Nicole Kidman taught me How to Chop Wood

Posted: January 21, 2009 in Life, Movies, Nature, Spain, Tenerife
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve mentioned before, but our wood pile is going to struggle to see us through the winter nights. Down to some negligent wood management on my part I have to confess.

We’ve got a decent amount left; trouble is I only cut it this year. Now I’ve been told that you have to leave wood for at least a year, preferably two before it’s ready to be thrown on the fire.

OH YEAH. So if that’s the case, how come there are so many forest fires then???

We have had some seriously hard blocks of wood which have lain, taunting me for the last few years. These guys are the Vin Diesel of the log world. In fact I suspect that they’re not wood, they’re iron. Taking an axe to them is like taking an axe to the body of a tank.  I swing the axe it…it connects with the wood…there’s a loud clang…the axe bounces backwards sending a judder through my body a la Wile E. Coyote style…there’s not a nick in the wood.

I’ve even taken a chainsaw to them and I can tell you I’m lucky to have escaped with limbs still attached. So they’ve stayed uncut and unburnt, snickering at me from the woodpile, for nearly five years.

More than a movie - a guide to rural living

More than a movie - a guide to rural living

Until we watched ‘Cold Mountain’ for the umpteenth time earlier this week.  Loved it as always, but this time I noticed a tiny detail which had hitherto escaped me. It was a scene where Nicole Kidman was chopping wood. She swung her axe and embedded it in the log, but instead of doing what I always do (which seems bordering on stupid in retrospect) which is raise the axe and bring it down again, hoping to land it in the exact same spot (a rare occurrence), she simply hammered the head of the axe until the wood split in two.

‘Sacre bleu,’ I thought. ‘Can it be so simple?’

So this afternoon I got out my axe and my hammer, grabbed a block of the hardest wood in the universe and brought the axe down on it. It barely made an impression, but I took up my hammer and gave the head of the axe a thwack…and hey presto, the wood fell apart as if it was balsa wood. Ten minutes later and the pile was reduced to burn sized pieces…incredible.

So there you go, not only is Cold Mountain a wonderful film, it’s educational as well.


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