Page 27 - WCM 2021 Winter
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    ing component that we embraced, yet sometimes with gritting teeth and freezing hands.
Cutting firewood was always a priority, for without it, you find yourself struggling to keep warm, especially in the depths of winter. When you manage your own woodlot, you soon become very much bound to this renewable resource, and you think very differently about each and every tree, and how, when, and where you should cut. Fortunately for us, we had many hands, so stacking wood was a chore we shared.
A favorite highlight each year was our annual search for the perfect Christmas tree. Most of our balsam firs are tall, so we’d have to assess from below what the tree may look like once we got it on the ground. Most times, the end result was a misshaped, lopsided, gnarly looking specimen, and each was special in its own way.
When living in the middle of the forest, wildlife isn’t something you simply see, it’s something that you become familiar and interact with. Raccoons, porcu- pines, deer, moose, and other critters are our neighbors. One night years ago, a bear got into our house. I was away guiding a trip, and Dee was home with the four kids. The house was being framed at the time, so we were living in the basement, and there were wood and tools scattered above. The bear entered the first floor searching for food, and continued to knock over just about everything in his path. Eventually, he found a hole in the floor that led to the lower level, directly above where Dee and the kids were. With little more than a headlamp, she saw the bear’s muzzle pressed into

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