I recently moved from my shared living space in the heart of the thriving metropolis of 100 Mile House out to a lovely little log cabin on a lake.
I was baffled when I first found out that most people who live outside of town use a wood stove or fireplace to keep warm through the winter.
Considering winter apparently starts in September here… that’s a ton of chopping.
But I suppose since electric and gas heat is rather expensive, it’s a sensible choice.
Once I became a rural resident, I grew enamored of the idea of chopping firewood as a means of survival.
I bought a genuine tartan flannel shirt, I put on a pair of heavy boots and I grabbed an axe and some wood.
(It should be noted that my wood source is a large shed full of already chopped logs from a lovely family who are sharing their supply with the silly Ontario woman who lives on their property.)
I was going to be a real Cariboo woman now. Or so I had hoped.
I set my first thick log up on the trunk outside my cabin and held it steadily to line up the axe.
I took a small practice swing and, although it went much farther left than I had aimed, I connected on my first try. I was a natural lumberjill.
It took a solid minute for me to notice the blood coming from the index finger on my left hand.
I sauntered into the cabin to look for bandages in a mixed state of shame, shock, horror, pain and slight amusement.
I quickly realized I’d already used up all my bandages (nursing the blisters from my big bad boots), so I wrapped my now gushing, tip-less finger in paper towel.
Three or so hours and half-a-roll of paper towel later, the bleeding seemed to be under control.
(In retrospect, I should have probably gone to the hospital.)
Ad designer Kerri Mingo, an actual Cariboo woman, bandaged my finger up properly the following morning.
Thankfully, the damage is not as bad as it first seemed. Yes, a sizeable chunk is missing from my fingertip, but no bone or nail was harmed in my poorly aimed practice swing.
I may have failed miserably at my first ever attempt at being a Cariboo woman, but at least now I can always say I left a small piece of myself behind. Literally.