Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Friday, July 15, 2005

"I love the smell of napalm birch in the morning . . . smells like victory." -Lt. Col. Robert Duvall

The pile that you see above isn't sticks. It's real. It's wood. It's four cords of real wood that we got in one weekend. The Boy is standing next to the wood, for scale. As he is over six feet tall at nearly five years old (I think that's 7 metric years), you can see indeed that this a great gob of wood.

Most of it is birch (yes, that's spelled right), and I pulled out my calculator and trusty Alaskan Wood Thermal Output Guide and calculated that this is equal to a whole bunch. Over 12,000 pounds, gotten with just a chainsaw, grit, determination, my pickup, a trailer, The Mrs., and A Visiting Relative. I would count The Boy as helping, but while he contributed, three random sticks doesn't quite make the hall of fame.

Nearly 81,000,000 Btu's (that's three bazillion dyne-centimeters, the oh-so-useful metric measure of heat). A Btu is a British thermal unit, which is the heat energy required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. This is nearly enough wood to heat up enough water to wash Courtney Love squeeky clean, but only half as much as we'll need for heating our house this winter.

(An aside, what does Courtney Love bathe in now? Ham?)

What amazes me, though, is The Mrs.

She is a woman of iron.

What would make me say this? She carried more than a third of said wood (remember, estimated wood in excess of 12,000 pounds). And she had a c-section nine weeks ago. Let me repeat that: major baby pulling out surgery nine weeks ago.

I've posted the picture below before:

Now, though, I'm officially scared. If she has acquired some sort of super-hero like healing ability plus super strength, how much longer is my position in the house secure?

She cooks better than I do, she cleans better than I do (not to mention frequency of said cleaning), and she's also refinished an entire dresser since she's been out of the hospital. Now, she's lifting heavy things.

You see, I at least used to have the monopoly on that one, lifting heavy things. But, this move to the higher latitude of Fairbanks seems to have pulled out some long-dormant quasi-Arctic Norse Valkyr gene (previous post). I went to Dictionary.com and looked Valkyr up, just to make sure I got the spelling right:
Valkyr: (pronounced: The Mrs.) One of the maidens of Odin, represented as awful and beautiful, who presided over battle and marked out those who were to be slain, and who also ministered at the feasts of heroes in Valhalla.
This brings up several questions:
  • Is my father-in-law Odin?
  • Does this mean my cabin is Valhalla?
  • Will my insurance company cover damage caused when Thor and Frejya get into a domestic dispute? Or are those excluded under the "acts of Gods" clause?
  • Should I worry about her marking "slay this one" on my forehead as I sleep with a Sharpie?
  • If The Mrs. ministers at feasts, can she perform marriages?
  • Will Frank Frazetta have to do our family portraits? (a good link to get in the spirit)
  • And, most importantly, will some German write a fifty-hour long opera about us?
Well, on further reflection, she might not be a god, but she is heaven sent. And, Alaska tough. Dang, The Mrs. does need that bumper sticker.


Blogger GoGo said...

I herd something about Alaska Women.

This is NOT IN ANYWAY a reference or hint towards your wife.

True or false. The men are men in Alaska, and the women are men to!

Are they all big and burley?
-They being the single available ones-
Im curious.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

So how does this work? You stick one of those big logs in the fireplace every day? A-tree-a-day system? Seems like you are setting up for a long, cold winter.

4:39 AM  
Blogger John said...

There are some tough hombre women up here. Many (seriously) pack things like .454 caliber handguns when hiking. I've had conversations with 5'2" 120 lb ladies about what's the best handgun to have in bear country.

As in most places, they range from A to Z. I would say, though, they're on average more than a bit thinner than the Midwestern ladies, though I would say tougher and more practical (and from the Midwest, that says a LOT). Not many designer clothes outlets up here.

My wife is very female, but tougher than lots of guys I know.

-50 is about two wheelbarrow loads a day of the stuff. That'll keep the house part that we live in a range of 55-68 during the winter. The basement gets cold. Very cold.
0 is about one wheelbarrow load a day.
20 is one every other day or so.
It takes A LOT of wood, since I expect to burn it from September through May.

6:18 PM  
Blogger GoGo said...

If i come visit are you up for a beer?!?

Among thine ladies of which ye speak?

6:23 PM  
Blogger John said...

If you're in town, I'm buying, but I know very few of the single ladies. And, if The Mrs. is listening, (to quote Red Green) I'll be home after the meeting.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

55-68 is my outside temp in the winter, and I consider that cold. Every time I start thinking about visiting Alaska, the reality stops me cold.

7:49 PM  
Blogger DogMom said...

This is highly entertaining, a right fun read, I must say! Kudos!

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The enormous Wagnerian orchetra blasting "Ride of the Valkyries" that follows The Mrs. everywhere she goes must have been fun at first, but it's probably a little irritating now. You don't have to feed them all, do you?

4:13 AM  
Blogger John said...

Yeah, but it's a dry cold. The Mrs. and I got used to it pretty quickly. Though, she is tough.


Yeah, gotta feed them. But, we gave them a bow, arrows, and now they live off the moose. The worst part though is the armor and winged helm. Now those are *difficult* to get through a TSA screening at the airport.

10:45 AM  
Blogger the Witch said...

She can pick paint colors and haul a chord o'wood? Whatta woman! You do appreciate this rare bird, don't you John?

3:31 PM  
Blogger John said...

the witch,
I completely and utterly appreciate her.

9:35 PM  

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