Wood day comes around once a year. It is a day of controlled chaos, which produces–almost as Rumpelstiltskin–the material needed to heat our home for another year. The logs are dropped off earlier in the year by a logging truck–literally taken with a claw and stacked in a pile in the back yard. There they sit like an intimidating mountain and wait until wood day.
From delivery of the logs (big truck! Claw arm!) to the frenzy of log bucking and splitting, the whole process is a dream come true for my little boys. It is a process all about tools, equipment, and strength–a triumvirate they aim to posses in ever greater measure, every year. My oldest, Tadhg, is four, but he was anticipating wood day well in advance. On his own initiative he started cleaning off the floor of the wood shed, shoveling and sweeping away debris and woods scraps. He was exceedingly proud of himself, and terribly cute in the earnestness of his work.
The wood day this year arrived cool and damp, low gray clouds hinting at a threat of rain. The first of the help arrived earlier than expected which made the start even more confused and disorganized than it otherwise would have been. But soon enough we had three chainsaws up and running, and even more splitting mauls in action. All together, this meant there was a lot of noise, a lot of action, and a lot of wood chunks flying about.
The boys were in the thick of it. Much to their dismay they are not big enough (or strong enough) to use a splitting maul. However, Tadhg does have the strength to maneuver an undersized wheelbarrow. Whenever he could, he made it his job to transport wood in the wheelbarrow. The adults graciously allowed him, even though they could have loaded up the wheelbarrow with more. Tadhg clearly felt very important.
Both of the boys were a real help. Even at four and three they are strong enough to pick up wood chunks and they put their heart into it. They were determined to be hard workers. I was impressed by them, and proud of them. Pip took some breaks in the course of the day, but Tadhg, (though he started to flag as the day lengthened) stayed outside for the entire project. For a boy of four years, six hours requires some endurance.
Late in the wood splitting, a gas powered pneumatic splitter was also put into action. I knew this would be a fascination for the boys because you use a lever to make the splitting wedge move up and down. As just about anyone knows, little boys (and some very big boys) think that levers which move things are really cool. So I gave permission that under supervision they were allowed to operate the lever. They only just had enough strength to move the lever position from forward to reverse, but they helped.
I like to imagine they made some good memories.