I’ve Gotta Split
By John R. Greenwood
“I’ve gotta split” has a different connotation for me in 2023 than in the 1960s. In the 60s, it meant you had to leave. In April 2023, it means attempting something I’ve never done before.
We recently had two large maple trees in our yard taken down. Although they still had a little life left in them, they’d both become safety concerns. I called our old high school friend Tom at Tom Mullens Tree Service. Domiciled just a few miles away, Tom’s business is as local as they come. Within days the maples were down and sliced into big old rounds. The larger limbs were cut into manageable-length logs that could be cut up later.
We don’t burn firewood ourselves, but I have a friend who uses it to supplement his home heating. The pain of losing two trees was eased by knowing it was going to a good home where it “wood” be loved and appreciated.
With the help of my neighbor Jose and his son Harper, we were able to manhandle the heaviest rounds, move them from my front yard to the backyard, and line them up along the edge of my driveway. There they would await back-recuperation and warmer weather. Because the rounds were much too heavy to lift onto my pickup, I now had to figure out how to load them or reduce them to a size that made them easier to handle.
This is where my “Bucket List” comes into play. Mine is a little different than the more traditional list. Rather than one that includes traveling to foreign countries, visiting the Grand Canyon, or parachuting from an airplane, mine has things like rebuilding a carburetor, tiling a bathroom, and splitting firewood. I recently admitted to my friend and firewood aficionado, Chris Leske, that I’d never split firewood. His eyes widened, and his response instantly bumped splitting firewood from #7 to #1 on my average-man bucket list.
I soon learned that all wood is not created equal and that those rounds in my yard were actually granite slabs carved to look like maple. If you’re planning to cut your wood-splitting teeth you may as well start with the densest material known to man. Anything I attempt to split after this wedge-resilient beast will be like slicing a cheese round with a hatchet. Why not start at the top and work your way downhill.
My maiden voyage splitting wood at the age of 67.75 was both exhilarating and rewarding. I improved with each swing. My confidence and country boy street cred inched up a notch, and with each popped hunk of maple-rock, my smile widened. My back was not that impressed.
You’ll never know if you don’t try. If you succeed, it encourages you to move on to another challenge, another
Thanks for stopping by.
Now, I've gotta split.