This week I got a harvest of wood. Last summer a friend asked me if I had a wood burning stove. I told her I had four. I bought two of the burners very cheaply. Many people nowadays prefer gas or oil for their heating. Cutting wood is hard work and wood is in short supply. I had the workers, all I needed was the wood.
She told me her neighbour had left stacks of broken logs in her part of the grounds where a few trees had been cleared. I was delighted with her offer. My stack of logs needed replenished. In the autumn I went out to see this new source of wood. My boys did not have to do the heavy work of cutting down the trees or chainsawing thick trunks. They pulled out logs from the stack in sizes manageable to carry to the van. Two days work supplied us with wood we are still using. The boys chop the wood back in our garden and store it.
I visited my friend this week to thank her and she said we are welcome anytime. Brendan and the boys decided to gather in some wood before they returned to university. It started to rain the day work was to start. But undeterred Brendan and the boys headed off. The rain stopped.
We had storms recently. In the middle a Eileen’s garden was a tree that had fallen in the storm. Brendan and the boys cut it up and now all the tree is in my back garden.
When I moved to our present home which has seven bedrooms, fourteen years ago I was wondering how were we going to heat it. It is two hundred years old and had some fire places and some oil heating. To keep us comfortable may be costly.
I had a dream. In it I saw a stack of wood, a stack of coal and a stack of turf. I believe God was showing me he would supply the fuel for my big house. To the back of our home was a small wood that needed cleared for houses to be built. That was our supply of wood for a few years.
One spring, trees were washed up on a local beach in a big storm. I discovered it and alerted Brendan. In no time, with the boys help, we had the van full of wood.
Another friend, who lived in a big estate offered us any fallen trees. So God supplied the stack of wood, and the turf and coal. From time to time we bring home turf from Kerry when we return from holiday. I burn coal only on the cold days. So I have not had a big bill for fuel in the years we have lived here.
When I had the dream I was reminded of the poem by Padraic Colum.
Old Woman of the Roads
O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house – a house of my own
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.
When the chilly winds and rain of winter blow, we are cosy in our big house with the home fires burning. My son said he misses the warm fires when he is away. I even have a dresser of my own with the Delph.