It has been a long winter – which is an overstatement of the obvious. We have an outdoor woodstove, which is most ways is wonderful. In this weather, the down side of the toasty warm house is having to fill the stove multiple times per day. We have plenty of firewood, which is split by my husband or the two eighteen year old boys that work for him. While I am probably stronger than your average female, I am not as strong as the three of them.
The other night I went to fill the stove on my way down from the barn to the house. It is dark, cold, icy and much of the wood pile is frozen or buried in snow. The few pieces I could find and dislodge were all behemoth chunks of a tree trunk. It had already been a long day with everything freezing including most of the water hydrants so everything required more manual labor than usual. I did not want to be climbing on the woodpile searching for smaller pieces I could break loose. So in a fit of stubbornness, I went for one of the tree trunk sections. I got it rolled over by the stove door, eyeballing the diameter of the chunk of wood and the size of the opening for the stove. I felt reasonable confident I could shove that chunk into the furnace. So, I crouched down and performed what can only really be described as a “clean and jerk” like a power lifter. I had underestimated either my balance or the weight of the log, so ended up stumbling back a step or two. With a deep breath and a feminine grunt, I heaved the log into the stove.
Sometimes when things happen very quickly, its seems like time slows down as your brain rapid fire processes the consequences of your actions. If you have ever been “lawn-darted” off your horse, you know just how much thinking can happen in that millisecond between departure from the horse and impact with the ground. I had given a mighty heave to launch the wood into the stove. However, as I watched, the log hit the edge of the stove door and ricocheted back into my still outstretched hand and then driving me backwards into the wood pile with the same gusto I had launched the log. For a moment I was convinced I had broken a fingertip – upon closer inspection I had just broken a nail. At that point, I picked myself up, dusted myself up, ran up the figurative white flag, ripped my bewildered husband a new one and sent him off to fill the stove himself because on what planet should I be expected to lift that S*&^! Two high school seniors received a more cleanly worded though equally intense lecture on the same subject the next day.