Notes from a Door County Winter…

So much to do and to think about, my head is spinning like the hands on the clock.
I went to see Hans Christian in Sturgeon Bay last night, a party at his new recording studio. It was so cold that the windshield on my truck finally defrosted as I arrived there – after half an hour of driving. We got a few inches of new snow and it was 7 degrees – after raining last weekend. The weather is crazy but I love every change it puts me through.
I cut down a gigantic maple tree a few days ago, as it had a burl in the trunk and was sickly. It will heat my home for at least two weeks…
It was so large and gnarly that I could not get the entire trunk sawn through successfully and I had to leave it standing – but cut through from both sides – as darkness closed in. That night the wind blew from the west at about 20 mph and the next morning I went out there to see it nicely laid on the ground exactly where I would have chosen to have it fall. Now, I am cutting it up like a surgeon and bringing back sled-fulls of wood each day to fill the furnace. It’s odd the way I have always heated my home and even businesses with wood ever since I moved here in 1970.
That first winter the gas heater was just so noisy every time it kicked in – even then it seemed stupid to spend money on burning propane when there was a woods full of free fuel right outside. I first started heating with an old Franklin stove which worked fine when it was blazing away but could not keep a fire burning over night. Then, I learned about the Ashley Automatic from Mr. Brown up at Camp Zion in Ellison Bay. When I started my bike shop and whole foods store on the front porch of my house the next winter, I became a dealer for them and started selling Ashleys for about $100.
Then I discovered the Jotul stoves, made in Norway… the ultimate in quality and durability. I ended up selling these too and heated the entire ski lodge at Omnibus with 4 of them. Great memories on a cold day. Now I have to go out and cut the firewood for this day.

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