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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Location: United States

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Millions have died, but our troops have advanced no further than an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping." -Blackadder, Blackadder IV

The picture above was what I saw when I cut into a nice birch tree. I thought it looked a bit like a rose. Makes me want to cut up other natural things and look for beauty.

We spent the last few days in a haze of wood gathering. Whenever we do that, I always feel like an ant. Gathering wood involves picking a piece of wood up, walking to the pickup and dumping it in, then walking back to the spot you picked the first piece up to pick up a second. Fortunately, ants don’t have chainsaws, or else they’d be the most frightening things on Earth, even if the chainsaws were itsy-bitsy. They’d be scary because there are so many of them.

“Arrgh, I’m covered with ants! And they all have tiny chainsaws!”

The Mrs. spends these interludes in thoughts involving intricate points of the plot of her novel, how to make the characters more real, more vivid, how to make them jump from the page and really say something. Me, I wonder what ants would do if they had chainsaws. Where would they buy the gas?

Regardless, we worked. The Mrs. loaded smaller pieces of wood and put them into the pickup while I picked up gargantuan hunks of wood that were big enough for the fireplace at Valhalla (which, given that it’s Odin’s place, must have a heckuva big fireplace) and put them on our trailer. Let’s just put it this way – the big cabers that they toss in the Highlands games are tiny in comparison to the massive tree hunks I was loading onto my trailer. By the time we were done loading, The Mrs. had a nice, neat load of cut wood in the truck. I had a load of logs in the trailer that made the tires of the trailer look like a distressed balloon wiener dog in the hands of a two-year-old.

All this time I was armed, and not just with a chainsaw (when is the last time you thought that being armed with a chainsaw might be inadequate?). I had a .45 Ruger semiauto with full-metal-jacket slugs on my hip the whole time, and a spare magazine in my pocket. Why? Bears. They might take my chainsaw and beat me senseless with it, and that would just be embarrassing.

In actuality, getting wood where we were, five miles from the nearest road, and a dozen from the nearest house, I’m not that comfortable that a grizzly bear that happened upon us would just sit and wait while I used the pull-start a dozen or so times (while fiddling with the choke) on the chainsaw so I could fire it up and then take him on like Ashe from Evil Dead 2 or, better yet, Army of Darkness. I prefer the boomstick.

A side note: I have a signed Bruce Campbell (star of Evil Dead, etc.) book that my buddy bought me. Bruce Campbell rules.

I had the pistol on my hip to protect the family. This is what Alaskans call “Family Values.” I can’t really imagine living in places where this is illegal. It boggles™ my mind. While I was armed I was not scared I was going to hurt myself.

I said to The Mrs., “I’m glad I brought the pistol.” Maybe she was scared I had a shootin’ iron on my belt.

She looked around at the low brush, the dense forest cover. She knows bear country. “Me too.”

The Boy didn’t seem to care, since he had taken the whole wood gathering expedition as a reason to cover himself in mud by smearing it all over his body, including his hair. The New Boy didn’t seem to care, either, as long as he was being fed. I’m not sensing a strong gun control crowd in our house, unless it means hitting the bear that’s running at us with as many bullets as we have, then reloading and repeating, and starting the chainsaw if necessary.

We loaded up and made the main highway. The Mrs. followed along

Since I was carrying 6.02x10²³ pounds (eleventymillion kilograms) of wood, I tried to keep the speed slow on the hills, so the pickup didn’t turn into a smear of hot metal on some rocks. I did this because the kinetic energy of a pickup full of wood can be expressed as ½ the mass of the pickup times the velocity squared, assuming that I kept the pickup somewhere below, say, 25% the speed of light. Notice that it’s the velocity squared that’s the important part of that equation. 80 mph isn’t twice as bad as 40 mph, it’s four times worse.

I think that my management of kinetic energy made the 17 cars behind me (32 metric cars) a bit upset. When they passed me, many of them had California plates, so I didn’t feel so bad. Californians are used to traffic jams, right? I thought briefly of brandishing the gun at them so that they’d feel even more at home, but felt that the traffic jam was enough.

Just doing my part to make tourists feel at home. Oh, and keep warm in the winter.


Blogger Joann said...

Traffic jam was enough. One of my new goals in life is to live in a one stop sign town. It took over the goal in life spot that I had been saving for my own bathroom.

8:35 PM  
Blogger SusanE said...

Tourists.... maybe they come to my town in droves so that I can experience a little bit of California without even having to leave town.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a transplant Californian, I hope you had the decency to play Rap music loudly on the truck stereo with the windows open. This would complete the feeling for those homesick Californians behind you. I don't suppose any of them drove a car with a bumper sticker that said "zero emmissions" did they? I am still trying to figure that one out.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Oh, so YOU are the reason that Californians who visit Alaska come back and complain that the natives drive so slow :)

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the picture. I'm sure it's one of those roschach test thingys they sell on e-bay. Like, if you turn your head to the left it's the pope wearing a bobbies helmet. An aside...I thought Alaska had a law about having to pull over if too many cars are lined up behind you. Is that true?

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alask...can't say I've ever been.
However, I hear they got a great college baseball league up there.


7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CWH, this is one good way to get a no emissions car:


see also, http://www.terrapass.com

1:56 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hmm, "stop sign" . . . I'll have to look that up and see what that means.
(after checking)
NO! Coming to a complete stop? Why wouldn't you just be polite????

Yup. Doing their part to spread congestion throughout the known world!

Zero . . . what? I'm guessing that would indicate that the car defies thermodynamics! You Californians have it together!!!

Yup, that's me!

I believe so. I pulled over when there was a shoulder to do so. Besides, The Mrs. was immediately behind me. She says I slow her up all the time, anyways.

I think so, but our hockey's better.

Does that mean I have to build a windfarm? Would it be okay if I just killed some trees later? (Latest article I read says that trees are bad because they're darker than snow)

9:48 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Well it is after 2 in the Morning,(thats 0200in metric)and my son has come down the stairs lookin at me queer as I am laughing my silly little head off readin all the posts I rolled from your blog.
There are days that one person's journals will tickle my funnybone and I am off for a good belly laugh for a good half hour. Problem is I am one of those laughers that bounce up and down at the shoulders. The vibration starts to knock things off my desk!
Thanks for the Wee hours giggle.
From the land of Metric and Coloured Money. :)

10:20 PM  
Blogger GoGo said...

You should talk to the bears. And name them!

Like Grizzly Man! Have you seen that movie yet?

9:57 AM  

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