Saturday, August 3, 2013

Nothing in My Woodpile but Wood

 I spent four hours splitting firewood today.  The real purpose, of course, is to prepare for warming our house when it gets colder.  But I was driven by another motive.  I had my camera close by, and I was hoping that the splitting would release some interesting bugs - larvae of large Cerambycid beetles, or Wood Wasps, and maybe even a Black Widow Spider or two.  Nothing. 
 I saw a few ants crawling over my logs, but they had already been there before the wood was delivered.  I started to amuse myself with geometry games.  When I picked up a new round, I note the size and look at the cracks that were already there.  The wood splits easier if I hit an existing crack.  Also, it's fun to continually practice my aim, always trying for the minimum number of hits per round.  I also try to visualize in advance: will this one split four ways, five, six, seven, or....?  Then try
 to hit accurately enough to get the result I estimated.  While doing this wood splitting, I was taking a break from working on the Nature Literature course I'll be teaching this Fall.  It wasn't a total break as I found myself continually thinking about some of the literature I had chosen, what else I'll look for, and what kinds of essays I'll assign.  Restless mind.  Blessing or affliction?  Sometimes I wonder.
 I love comparing the aesthetics of uncut rounds with the stacked split wood.  It was time to pick up the camera, even though there were no bugs. 
 I think I've split about two cords.  I have at least one more to split, so there's still a chance that I'll have some entomological excitement.  I finished my day's work with a brief stroll into the woods across my driveway.  The green color was pleasing to the eye.  In this photo there are three kinds of plants that I can detect: Oregon Grape on the left, then mainly Thimbleberry with a few Trail Plant mixed in.  No berries though.
 A small bird's nest fell from a California Black Oak.  Only about 3 inches in diameter.  Cute.
 Here is an assortment of things fallen from the large trees along my driveway.  Douglas-fir cones, male and female.  A White Fir cone almost totally eaten.  Needles from both species of fir plus a few from Ponderosa Pine.  A small piece of Lichen.  What have I missed?

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