Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I don't like snow. I've lived in Montana for over twenty years, and I've never gone skiing or snowboarding or snowshoeing or built a snow man or made a snow angel or gotten into a snowball fight or built a snow fort. I did go sledding once, but after one run down the hill, I spent the rest of the trip in the car with a thermos of hot cocoa. Snow may be cold and wet and slippery and evil, but it does look pretty, especially when it's falling in large chunks and you can watch it from inside your warm house, preferably in front of a fireplace, complete with a raging fire. I happen to have a house, along with windows and a fireplace, so I am fully equipped to do all kinds of snow-watching. One thing I do not have, however, is firewood. So, when my friend Gigi offered to take me and two other friends into the snowy mountains to do some chainsawing for inexpensive, awesome-smelling pinewood, I had to say yes! It turns out that snow plus mountains plus trees makes for some great photo opportunities, so I grabbed my camera and turned everyone and everything into a model! 

Lucky shot with Amma!

Only Vicki can look like a rockstar while hauling logs.

Gigi has a chainsaw...and a demure side! 

I don't typically get excited about taking pictures of pretty things in nature, but this place was so breathtaking in the snow, I couldn't help but get a little excited. 

We spent a couple of hours cutting and gathering firewood, and I can honestly say that the snow didn't bother me. Maybe the company made it bearable. Maybe my camera kept me distracted. Maybe I'm finally getting accustomed to Montana weather. Either way, I have a fire blazing in my fireplace right this second, and I can say with certainty that any amount of discomfort is worth the amazing smell of a wood fire. I will gladly tromp into the snowy mountains to do this again!

For the curious: Just so you know, you can't just haul off into the mountains and start chopping up wood any old time you want. You have to buy a permit and there are some rules to follow, but the process is pretty simple. I just stopped at the Lewis and Clark Forest Services office in town, filled out a form, paid $20, and I was done in less than ten minutes. As far as the actual chopping of wood goes, I find that the best way to do that is to have a friend who has a chainsaw and knows how to use it.


  1. Demure chainsaw! haha

    This was great.

  2. I find that chopping wood with your bare hands, Minecraft style, is much harder than it looks o
    In the game, FYI. In case anyone was curious or in case anyone wanted to try it, or research it, or get a friend to do it, or do it as a bet, or if you have no chainsaw, or if your chainsaw is broken. :-p

  3. Thanks, Sara! I think you have to be pretty awesome to pull off the demure chainsaw look. I know I couldn't do it; I'm a bit terrified of the saw!

  4. Jake, I wonder what it would be like to chop wood with your bare hands...but I don't wonder enough to actually try it. I think my method is pretty iron clad: stand back and let the expert handle it. :D

  5. Yeah that is probably the best way to do it. At any rate. Nice article!