It Was A What?!?!

by Curt Kovener

A few weeks back I wrote about modifying the old adage “He who cuts his own wood is twice warmed.” I proposed that he who cuts, splits, stacks and eventually burns his own wood is four times warmed.
Last fall and spring weather brought some otherwise healthy trees to earth. Last fall and this spring I had cut up the limbs and some trunks into fireplace length slabs and stacked them along the lane for ease in splitting. A couple weekends back I finally got all of that wood processed and stored under roof.
Having gotten all of the oak, maple, pignut hickory (which doesn’t split well at all unlike its shagbark hickory cousin and really strains the hydraulic splitter), stacked in the woodsheds, I began thinking of what other trees needed cleaning up in the woods.
I recalled that some spring winds this year had brought down a couple of oaks in a hollow on the east side of the property. Charley & I traveled there to inspect.
While Charley snooped for new woodland smells, I saw a couple of red oaks about 18” in diameter had blown down and were acting as a bridge across the hollow.
I began thinking that perhaps I should cut them into logs for resale rather than firewood. But when trees blow down sometimes there is hidden splitting which turns a valuable log into firewood.
As Charley snooped along the opposite ridge I trekked up to the stump to check the log for any splitting. But I didn’t make it.
As I neared the log butt, I saw some movement inside the hollow stump. A pointed nose turned around in my direction. The rest of the pointed nose was covered in black fur and there was a beginnings of a while stripe on the head.
Now keep in mind this all took place in just a split second, but I was pretty durned sure that this was not one of those wild Indiana zebras so I did an immediate turned around and hightailed it down the ridge and out the bottom of the hollow calling “Come on, Charley, let’s go!”
Gratefully for once he obeyed promptly.
We escaped the woods without any malodorous incident.
Under the circumstances, I decided it would be better to be four times warmed in cooler weather this fall.