In cutting and hauling, in wood and in print/ We’re feeding a goat that can’t keep itself fit

This has become an evening ritual at our house.

Beep... beep....


Beep...beep... stooooop!

Juuuust right

This is a man who knows how to park a trailer

For the past three nights, we’ve been stowing wood in the large shed. It’s slow going, not least of all because the baby is only content to sit and watch for so long before she wants out of the stroller and in on the action.

I has a wood pile!

It’s also slow going because one trailer’s worth of wood, when neatly stacked and piled, doesn’t seem like much wood at all.

One trailer's worth. That's it? Really?

It’s also slow going because it’s the end of October and we’re burning wood almost as fast as we can stow it.

Junk by junk, row by row/ that’s how the wood gets stowed…

Gathering wood, like laundry, dishes and vacuuming, is a bit like writing for a newspaper. (Bear with me here). You spend hours cutting, hauling and stacking, only to start all over again the next year after the winter burning is through. Laundry is impossible to get ahead on, because even as you’re folding and putting away clean clothes, you’re dirtying others (unless you do those chores naked. Hmm, that’s an idea!). Dishes get cleaned, only to be dirtied again, and don’t even get me started on vacuuming in a house where the wood stove sits squarely in the living room.

Likewise, newspapers. You can slave all day (or week, or month) over a single issue. That edition may the the brightest example of journalism out there. It may spur masses to action, inspire tears and laughs and contribute to a greater public intelligence. It may be copy-perfect, with nary a misspelled word or mismatched caption in sight. The photos may all be well lit and composed. The layout may be flawless. The print job a standard of excellence… but once that press is rolling, the reporters and editors and photographers and copy-editors and layout artists and publishers don’t get to rest on their laurels.

No sooner has the woodshed been filled, the laundry put away and the dishes dried then there’s another fire to light and more chores to do. There’s another roll of newsprint waiting to be inked, more facts to confirm, more stories to tell. I won’t call it a rat race because the work is not futile. But the work is never-ending.

Readers and advertisers alike won’t say, “What a great paper! Why don’t you take a week off?” They’ll say, “What else you got?” Like a goat that’s always hungry, we have to keep feeding the beast.

Sylvia says, 'What you looking at, Punk?'

I may paint a goat’s head on my wood stove, or nickname it The Kid. Or Goat-beast. Or Baa-aaa. What about Titania? No, that was a donkey.How about Billy? Gruff? Shane? Any other suggestions? This is fun!


4 responses to “In cutting and hauling, in wood and in print/ We’re feeding a goat that can’t keep itself fit

  1. On me too, me too! I have a barn full of wood and always say to THOSE WHO KNOW BETTER,: I must have 5 years’ worth right there, SEE?

    and they all shake their heads and say: Buddy, pray it gets you through the winter.

    The endlessly voracious beast sits in the middle of my living room too!


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