Having a country property is a lot of work. It can be very rewarding, I learn a ton about nature and its relentless habits, and just when I think I’m done preparations for the changing of an extreme season, I’m not.

There are some very fine and gratifying moments in managing a large country property. We have 15 acres of maple and oak forest with plenty of large white pines, hemlock, birch, elm, basswood and ash. The animal wildlife we have is also typically Ontario; squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, turkeys, foxes, deer, black bears, coyotes and even wolves. Granted, we don’t get to see many wolves, coyotes or foxes, but the others present themselves throughout the year. The small victories, like chainsawing a fallen tree, snow-plowing our long driveway, starting a fire in the furnace and even maintaining the ATV quad, makes me think I’m doing great outdoorsy work, keeping fit and teaching myself new things. It’s a good thing I like to do these things and keep busy, because if I didn’t, we wouldn’t have Ravenswood!!

One major thing I’ve learned about nature, especially flora, is that it doesn’t care about me. If I don’t keep up with the chopping, cutting and trail-blazing around our acreage, it grows without my permission. The nerve! Nature is absolutely relentless in its pursuit of dominance. It reminds me of an assertive corporation that is focussed on organic growth, always having to increase profits, consuming anything that falls in it’s path. Patient to steadily move while you only notice it’s taken over when it’s too late! Oh, nature. You’re so cute. I’m going to draw up a schedule, just like a proper shareholder, to examine and act on the moves of the board of directors (bind weed) and senior executives (nettles and blackberry bushes!). My investment will pay off, oh yes it will. Funny. It’s a constant calendar of grass-cutting, snow-plowing, pond-aeration, trail-cutting and repairs; the cycle will never end.

Firewood has been a problem for the last couple of years. We had a particularly cold and long winter last year and people exceeded their normal wood rations. After a further round of wood-buying, the firewood industry had sold the following year’s supplies. This year when people went out to get wood, mostly what was available was newer, wetter wood. Not great when you’re trying to light it on fire! I was able to get some one-year seasoned wood, but it was almost double the price and still not quite ready for burning. The problem being mostly that once it starts really going in the furnace, the BTU’s are low and it takes much longer to heat the place! Fortunately I’ve got some old jack pine logs that split really well for kindling and really start the blaze going. Next year, I’m going to cut the majority of firewood myself, courtesy of my lovely property. Tree management, one more trade skill I need to learn more about!

It never ends. 😉