For his whole life, my father Big Band Bob, has loved to spend time outdoors! He started out at Wolf acres, when he got out of the service, helping his sister Emma and her husband Ben to work on their wooded acres. They cleaned up scrub trees for the big campfire pit they had built of mortared stone, planted new stands of pine that now are a beautiful forest that we all enjoy, and just stacked, moved, cut, and burned wood!
Nowadays, I do the same- my acreage on Cowbell lane seems to constantly need a tree removed, cut up, and then I need to stack the wood. I have a wood furnace in the cellar, and I transport the wood with my trailer behind my tractor, and then throw it down through a cellar window for burning. It’s definitely hard physical work, but it is very satisfying, and real work, which is something most modern people don’t do anymore, to their detriment! We all require hard physical labor to fulfill and enrich our lives, both for the health of our bodies and our minds.
I got this from my dad. Where he started working with wood, he was cutting large trees and logs, cutting, splitting, stacking, and moving. Over the years, he has continued to do the same; the only difference is in the size of the wood.
I went to visit him on his 95th birthday, in fact we were all there! It was a nice party, outdoors in the big yard I remember so well, and he showed my his wood pile: where in the past it was large logs, and split logs, with a little small sticks for kindling, now it has shrunk. He still spends hours picking up wood from around his yard and it’s many trees, but now he picks up small sticks pretty much exclusively. He had paper bags, each meticulously filled with little twigs. These bags were stacked sideways, neatly and tidily as Big Band likes to keep everything; and the bags reached to the height of the garage!
He can take a couple of bags, put them into his fireplace or campfire pit, and he has an instant fire! After a bit, he adds a bigger log, and he’s all set; but usually, he is out to gather more to replace the bags he burnt. I am convinced he loves the gathering as much, or more than the burning.
This is what I mean about real work; the physical demands, geared of course to his age, has kept him fit and flexible well into his nineties, when most folks younger than him and my mom are in nursing homes. ‘The stairs are healthy, Mary!” is one of his favorite sayings, as he and my mother scamper upstairs to their bedroom of many, many years, even though they have a bedroom downstairs if they preferred to use that!