days. XO

  6. oooh – a fireplace in the bedroom is the ultimate! Yes to that sun heat too. I am ready for it!

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