Homesteading is a surprisingly complex endeavor. You need an incredible amount of stuff to do the simplest tasks. There’s a lot to go wrong and always another delay or missing detail. But sometimes you’ve got it together and things get done. It’s important to keep those victories in your heart and enjoy their simple rewards.
Several years ago a windstorm knocked a huge spruce across my driveway. The obvious solution was to grab the chainsaw and clean up the mess. Alas, I didn’t own a chainsaw. (Shocking!) Of course, paying to have the tree removed was totally unacceptable! (If you’re asking why…you need to get out of the city more often.)
We spent weeks driving on the lawn to get around the mess. It took that long to save up for the saw. When the chainsaw fairy failed to come (sometimes wishes don’t come true) I ponied up our saved cash and bought a good new saw. The expense nearly killed me but it was an investment. It’s better to buy good equipment that’ll last a long time. (Also I’d wanted a new chainsaw for decades and I finally had one…sometimes wishes come true.)
The delay annoyed me. Many weeks passed before the driveway was opened. Longer before I cleared the branches and stump from the lawn. I considered it a failure.
A year later a couple Aspen trees fell in my lawn. This time I was better prepared. My saw was gassed, sharp, and ready. My shiny new wood splitter was ready for some work. The weather was clear. My schedule was miraculously free by the weekend. The trees fell on a Monday night. By the following Monday they were cut, split, and stacked. The lawn was also cleared, raked clean, and freshly mowed. (Unlike this year when the mower is dead.) The trees were heating my house by Christmas. I consider that a success.
From lemons…lemonade. Sometimes it works!
Fast forward to this year. A storm brought down a bunch of trees in a nearby town. A friend asked if I could help. Oh boy! An emergency! I was like a Labrador Retriever about to fetch a ball! Guys like me live for helping out! I was prepared to saddle up and help clear the debris from catastrophe, save kittens, and maybe build an orphanage with the wood.
But it turns out that it’s not an emergency at all. I’m just known as a guy who’ll happily chase firewood. Either that or I’ve got such a sparkling personality that people want me around. Personally, I’m betting on the part about being a wood scrounger.
The schedule got delayed but that’s ok. It’s not urgent. I’ll still wind up clearing debris and using it to heat the house. I’ll work for free and do it with a smile. Win for the homeowner, win for the wood stove.
I was pondering this while I stumbled across a wonderful quote:
The quote goes to a story about a big storm with terribly disrupted lives. Nothing like my situation. I’m only cleaning up after a small storm. A basic redneck neighborly thing to do. Still…I’m on the right team.
In a world full of clipboard wielding pseudo-managers, I’m delighted to be the guy with the saw.