Big score today. . .

It’s been colder that the proverbial part of the witch’s anatomy today. I don’t think it got above 34 degrees. The frost on the meadow hadn’t thawed as of 2 p.m. At least we didn’t have the two inches of ice I saw at the Robeson’s. . .

But just after lunch, Ben drove down river to try to contact a logger friend. There are three BIG fir trees down at the little cabin across the river, and he was hoping to get the use of a skidder to get some of them out of there. No Fred to be found, and Mike was working on his mother’s roof, and Ben came back. But he went up river first.

“I found a big cherry tree down,” he said. “I brought a few rounds that someone left when they ran out of room, but there’s a lot more.” You probably need to know that cherry wood is the Cadillac, the diamond, of firewood. It burns incredibly hot, so you can use it to jack up the temperature and then put in very small pieces to maintain. In short, a perfect wood for baking.

“Can I help you get some?” I asked. And of course, the answer was yes. We took the little Husquie chainsaw and the truck. The tree was wonderful, and we filled the back with rounds. They’re now down in the meadow awaiting splitting.

Like many things in life, cherry wood’s value is equalled by the effort it takes to make it work. The bark grows around the tree instead of up and down, so if you don’t score it with a chain saw, it’s almost impossible to split. But it’s so fine. My guys know how I feel about it and will go to almost any lengths to ensure that I have cherry wood. All I have to deliver in return is baked goods.

This morning, in a fit of something, I made a wonderful quiche–Virginia-style ham, sauteed onions, and Gruyere cheese. That was even before the cherry wood. Ben had suggestions for improvements he would like to see, equaling real success. He had two servings and wanted more. Proving that despite rumors to the contrary, real men DO eat quiche.

The power company has advised that it may be as much as a week before the power, already out for four days, will be restored. There are about 5 miles of lines down. The substation at Elk City is non-functional. As you may remember, however, we’re not on the grid, so except for the fact that our neighbor’s still need the generator from the laundry room, we’re really not affected. My DSL is working just fine, thank you, because the phone company has wonderful backup generators.

Life on the Big Elk is terrific today. The fog is rising, so I have hopes that we’ll get the preferred of our winter options–we can have warm and wet, or clear and cold. I’m ready for a little more warmth. But I have a great new supply of cherry wood to bake with.

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