the Wood Man Cometh
You guys, we’re in March. You know
what that means, don’t you? We’re finally in
the home stretch of winter. I’m not going to Florida
this year, so like the rest of us, I’m anxiously awaiting
And what a winter it’s been. I think
we burnt more wood than in any other year. The house is
literally surrounded by a wall of snow. Lucky for us, we
have an excellent supplier of fire wood.
His name is Al Gessinger, and he wears many
hats. Al runs the Arctic Circle cross country ski center,
teaches art at our local community college and tends bar
at Rainbow Restaurant in Johnstown, New York. All that,
and he cuts, splits delivers and stacks our firewood. Oh
yeah, and he plows snow as well. Talk about a split personality.
Or at the very least, someone who’s greatly in need
of a good night’s sleep.
Now, we notify Al of our need for more wood
through his and our friend Barb, via email. I wonder how
many people in this county order firewood via email? I think
it’s pretty neat.
I know I’ve only been here for about
eight winters, but this seems like one of the coldest ever.
Hence the need for all the wood.
I’m relatively new to wood heat. But,
like so many that are used to it, I’m now fond of
saying, “There’s nothing like wood heat.”
And in truth there’s not. Our main source of heat
is a gas fireplace with a visible flame. We got the wood
stove for supplemental heat. But in a winter such as this
has been, the wood heat is almost primary. And there’s
really nothing like sitting in front of an open fire.
This was perhaps my favorite thing when
I used to downhill ski. Sitting in the lodge in front of
a roaring fire. Some would say, “Isn’t a wood
fire a lot of work? You constantly have to poke and prod
to get it just right.” But that’s the charm
of it. It’s always changing and you can shape the
size and type of flame you get.
When Herman’s off at work all day,
my aide Terry tends to the fire. And she’s really
good at it. I’ve learned that there’s more than
one way to build a fire and tend a fire. Herman and Terry
each have there own ways of doing this. I’m not saying
that one is better than the other, but they do differ.
Terry is much more apt to make a fire that
is visually beautiful, whereas Herman focuses more on function.
But as I said before, one is not better than the other.
I focus on sitting in front of the open stove and soaking
it in. When I can’t soak in the sun, I can bask in
Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career
in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from
Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be
accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"