This new term, a combination of “metrosexual” and “lumberjack,” refers to a man with a rugged, outdoorsy, bearded look. Well, I am passionate about heating our house with wood, and I cut, split, stack and carry much of it myself. I have a beard and wear a red down vest and jeans. So do I exemplify this trend? I give my answer at the end of this post.
I usually have three or four cords of firewood in our side yard, and enjoy splitting logs. I love keeping track of what kinds of wood we have, their relative heat value and size, and how long they’ve been seasoned. Right now we have maple, locust, birch and cottonwood, which is an experiment. We took down three cottonwood trees last spring and I split about a cord of the logs even though it isn’t the best for burning.
Two weeks ago, heavy, wet snow brought down many tree limbs on our street, including one in our yard. Many of our neighbors offered us the wood, and we lugged it home in a wheelbarrow or rolled it down the street. I used to own a big gas chainsaw, but concluded that it was too dangerous for me to operate, and that my mechanical skills were insufficient to maintain it well. So now I rely on friends with chainsaws, and thus transform the chore into a social occasion. We do have an electric chainsaw for smaller logs.
I buy some of our wood to supplement what I can scrounge. Last summer we bought a cord of unseasoned, split wood for $175. We burn about two cords of wood a year, and have an oil furnace for overnight backup. The coldest days are often sunny, and we can let the fire die out and rely on passive solar heat.
Besides the enjoyment of working with wood, no oil furnace can compare with the warm glow you get from sitting near a woodstove. You tend to look back on all the humans who have watched fires for millenia. And you can look forward, too, to a day when we have moved from fossil fuels to local, renewable fuels.
So does my love of firewood make me a lumbersexual? Based on the definitions I’ve found on the Internet, the term refers to a man who cares more about a rugged appearance than actually wielding an axe. It’s more style than substance. One site defines it as “a man who wears outdoor clothes and has a beard but lives a modern urban lifestyle.” That’s not me. Even worse is, “He is bar-hopping, but looks like he could fell a Norway Pine. His backpack carries a MacBook Air, but looks like it should carry an axe.” Who is this guy, anyway?
Thanks to our nieces Mary and Phoebe, without whom we never would have heard of the word “lumbersexual.”