Posted by: poofergirlsperspective | October 8, 2007

The Woodshed

Having a warm house is certainly a blessing, and as I start up a new fire in the woodstove I am grateful for the warmth.  Growing up in-town I never had to worry about the process of heating a house, we turned the thermostat up when we were cold, and down when we were hot.  Last winter when I became a farmwife and a new farm-girl I had a few things to learn about heating our home.  Here is a little story about a lesson learned inregards to wood, the woodshed, and a woodchuck. 


The woodshed is one of the buildings that I was the least afraid of as I began my new life as farm-girl this past winter.  The space was relatively clean and organized piles of wood lined the walls.  I had recently started gathering the wood, as it was a chore that I was more then capable of doing.  Shortly after I started this new job I was informed that a family of woodchucks had chosen our humble little shed for their home.  As much as we were honored that they chose us, they were not allowed to stay and mess up the one area of the farm that was organized.  So the traps were set and slowly they were being eliminated.  Loren was pretty good about giving me woodchuck updates, as it was known that I have severe reactions to finding dead rodents in traps.  There had been a traumatic encounter with a mouse, a trap, and our basement early on in our marriage.  Needless to say, Loren learned lots in our first few weeks as husband and wife!   

One late evening we were going to gather some roosters for butchering.  It is much easier to gather roosters and hens in the dark while they are sleepy.  Earlier in the week we had boxed some of our laying hens that we sold and I reluctantly agreed to help with that process even though I was terrified of the chickens.  Following that experience I vowed that I would not do it again.  Loren tried to ease my fear but it did not work and he knew that he would be doing them alone.  I did feel a twinge of guilt as he bundled up for the cold and headed out with his boxes and flashlight to box them alone.  As a result, when asked, “can you get some wood in?” I quickly agreed.  After I agreed however, I asked, “ummm … whatever happened with that woodchuck in the trap you told me about?” the less then convincing reply went something like “oh, yeah I didn’t take it out yet but it is right under the pile you need to pull from”.  When my look of ‘are you kidding me?’ flashed on my face he quickly added “but he is waaaaaaayyyy under the wood … you will only see a long chain and not a woodchuck.”  I learned a few things in our short marriage too so I asked “are you sure?” and he said “I am sure”.

Now because I love and trust my husband I bravely forged out in the cold and snow to gather wood for warmth.  I slid the large door open and scanned the room.  I saw the chain that I was warned about but it wasn’t pulled tight and it looked like a part of the trap was out of the hole.  Not completely aware of what I should be seeing I trusted that it was “normal” for a trap and bravely went for the wood.  Upon closer inspection however I noticed the face of a woodchuck looking at me … a perfect woodchuck face coming out of the hole with teeth and all!   I jumped, screamed, and bolted out the door. 

Loren was almost too the barn and too far to hear my cries for help.  As I watched my protector fade into the dark I pondered what this new farm girl was supposed to do now.  I stood in the cold for a few minutes weighing my options.  I could just go in and tell him that I was pretty darn sure there was a woodchuck and I was too scared to get the wood so he would have to get it, or I could gather the wood without looking down, or I could see if it really was a woodchuck and try again to get the wood in.  I chose the last one and mustered up a little more courage and slowly and cautiously re-entered the shed.  I looked from afar and was convinced that it really was a woodchuck and that I was not going any closer.  Still feeling a little guilty about not helping with the roosters and now failing at the wood chore I did what any new farm girl in training would do … just enough to get by!  I stood at the door and pulled 4 pieces of wood from a pile near the door and brought enough in to keep the fire going while we brought the roosters. 

After the roosters were all gathered and Loren arrived back into the house I relayed my story with all the details and he said, “Oh … I guess he crawled out”.  “Oh I guess he crawled out?????” when was that possibility presented before I went in the woodshed?

I never went to the woodshed to gather wood again that winter and currently I am still using the trama from that incident to my advantage though I am certain that it won’t last forever! 



  1. Um, I’m traumatized just reading about it!

  2. So the woodchuck was indeed alive?

    I would have freaked out.

  3. You crack me up. I am not a fan of dead, or alive rodents, I would probably have nightmares.

  4. Umm…how much wood did the woodchuck chuck?
    You should have asked it to chuck some outside for you to pick up so you didn’t have to go near it!
    Maybe you could have chucked a piece of wood at it though, from afar.
    You are wise not to tread too closely, they can be mean little critters. My husband believed the only good woodchuck was a dead woodchuck. :)

  5. Diane … yep it was bad … I still have visions of that dumb little rodents face in my mind from time to time. So gross!

    Julie … he wasn’t quite dead … just caught in the trap, trying to find away out. Apparently the trap is a slow and tortuous death or something. Yuck.

    Teresa … I hate rodents of all types too … big or small they all freak me out.

    Aunt Jeri … The woodchuck and his family lived in the shed for quite some time so let’s asume that they chucked as much as a woodchuck could. Ha. Loren would agree with Tom that a good woodchuck is a dead woodchuck … he is not a fan of them either.

  6. I can empathize being the official wood-hauler for many years on that farm. I despise rodents immensely and had my share of rodent visualizations in my years of wood hauling. Just a tip if you end up hauling wood again, always make a lot of noise as you approach the wood shed. I would alway sing loudly and then open and close the door a couple of times (it is loud) to scare any rodents (who aren’t trapped and immobile) away so I wouldn’t have to endure the trauma of seeing them scamper. Just my little tip from way too many years of experience. :)

  7. Josie … I have tried those tricks too! :) But I usually yell “IF YOU ARE A RODENT YOU BEST LEAVE THIS ROOM BEFORE I GET INSIDE!!” … of course, little do they know that if I see one I won’t be anywhere near going inside. Ha. I did get wood in a couple times and I do whatever I can loudly before I get there. Ha.

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