One of the joys of living on the ocean’s edge is receiving Gifts from the Sea, useful objects washed up on our beach. Occasionally, this boon becomes a case of “be careful what you wish for.” Case in point: firewood!
A recent string of windy days left a large log on our beach. We usually don’t use drift wood to heat our cabin. Burning salt impregnated wood would rot our cast iron wood stove, and research indicates that the burning salt creates toxins that would permeate our air. However, because the outflow of the nearby Katzehin River brings flotsam right to our beach, we sometimes collect wood that shows signs of only brief immersion. A few days in the rain, and it seems safe to use. I admit to tasting a few chunks of wood now and then, to test saltiness.
This log appears to be on the safe side, but we may never know.
Aly has explored the log, and has concluded that it’s 40 feet long, 82 inches in circumference. That is, calculates my darling unschooler, just over a cord of wood.
At that size, our only hope for cutting it would be to borrow a chainsaw—a big one—or use one of our bucking saws, both of which would need a thorough sharpening before tackling a log of that size. I have the tools and instructions for sharpening them, but haven’t attempted it yet.
She also announced that the log is green. This means harder sawing, heavier hauling, and a long curing time before we would benefit from its warmth.
Location provides a further complication: it’s on the lower beach, firmly snagged on rocks covered with the treacherously slick black alga or moss that makes walking very difficult. Finding proper footing down there will be vital to our safety and success.
With all these drawbacks, we still hate to pass up such a windfall. For now, we’ve run a line down to it to keep it near. I added a mooring “bungee” line to try to inch it to less slippery rocks on the next spring tide, and let it dry in place for a while before bucking. I guess it never hurts to plan long range.