After living in Vancouver for three years I’d become accustomed to people giving me strange looks if I smiled at them in the elevator or while waiting in line for a coffee. When I returned home to the Yukon it was a pleasure to rediscover its camaraderie and community. People band together to help one another and make everyone’s life just that little bit easier.
I moved in with my partner in Riverdale in April and, for the first time since living in my parents’ house in Dawson City, I found myself in a home with a wood stove as our primary source of heat. There’s something about wood heat that’s so different from electric or oil. It feels warmer somehow. I’d forgotten how nice it is. My 16-year-old cat is making the most of it as well – by camping out by the Blaze King whenever there’s a fire going. He even follows my partner around and pesters him until he builds a fire!
When I bought my first house in Dawson I dealt with the snow by ignoring it until my Dad came by and shoveled it – the same way I dealt with my lawn in summer. Now that I’m living with my partner I expect I’ll have to chip in with the chores a bit more. A bonus that comes with living in Whitehorse, where it’s warmer than Dawson, is not have to deal with frozen pipes. When I lived in Dawson I spent many a miserable morning bailing out my bathtub and blasting icy pipes with a hairdryer so that I could take a shower.
We had our wood delivered in mid-October and the huge, four-cord pile in the driveway was daunting. I remember the drudgery of stacking wood growing up in Dawson. My father would direct while my brother, sister, and I formed an assembly line from my dad’s half tonne Toyota pick-up truck to the front porch. I wasn’t feeling too keen on repeating the dreaded chore now.
The big day arrived and so did a few of our friends and neighbours! I was so glad to see our friends; I knew that the workload would be so much lighter with their help. We got the wood splitter going, two wheelbarrows moving wood in and out of the garage and quickly fell into a rhythm. Our neighbour’s four-year-old son also pitched in, while chatting to us about his twin sister – who, he informed me, is also four. After a mere two hours of hard work the wood was split and neatly stacked in five long, tall rows. After getting the wood piled neatly in the garage bringing the odd log inside and shoveling the driveway doesn’t seem like such a big deal. We couldn’t believe how quickly it had gone by. As we were folding up the tarp the wood had been sitting on it started to snow. Just like a movie.
We retired to our kitchen for a bowl of homemade broccoli cheddar soup and marveled over how quickly we had completed the task. It reminded me of an Amish barn-raising, and we offered to help everyone out with their next wood delivery.
Thanks to our friends and neighbours for all your help! You know who you are!