My Summer Project – Firewood

I don’t even have a fireplace or wood stove.  What I do have is a yard full of sliced up giant oak trees:

rounds2 rounds1 rounds3

All I have to use to split all of that oak, is a 4.5 pound splitting maul, a six pound sledge hammer, and a pair of steel wedges.  I’m finding that the wedges are most effective when used as a pair, working along the same crack, alternating blows on each wedge.  It keeps the wedges from wanting to jump out of the expanding crack, and usually drives them right through.

Even the big blocks are easier to split when I can first split them in half.  However, there are still some that will not yield to my wedges or maul.  I call them the “untouchables”, and am collecting a pile of those blocks, which will be freebies on Craig’s list to whomever has a hydraulic splitter and wants them.

But, here’s what I’ve done so far, by hand:


That longest row is 0.73 of a cord, the second row is 0.4 of a cord.  Each new row will be a little smaller, as that is the shape of the piece of ground where I am making the stacks.

Now, after that cures for a year, I could easily sell the lot by the cord.  But, I think that may miss out on a work opportunity for the boys.  I foresee an arrangement with a local market to keep a rack of bundled oak firewood stocked.  I’ll need to make some sort of a display, and figure out how to weigh the bundles, and of course, get a strapping tool to make the bundles.

But, the boys can run it.  I’ll set them up with an email address so the store owner can order a refill when the stock runs low.  The boys can weigh the sticks to be bundled, and help me to restock the display at the store.  There are lots of lessons to be learned in that exercise, I think.

Anyway, I’m doing it for the exercise and strength training.  That’s right, my back is reminding me I’m not forty years old any more.  But, it hurts less each day.

We’ve moved!

No pictures just yet, and this is only the announcement, not the long story.  But, we are moving from Belgium to Eugene, Oregon.  If you know us, you have our email address, and probably have some details.  More to follow…

Liam’s 10th Birthday

So, it occurs to me that I have this blog…

We celebrated Liam’s tenth (TENTH!!!!!) birthday at the end of February. Our oven was broken at the time, so instead of his  requested homemade macaroni and cheese with apple pie for dessert, we went out to our favorite Japanese restaurant. A lovely evening was had by all. Happily, our oven was replaced in time for Jesse’s birthday (yesterday) and the two gentlemen were both treated to mac & cheese and pie. Liam agrees it was worth the wait.

Getting ready to open his packages.

Getting ready to open his packages.

From Gramma and Pa. I think he approves.

From Gramma and Pa. I think he approves.

You can tell by the maniacal look that he's been wating for this one.

You can tell by the maniacal look that he’s been wating for this one.

Fun to build, but the eruption was a bit lackluster.

Fun to build, but the eruption was a bit lackluster.

So Jesse put on his chemist's lab coat and really brought it to life!

So Jesse put on his chemist’s lab coat and really brought it to life!


Liam’s New Shoes

Liam reads

As you can see, Liam can read, and this is his first paperback.


Liam' shoes

We got him some new pants, but they needed a belt, which I re-sized this evening.  And, here he is, with his new pants, and his nice new boots.  Real boots.  He really likes them.

Liam's Shoes


Liam's Boots

I really like them.  I never had boots that nice when I was a kid.

Rue Grande is clean

It took me a couple weeks and a box of orange trash bags that I could only find in Canada, to clean up just over a kilometer of roadside. Those bags are 140 liter bags, and I filled twenty of them. Liam helped with the last six bags.

That stretch of road was a real eyesore on my bike ride to work. I don’t think it has ever been cleaned as well as we did it.








Liam’s Birthday Today

Well, allowing for time zone differences between where he was born and here, it’s not really until tomorrow morning.

But, here are a couple shots of the very clever birthday cake K made for him, in the motif of Minecraft:

Liam's Minecraft cake

Liam’s Minecraft cake

Liam's Minecraft Birthday Cake

Liam’s Minecraft Birthday Cake


second home

For those that don’t get just how much we consider Scotland our second home….

our house in Belgium. note the car

our home in Scotland. again, note the car. what are the chances that the google cars would capture us in both places? it’s like it was meant to be!

You should also be aware that Harry considers Scotland our “true” home, and this our home during school time only. Make of that what you will. And plan your future visits accordingly :)

Scotland 2012

Just some nice shots from our most recent trip to Scotland to share with you. This is the first time we went so late in the year – it was stunningly beautiful. But, not surprisingly, everything “touristy” was down for the season. We spent a lot of time gazing at the beautiful scenery and playing UNO!