This Season’s Firewood is Done!

Back on August 5th, Foster’s Tree Service came in and put 8 trees on the ground for me (for a price), but they were trees that I wasn’t comfortable putting down by myself (too close to the house, garage or electrical lines) and needed to go away.

My The Trees Are Down – The Work Begins post talked (whined) about making these trees into firewood.  Well today – mission accomplished all 8 of those trees are cut, chipped and split and are now considered firewood.  I wouldn’t want to burn them yet, they are still a lot green, but this is next Spring’s burning supply, so there should be plenty of time to season by then. I already have enough already seasoned to get us to the cold time.

What was left to split – about an hour and a half’s work. It was the twisted nasty stuff that all too often needs to be split with sledge and wedges or way too many wacks with the splitting maul.

Casualty of splitting wood.  I use the sledge and two wedges for the pieces that are too tough or twisted for the splitting maul.  After using it for about an hour I hit the wedge and the handle cracked (no I didn’t miss), it was an old sledge that I haven’t really taken care of since I moved in and it had at least 15 years of neglect before that I am told.

When it broke today, I wasn’t really surprised, but I was glad that I noticed the crack, before it broke. Otherwise – ouch. After I noticed the crack, I thumped it a couple of times with the splitting maul just to ensure I didn’t use it again.  Guess this means a trip to the local Tractor Supply or Blake’s Hardware to either get a new handle or new sledge hammer.

The completed wood pile, chainsaw cut, but all hand split.

I now have enough wood to easily get through a normal winter and will relocate these and the other wood piles to the shed and garage in late October.  September will be about cutting down more trees and getting wood ahead for the following winter.  My plan is to get a year’s worth of wood ahead and let it season a year, before I have to use it.

Hopefully all this work pays off and helps to reduce the amount of oil that we will need to burn this winter.  It should be a lot more than last year which was our best year yet, with both of us home everyday now.

Nice plan, now to make it work.

More Sabbatical Than Semi-Retirement

Originally at Simple is Working – 8/17/11

Today is August 17th, a day that I have looked forward to, but in some ways I have dreaded this day coming.
It is the effective date of my resignation as a teacher.

Today is the day that I actually start that new adventure, a life where I am not “gainfully employed” by anyone or need to be addressed by the title of Mr. Shaw anymore.  To be honest this lack of employment is a liberating feeling, but at the same time a little scary, because of the “unknowns” that it brings into my well-ordered and organized life.

While I have called this period that I am entering into today as semi-retirement, it really is not. Looking at it – I think that it is more accurate to call the next year (at least) – a sabbatical that might lead to semi-retirement.

Sabbatical as defined by Dictionary.com is:  any extended period of leave from one’s extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest,  to acquire new skills or training, etc.

I believe that sabbatical definitely describes my plans for the next year better rather than semi-retirement.  It will be a time to rest, work on getting in shape, explore the direction of my life and learn new skills that I can use either as an educator or in other endeavors that interest me.

During this sabbatical I plan to improve my skills as a teacher, who used technology extensively in his classroom and stay current as a special educator, while not being immersed in the teaching lifestyle 24/7 when school is in session (yes being an educator is a lifestyle). If I decide to go back to the classroom, after the year is over, I will be ready – if the opportunity is right for me.

If at the end of the year I don’t return to the classroom and choose a different direction that will be good too, I am not going to worry about that right now.  For the present I will take it a day at a time, pick up new skills that interest me and enjoy the life in front of me.

Then again you never know what kind of opportunity may present itself during the course of the next year or if someone makes me an “offer that I can’t refuse”.

Either way I am sure that my sabbatical will prove to be an interesting year and that I will learn a lot about myself and many of other interests that I have.

I know that I am looking forward to it, well errr mostly – can I take another look at that honey-doo list 🙂

One thing I am doing is enjoying my life much more.