Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

A Good Arrangement

by Tara

For the last few weeks, we've had some new company in our woods. Jonathan, who works at the local Stihl shop, has begun doing forestry work on our land. In exchange for keeping us stocked with split and stacked cordwood, he gets to sell whatever we ask him to cut down. Jonathan is a fantastic woodsman. Every time we go for a walk, we notice new things he's done.

He creates rabbit habitats out of twigs, makes cool stone sculptures, puts twisted, funky-looking branches on display, and has assembled some amazing wood stacks right next to our little house. He's also expanding the wood pile we started last fall!

Wood Piles Woodpiles Johnathan Splitting Wood

Without fail, whenever Jonathan goes home for the day, I can see and feel a difference. I am so grateful for the level of care he puts into his work. Also, it's a huge gift having a third pair of hands around here. Though Tyler and I think that we're getting the better end of the deal, Jonathan is thrilled with the arrangement too.

He's pleased as punch to have an extra source of income, as well as the ability to hang out in nature whenever he likes. "Some people like going to the gym," he told us one day with shrug and a smile, "I love playing around in the woods!"

Johnathan Splitting Wood

Last week, while he was showing me his latest woodpile, he asked, "Have you ever heard of Andy Goldsworthy?" I love Andy Goldsworthy, and when I told him so, he explained how he tries to get into the zone while stacking wood, making the work as artistic as possible. I'm uncertain what we did to have such a conscientious, artistically-minded guy on our team, but I am so happy he is here!

Round Logs Stacked

Finally, part of me is happy because my Grandpa used to do the exact same thing. He never had a "timber" of his own, but he'd work on other people's land, clearing, splitting and stacking. In exchange, he was able to be in the woods every day and create a very successful and well-known firewood business. I think he would be pleased.

Grandpa's Boots Grandpa and his Wood Stack Uncle JL & Grandpa in the Timber

Thanks for all of your hard work, Jonathan! You're a god-send!

Next Entry
Getting There


We met your G'pa Don & G'ma Jean on a trip to Scandinavia.
Very special friends and we miss him. He took us to his timber and he would be so proud of you. We love following your dream.
Posted by Marian & Bob from St. Louis on June 12th, 2014 at 9:55 PM
Have you ever read the book "The Dirty Life"? I read it last month, and while I didn't love the book itself, one of the things that stuck with me was the "magic circle" that one of the protagonists referred to. His magic circle is a series of people and interconnections that bring good luck to his doings. They got their 500-acre farm complete with farmhouse free of rent for a year thanks to this magic circle.

It sounded like bunk to me, but the more my partner-in-crime and I delve into the community of farmers in our area, the more I feel like we've stumbled into our own magic circle. We are also running into people who are only too willing to help us out, give us tips, or point us in the right direction. Your post today makes me think that maybe you have one of your own.
Posted by SavvyChristine on June 13th, 2014 at 11:01 AM
Marian & Bob - How touching to see a note from you both on our website! It makes me so happy to know that buddies of my grandparents are reading along. I miss my grandpa too, and I think of him every day. He would love it here. :-)

Christine - I haven't read "The Dirty Life" but I've seen it before. Oh we DEFINITELY have a magic circle. I really don't know what we would do without our wonderful community here!
Posted by Tara on June 14th, 2014 at 8:36 AM