Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring is in the air

Just last Thursday was the Vernal Equinox, and I finally learned what that means. The equinox is the day, happening twice a year in Spring and Fall, when the length of time during the day equals that of night. The Solstice, on the other hand, falls on the days, again twice a year, this time in Winter and Summer, when the sun is furthest from the equator. Kind of cool. What’s amazing about it all is that people determined these things long before the modern era of science, simply by way of observation. So in essence they noticed, just with their naked eye, that at some point the days were as long as the nights and created a celebration of sorts to mark the day. It goes to show you how much they paid attention to the world around them, because that sort of thing would never happen today with all the distractions around us.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the equinox just passed, and it happened to coincide with a full moon. Somehow that seemed significant to me, or at the very least, kind of cool.

Living in Vermont, you can’t help but celebrate the arrival of Spring. As much as I love the snow, and as much as I miss it when it’s gone, there is a certain vitality and energy to the longer days and warmer weather. Spending more time outside you can’t help but notice the sound of birds singing and the trees and plants beginning to show signs of life.

Of course, being a real-man in training, Spring means the resumption of my manly duties. Since there is still a significant base of snow on our property, tilling the garden (I’ll leave the seeding and planning to Ruth) and mowing the lawn are on the backburner. For now the one thing I need to start thinking about is getting firewood for our stove. We have an old Vermont Castings wood-burning stove, which is nothing short of fantastic.

Now, as you can imagine, growing up in California, I never had much need for a wood-burning stove. When we bought our house, we lucked out in getting an original Vermont Casting stove along with it, a consequence of buying a house from a true to life Vermonter, one whose family goes back several generations not only in Vermont, but in this town. They really knew what they were doing.

Our stove was built around 1975, making it one of the original models that the company built. I’ve been told by several reliable sources that the company just doesn’t make them like they used to, the result of a buyout many years ago and a subsequent drop in quality. While I can’t vouch for this, I can say that this thing is amazing. We were told it was big enough to heat the entire house, and that is exactly what it has done.

In fact, we’ve yet to use our propane boiler, and we pre-bought a thousand gallons over the summer. I estimate that we went through about four cords of wood, and will have to get up to six this summer to carry us for the next two years. So much to think about. I just need to figure out where to get the wood, and that, I’ve found, is an odyssey in and of itself.