There are some things you just can't do any more.
My eco-wood arrived 2 days ago. Usually they truck it to the bottom of my hill and I help carry it in and stack it in the porch. This time the delivery man refused to bring it down the hill. He off-loaded the pallet beside my car. There are 39 steps down to my house and another 40 horizontal feet to the porch door. Each box weighs 35 pounds. There are 60 boxes on a pallet. That meant that I had over 1 ton of unwieldy weight to carry into the porch. If I were burning regular wood I could have carried it a few logs at a time from a wood pile, and I would have stored it outside. Eco-wood has to be stored indoors.
I was not happy with the new rules. Had I known this was going to happen I would have waited till the snow fell to order my wood so that I could use a sled to bring it down the hill. Or I would have considered an alternative to eco-wood.
Oh well, I thought stoically, I will just keep it wrapped in plastic and take it a few boxes at a time. We are supposed to have sunshine for the next few days. I'll carry about 20 boxes per day. I went over to the pottery to "break" my first three tiles for the bathroom, and, when I returned, started to transport the boxes to the porch.
I had a system.
I took the wheelbarrow to the top of the hill, unwrapped the plastic and put three boxes in the barrow. At the bottom of the hill just before the last set of steps I began the task of carrying each box into the porch. Because of the shape and weight, the only way to carry the boxes was straight out in front of me. I could feel the strain on my back almost immediately. By the time I got six boxes down to the porch, my back was screaming for mercy.
It was clear that I needed a new system.
I called Leonard and asked whether he could bring his fork lift over. The next day he manoeuvered the pallet down to the bottom of the hill for me. When I asked him how much I owed him, he said, "Well I didn't do much, you know." And finally, he said it would be $10. A good neighbour is a priceless gift.
That evening, Tammy and Carlos came for dinner. By the time they arrived I had managed to get 16 boxes into the porch. I had also discovered a better system. I could avoid carrying individual boxes down the stairs by using the sled and letting it careen down the slope to the gravel with its load of three boxes. That left only 30 feet to carry each one.
The three of us worked together and I got another few boxes stacked before my back gave out and Tammy sent me indoors. I retired to the kitchen to finish preparing the chicken dinner. They, god bless good friends with strong backs, finished carrying in the rest of the boxes. By the time they got to the end, the boxes had been feeding on their strength and now weighed 100 pounds each. How can I thank you, Tammy and Carlos? A chicken dinner is small recompense.
I am going to have to re-think my wood situation in the future. I need a system that will work without destroying backs. We can't do this every year.
As for the rest of this weekend, I am going to treat my back gently. I will busy myself with domestic duties instead of attempting jobs better suited to muscular young men. I will feed plants and maybe bring the lavender in to join the rosemary and parsley.
Maybe I will finally make the duvet cover I bought sheets for last year. Ever since Kenya decided that she likes to join me in bed at 5 a.m. my laundry has increased. It is her heavy shed time, and also the time when tenacious seeds with barbs hitchhike on her coat. Everything: hair, sand, and burrs, seems to end up between my sheets. I don't want to forbid her access to the bed because I get my soundest sleep of the night once she joins me.
It looks like a wonderful weekend for walks with the dog. A good weekend to relax at the lake.
Ever since the porcupine incident I take Kenya outside rather than letting her out, and as a result, I am discovering the night again.
This morning before light I took her out to pee and thought again how much I like darkness out here by the lake. Maybe we will spend some time this weekend exploring by flashlight.