Homestead Life; Scouting for Firewood

by Charlotte Walker

Today I strapped on my snowshoes and headed into the forest to search for fallen trees. We need to harvest firewood soon.

There’s an old saying about firewood that goes: wood warms you three times; when you cut it when you split it, and when you burn it.

I’d say that from experience it warms you many more times than this because there’s also the lifting and loading and moving and stacking and so forth. We try to stock up on enough firewood before winter arrives so that we can avoid the challenge of doing it in deep snow but this has been a long, cold winter and our supply is getting a bit low for our comfort.

Fortunately for me, this journey was solely a scouting mission. I always enjoy spending time in the forest and embarked on this little adventure with enthusiasm. I brought my camera so I could share some of the sights with you, and a gathering bag because I always regret not having one when I leave it behind.

Homestead Life; Scouting for Firewood

My gathering bag. I brought home pine needles for tea and aromatherapy decor.

Foraging and wildcrafting is a big part of our homestead lifestyle.

The winter forest is slumbering, nestled in pristine silence, and will be for some time yet.

My movements sounded brash like a buffalo trespassing in fairyland. I always feel guilty, imagining all of the slumbering creatures that my clumsy steps might be disturbing.

With such a stark silence, the smallest sounds are amplified. The crackling of frozen twigs and leaves as a gust of wind rushes past sounds like an orchestra. When the sunshine peeks through the trees, it warms the skin so nicely.

Homestead Life; Scouting for Firewood

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.  ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

I did hear a squirrel family chatter anxiously; I think they were sending a warning telegraph far and wide warning others that Mischa Queen of the forest was on the prowl. She is stealthy and silent in her movements (unlike me). Her nose twitches and her ears follow suit as she gets ready to leap into action and guard “her” woods.

Homestead Life; Scouting for Firewood

Mischa Moon Howler – Queen of the Forest

It is tough going in spots, and even with snowshoes, one foot sinks down into the snow and before I know it one leg is sunken down in snow past my knee. The other foot is still high up on the surface. This makes for a seriously ungraceful moment as I try and wrestle my foot, snowshoe, and leg out of the hole without causing my other foot to sink in. I end up grabbing onto a skinny tree within reach to help me pull myself up. This tree snaps off becoming a walking stick that now rests at the doorway.

Molly kept walking behind me stepping on my snowshoes and tripping me up. She is a funny character.

Homestead Life; Scouting for Firewood

This photo was taken on our driveway to the house. Just look at Molly’s face –  priceless!

I found plenty of fallen wood.

There are trees wholly uprooted, some are snapped, and others are precariously hanging held up by other trees, ready to fall at any moment.

We have had a lot of big storms lately, and it has been hard on the trees. There’s plenty of firewood.

When I made my way out of the forest, I end up popping out near the chicken coop. One of the chickens was out roaming and enjoying the sunny day. We only have TWO chickens left (we’ll be getting more in the spring), and they are both pretty long in the tooth. It is nice to see them enjoying some fresh air; winter has been quite hard on them this year.

Homestead Life; Scouting for FirewoodOne of the hens hanging out in pasture enjoying some sunshine.

As I walked back to the house, my husband hollered to me from the balcony that I looked like a wizard and to wait because he wanted to take my photo. I smiled and felt warm inside. The forest walk was uplifting and I felt a bit wizard like with my staff and bag of plants. In my book there is nothing better than being warmly greeted when you arrive home. This was the perfect way to wrap up my adventure!

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