Well we still burn wood the “old fashioned” way at May Farms. No switches, no space heaters… we chop our wood and burn it through out the winter in our fireplace. As kids I think we all remember my dad having us take turns sitting in front of the fire and then laying next to him as “portable space heaters”. When we cooled off he’d send us back and it was the next kids turn. I remember dad building a fire and bragging about the picturesque quality of his work. “This fire looks like it should be on a movie! You kids see that? THAT is how you build a fire!” There was no mistaking we burnt wood to heat our home as you could smell it as you pulled up our long driveway. Our clothes and hair gave away the fact that we had a wood burning fire place as well. As we got older we were lovingly teased by our friends at school who told us we smelled like “camp fire” or “bacon”.
Every winter my dad would wrangle my two sisters, brother and I on a usually sunny day over winter break and we would head to the creek bottom with our little Jeep pick-up pulling the blue wood splitter dad bought at an auction and a large dump truck that BARELY fit underneath the tunnel. Literally inches separated the wobbly red walls of the old truck and the solid cement ceiling of the tunnel that connected us to the North side of our farm under Interstate -70. On our bumpy ride over to the creek he would ramble on about how “these are the best years of your life! You will look back on these days with fond memories!” How I wanted to believe him, and how I feared for the quality of the rest of my life if this was truly the “BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE?!”
No matter the weather we would always end up in t-shirts as the work was hard and the company was great. Even the winter sun in Colorado can feel like a spring day in May. My little sister was in charge of dragging smaller logs over to my dad who would be manning the chain saw. My brother would help him handle the larger pieces and keep the wood steady, moving it forward as my dad would make slices every couple of feet. Just wide enough to fit easily in to the fireplace. As my brother got older, my dad would take pride in supervising him with the chain saw…. obviously a passage to manhood. My older sister and I would split the wood and throw it in to the back of the dump truck. As the load grew and grew we anxiously awaited for our dad to tell us that we had done enough,we knew much higher and we wouldn’t fit through the tunnel! The “POP” of the wood splitter after it had shut completely off was a beautiful sound signifying we had put in a HARD days work. Dad always seem to know exactly how high he could get the pile and still fit under the tunnel. . . it was always higher than any of us would dare to go, or want to go, but then … “Alright girls! Shut it off…” ……”POP!!!!” Ahhh at last, the work was done. The silence seemed deafening as we had become used to the humming and vibration from the splitter and chain saw.
We laughed the entire way home. We had a hot lunch and relaxed by the roaring fire. Our muscles ached and we were proud of the splinters and scratches we acquired at “war” knowing it was proof of our accomplishment.
Today when I hug my parents between the months of November and March I always breathe in the smell of my childhood. To me it smells of good memories and hard work. I breathe in a reminder of some of the “best days of my life.” My hope is to one day provide opportunities like this to my son… an opportunity to know the meaning of hard work, contributing a long side your brothers and sisters and know what it means to be a family, beacause that is what it’s all about.
We hope you join us next time we have a wood haul… who knows, you might walk away with some fond memories! Here are a couple pictures from last weeks haul! Thanks to those who helped out this year!