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October 2008
Aspects of Autumn in Ontario

Autumn is a lovely time of the year in Harcourt Park. The trees have dropped a lot of leaves by mid-September, allowing one to see a great distance into the woods - even if only driving (or better yet, walking) along the roads. We (Paul and Kitty Antonik Wakfer) did lots of blackberry picking in September (some new areas than previous years to take advantage of differing ripening times), but by early October the pickings were very slim. Time mostly for enjoying scenery, keeping warm with fire wood, continuing our online productive efforts and preparing for our yearly migration south.

Paul cheerfully begins task of pallet making A trip to the brush dump brought us discarded pallets Good that the drive was less than 2 miles for this collectionPaul 'walks' a round slightly downhill for choppingVery first bunch of chopping is lots of workWith the 4 newly felled trees (a 4th was done by the Cooney crew after the 3 shown previously), we had plenty of potential firewood. The need to get much of it cut and stacked was a pressing one since the temperatures were getting lower during day as well as at night.

Little Straggle, mid-morning on Oct 7 2009 from our front windowsThe lake is especially beautiful when the water is undisturbed - something that may not last if there are boaters readying their crafts for fishing, exploring (canoers and kayakers) or just plain toodling. So snapping a photo early - in this case from inside soon after our usual mid-morning arising - was the best course.

Nothing like that first cup of tea (green/rooibos/hibiscus of course) Paul is the official fire tenderSunlight fills the living room for Paul's fire tending and tea drinking - a really comfy combination.
Paul enjoys the view with another cup of teaThe inverted tree color reflections in the glass-like waterUnoccupied end of Little Straggle in the distance, extends behind point on leftEven though it was nearing mid-afternoon, the Autumn sun is lower in the sky than in summer and the deck gets less direct sun. But the day has seen no human activity on lake and the distant shores reflect in the glass-like surface.

Paul sets himself up for first swingCompletion of 2nd swing3rd swing at its heightLast of splitting of 1st roundA new heavier and more wedged "splitting" axe was purchased after the first cutting shown above. The difference was considerable in how much faster Paul could split rounds from the downed trees. The first one took only about 2 minutes and he got better with practice.

Efficient storage requires a methodOK, Kitty. Pay attention so you can do this right.Paul really enjoys 'packing' problemsMuch of the wood from the cut dead trees needed drying before it would make a good fire in our stove and storage was necessary for all of it.

Splitting in actionYes, this is fun...even if my left shin is a bit sorePaul is sporting shin guards - second-hand kid size doubled up - after a split piece ricocheted off his left shin a couple days before. His initial thought was to wear them all the time while chopping, but he discarded them a few days later when the moderate swelling had disappeared.

Paul poses with rolled trunk in position to complete the sawingPaul saws on the first round - the uphill end is slightly off the groundPaul proudly poses after cutting of the 2nd round is completed - all manually And some people pay fitness clubs to make them fit!!The trunk needed to be cut into rounds the height of which could fit the width of our wood burning stove. Only then could Paul split them into the desirable thickness. We had a calibrated wood length that we used to mark the trunk and then proceeded to cut most of the way through at each location with one of our 2 large bow saws - taking turns for the upper body exercise opportunity :>) Then the log was rolled over to complete the cuts.

Second swing on round #22nd swing connects; results of round#1 in foregroundTop of swing #?.. count the splitsLast for that round...except for the fine splittingPaul steadies a larger split in need of some reducingHere it comes!Transforming the rounds into split pieces was done in pretty short order. Kitty did some too, but found the heavy splitting axe was a considerable weight to swing.

It's definitely a red fox Busy at something (?the friendly chipmunk?) in one of several small burrowsRed fox moves up our neighbor's front yardIt was nearing 4pm on 10/27, just a few days before our departure for Arizona, that while working on our computers situated in front of our enlarged window facing the woods (and road beyond) both of us caught a glimpse of a moderate sized light colored animal moving towards the north. We quickly headed to the kitchen window and watched a red fox as it busily nosed around a burrow. (Our suspicions that it got the chipmunk that roamed our property seems warranted because we've not seen any chipmunks as of the creation date of this page.) The fox then headed back south proceeding along the front of the cottage to our neighbor's property, after which it then disappeared from view. (On the 2nd and 3rd pictures, Kitty was so excited - and also on the quiet move with the last - that she failed to hold her camera still.)

Paul even has a farmer's tan & note the pedometer on his beltThat's quite a set of back muscles for a 70 year old purposely calorie restricted manTwo of the last planned photos Kitty took are these of Paul on October 28 2008, for the purpose of recording his upper body musculature - as a result of all that wood sawing and chopping while on a nutrient dense restricted calorie diet. His legs are equally well muscled, also without any excess fat.

Yes, that's -5C on the thermometer and the lake looks mighty chillyWednesday October 29 was a mighty cold day - -5C at 8:30 in the morning and it hovered around freezing the entire day.
Fall of ladder from heavy winds resulted in dent in hood on driver's sideThe night before had been a windy one - see the new dent in the car from the ladder that had been left up (Paul cleaned out the gutters) and was blown over.
Heavy winter jacket - with the hood tied tightly - enabled Paul to get some work done Getting all that wood tarp-coveredKitty got out to help after this pic - and it was cold! The winds, though lighter than the night before, continued through the day, making the final work on the wood pile not too much fun. Departure for Arizona was looking mighty good that day.


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Initially posted 5/25/2009
Page last updated 5/25/2009
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