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Woods, water & worse/Jim Junttila

Buzzing up a winter’s worth of wood

September 10, 2010
By Jim Junttila

"If there's one thing this column has in common with the Bible, it's you can't believe everything you read in it," said WW&W religion correspondent Amazing Grace.

"But that doesn't mean you should burn it like that misguided minister in Florida who's all over the news for threatening to burn the Koran," she added."

"Instead of creating a media buzz for dysfunctional religious beliefs, he'd be much better off buzzing up a few cords of firewood," Grace graciously suggested.

Amen to that. I've been known to dangle a participle and mix a metaphor occasionally, even take a little poetic license, but I try not to cast asparagus on anybody's beliefs. Besides, this column is a known religion-free zone, spiritually immune to the world's great religions, and I pray whatever religion the Koran-burning minister has will spontaneously combust.

I don't have a dog in that fight, but I do have bigger fish to fry, he said, whipping out a spontaneous, surprise back-to-back double metaphor seldom seen in outdoor writing, and right in fronta God and everybody to boot.

No matter what side of the plate you swing from, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Apostolic, Laestadian, Baptist, Catholic or you-name-it, it's spiritually embarrassing to think there's only one true faith and yours is it. I realized a long time ago that none of the above have what I was looking for in a religion, became an unorthodox spiritual independent, and have lived happily ever after.

I am not a fan of fire and brimstone religion, burning the Koran, Bible, or any book, good or otherwise; but I do enjoy a nice cozy, romantic fire, the snap, crackle, pop, hiss and smell of a fireplace, sauna stove or campfire. I can split an infinitive and firewood with the best of them, but I'm a kindling specialist.

When your fall fishing and hunting takes a back seat to buzzing up a winter's wortha firewood before the snow flies, WW&W reminds you that's what sons, grandsons, and nephews are for.

Let them do the buzzing, splitting and stacking while you do the casting and blasting.

"Where is it written that only the boys should have all that fun and fitness?" asked Amazing Grace. "I recommend it for a vigorous aerobic, arm, shoulder, waist, hips, legs, knees, feet and full body workout that burns more calories than sex, and warms you twice, while you're making it and again when you burn it," she added.

"Experience that satisfying, invigorating, muscle-toning swing of the axe that splits a hunka wood in two, then again in four."

There's no downside; it's a, win-win deal. Especially when your husband and/or boyfriend knows from experience what thirsty work it is and thoughtfully ices down a 12-pack right next to the woodpile for you before he goes fishing. Or shows you what a romantic bugger he can be by surprising you with a new Husqvarna just in time for the fall firewood season. The going rate is about $150 a cord green, $200 dry; stack it so a chipmunk can run in and out for best drying.

"Every girl's dream," Amazing Grace sighed, rolling her eyes toward heaven, "but I'll stick with my trusty axe; it's been a good one too, all I ever needed for it was two new heads and three new handles."

The cacophony of chainsaws and splitters and the smell of sawdust and wood smoke are burned into the Yooper psyche, as much a part of our culture as saunas and smoked fish.

Many Yoopers measure their security and well-being by the size of their woodpiles and how many cords it'll take to heat the house and deer camp this winter.

"Everybody's got their deadlines and working on their winter wood," said Keweenaw woodsman Coyote Ted Tober.

"I'm glad I've got enough firewood to last me the resta the summer."

In other outdoor news, black bear and squirrel seasons open and early goose season closes today, and like the economy, the sand hill cranes are headed south, leaving the time-honored question that has stumped us for generations, "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" unanswered.

Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at jjunttila@



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