illness after peak cold
Saturday, January 24 2009
Peak oil, peak credit, peak residential housing value; the peaks come and go as we ride the peaks down into a complexity-scarce neo-iron age. There are, however, peaks of a more cyclical nature, not all of which are terrifying to behold. Yesterday was such a peak, the day of statistical peak cold for the 12443 zipcode. If I'd had the woodshed filled in September and it was half-full today and I'd added none to it along the way, it would mean the woodshed is adequately-sized for this climate and that I'd been adequately antlike (as opposed to grasshopperlike) in my firewood gathering. None of those conditions exist, of course. The woodshed was never full because I'd kicked the can of wood gathering down the road as my greenhouse project stretched through the autumn. And I've had to add plenty of wood along the way, much of it too green to be usable. And I've had more than one chainsaw crisis. Now the woodshed stands at about a third full, and about half of that can't be used until next season. It's good that I've developed lots of just-in-time firewood gathering skills.
Unfortunately, though, today I fell conclusively ill with whatever sickness is floating around this season. My nose began running profusely and I started experiencing aches in my joints. My skin also became unusually sensitive, abraided to soreness by my clothes alone. Meanwhile Gretchen alternated between the bed and the couch.
The weather was still relatively mild, so despite my condition I decided to take advantage of it. I went down the Stick Trail with my chainsaw and felled a mid-sized Chestnut Oak. It had been dead so long that all its branches had fallen off and it was like a telephone pole. A good fraction of its wood had rotted into a lightweight fibrous material (which I've found to be an acceptable stove fuel so long as it is dry). The best thing about standing dead oak is that it is drier than just about any other natural-occurring fuel in the forest.
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