Saturday and Sunday were the last of the bitter cold days, with wind chill numbers in the negatives both mornings. Saturday was by far the tougher one, due to the wood we were burning. Most of the trees thinned were basswood or maple, two species that are slow to ignite.
With these woods as fuel and a light wind, you can do everything right and still wait an inordinate time to see the fire take off. That keeps you moving, creating your own heat. The combination of a smallish crew and stubborn fires means we left lots of unburned wood on the ground for next time.
Cap Sauers Holding Sunday January 21
This was another cold start, and when we reached the gate the lock was frozen shut. Margaret wanted to bring her car in so we attempted to thaw it. Our first try was feeble, holding a small lighter beneath the lock and watching it blow out repeatedly. We tried lighting a piece of cardboard to use as a torch and that was hard to keep going too.
Then Jim Dzialowy wrapped a sheet of newspaper around the lock and lit it - by the time it burned away we could see water dripping from the lock and it snapped open soon as the key was inserted. Sheer inspiration!
No problems with maple or basswood here as many of the trees thinned were black oaks. Not only does that wood burn better, the trees tend to have dead limbs and branches which facilitate fire-starting. In short order three fires were burning, and a fourth would be added before noon. More remains to be done here, and we erturn Saturday January 21.