Getting Ready for Winter on Maui.

When the major league baseball season ends, my life changes rather drastically. From April through the end of October, most of my afternoons are taken up by watching the Red Sox on television. (A 7:00 start in Boston is 1:00 p.m. here.) But once the season ends, my “supervisor” whips out a lengthy to-do list.

Yesterday was the day to pick up our annual supply of firewood. We have a cast iron stove in the main room of our house because it does get cold here. Not cold by mainland standards, of course, but these are mountainous islands and we live at about the thousand-foot level. From Christmas through the end of March, it’s not uncommon for us to wake up to temperatures in the low 60s and, maybe a half dozen times a year, even the high-50s. Where we live on this island, those temperatures are often accompanied by wind and rain and on mornings like that, it’s very nice to have a second cup of home-grown coffee and go through the Maui News, comfortably seated next to our wood-burning stove.

The firewood of choice is from kiawe trees (kee-AH-vay) which is, I believe, a variety of the mesquite found in the southwestern U.S. Our farmers and ranchers use kiawe posts for fencing because they are virtually impervious to the weather. When we bought this property in 2001, there were some kiawe fence posts on the property line. One of our neighbors remembered helping to set them in the ground almost fifty years earlier.
 The man from whom I buy the firewood, also supplies several local restaurants with wood for ovens. One of these, The Flatbread Company, is located in the little town of Paia (pah-EE-uh) about a dozen miles from here. Excellent pizzas, cooked in a Portuguese-style oven that’s fired by our very own island kiawe logs.
Anyway, yesterday I picked up a load of firewood in our truck; today I stacked it all in a covered area behind our shed; and tonight I will stretch out on our sofa with a large scotch in my hand and a heating pad on my sore back. But we’re ready for winter.