Exhibit A.  Shovel.

Exhibit A. Shovel.

What do you need to survive during a northwoods winter?  You need technology.  What might that technology be? Snow removal instrument shall be Exhibit A.

A shovel is a necessity.  All sorts of shovels exist.  There’s the snow scoop shovel, the ergonomic shovel (please look this one up yourself), snow pushers, and wide-grip snow shovels.  There’s roof rakes, designed to rake the roof clean of snow.  There’s little shovels, big shovels, and then there’s really big shovels.

We call them snowplows.  Most of us need some sort of snowplow to clean the driveway (unless a prior financial arrangement exists with the county).  We have a 1951 Massey Harris tractor, of which you will undoubtedly later see pictures.  My husband sits at the helm, painstakingly pushing snow into pre-arranged piles for most of the winter.  I think he’s an expert.  I was once required to sit atop the tractor and practice plowing techniques, but if anything happens to him we’re in trouble….

Today I shoveled snow.  I wasn’t much in the mood to hike in the woods.  In fact, if it wasn’t for this 365 day commitment, I would have DEFINITELY stayed inside.  It wasn’t too cold; the temperature hovered around 25 degrees after an early-morning high of about two below zero.  But my mood felt hibernational.  It did not feel outdoor-ish.  Nonetheless, I went outside with a sigh. 

Once outside, I surveyed the landscape.  Gray sky.  Smelled the air; it strangely smelled like water or melting snow.  Chickadees chattered nearby.  In the distance, a motor hummed.  It’s challenging to determine if it’s the whine of a chainsaw (another winter technology) or snowmobile.  After listening intently, I identified the motor as a chainsaw.  Someone was cutting wood for his or her woodpile.

Speaking of woodpiles, besides the handy chainsaw, an axe or maul often proves a necessity.  You may examine Exhibit B to view our handy axe.  We mostly use it for chopping kindling, although it has been used to chop logs into manageable wedges.

You place the kindling logs (usually cedar) atop the chopping block.  Down comes the axe!  If you’re lucky, the logs split into kindling-size shears.  These go atop newspaper in the woodstove and provide the starting power to spark a good roaring fire. 

Exhibit B.  Axe.

Exhibit B. Axe.

As we continue this discussion of winter technology, may we discuss computers?  Specifically: Internet service.  We seem to live in an occasional “black hole” of Internet service.  We’ll be speeding along on the worldwide web when suddenly….nothing.  Yesterday afternoon provided the first real challenge to the daily posting of this blog.  Internet ceased at 3:32 p.m.  Fortunately I had a meeting on the other side of the bay and was able to post on a computer over there.  Just wanted to set some additional perimeters to this blog commitment:   if you don’t see a blog appearing on a particular calendar day, it means the Internet has disappeared from the woods.  I will still write my blog, but will post at the first opportunity. 

The more complicated that technology gets, the greater challenges may arise.  The shovel and the axe have rarely failed during recent years.  As for the Internet and computer…..shall we say that sometimes the simplest technologies prove the most faithful?

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