The Cake to Firewood Quotient

This is going to be a really complicated blog. There will be a lot of complex formulas and math and hard stuff to understand … like laws of thermodynamics, and real smart stuff like that.

Or not.

Since I never did ‘real good’ with math, I won’t be using a lot of formulas and calculus and things that I never understood during my illustrious and short-lived academic career.

Yet the formula I’m going to introduce could in fact change the course of human history, kind of on a par with E=MC2 or that formula for the perpetual motion machine. It goes like this:

Daily consumption of calories from cake should be less than or equal to the calories burned hauling firewood

I know, it seems pretty basic, but it’s something I’m having trouble getting my head around. Although, most days I am pretty much sticking to this.

This summer, during the hottest summer on record with an historic drought to boot, I was having trouble consuming enough calories. It would probably have been better if more of my calories were in the form of kale and other green things, but they weren’t and I accept that.

But now, the CSA is over and I am burning way fewer calories. So along came my birthday, and the large chocolate cake with cherry pie filling layered in and I had this sort of epiphany, that this can’t go on forever, otherwise I will end up getting my own reality TV show and ill have to be removed from my house with a forklift.

This is not Cam's cake, but very similar. His wasn't quite so pretty and he was too busy eating it to photograph it!

This is not Cam’s cake, but very similar. His wasn’t quite so pretty and he was too busy eating it to photograph it!

So I vowed to force myself to burn a whack of calories each day before I ate cake. In honor of Marie “Let them eat cake” Antoinette when she learned the peasants didn’t have bread to eat (just before the revolution), I have enough bread but still love cake.

First the good news. I managed to make the cake last a full week. We have one of those glass cake domes and I realize that nothing makes me happier than a cake under a glass cake dome on the dining table (with a cake in it, in case I hadn’t made that clear). So I made it last as long as I could. It would help if Michelle ate cake, but she has the willpower of a monk and can ignore bad foods like a ninja warrior … if they were adept at junk food denial.

Next I had to kick into gear my firewood campaign to get next winter’s firewood cut and hauled. A couple of hours of cutting can result in double or triple the number of hours hauling, so out came the big plastic sled to start moving the wood close to the house. During the dark fall and early winter months I haul the green firewood through the bush to the house, then by March and April we have those fabulous cold sunny periods where we have tons of electricity so I can buck the lengths into fireplace sized logs with the electric chainsaw, and then split them with the electric log splitter, the solar powered electric log splitter to keep them as close to zero-carbon as I can.

hauling-wood-1-copy

There are tons of devices you can strap on now to count your footsteps and work out the calorie consumption of your workout, and calculate your body mass and blah blah blah, none of which I own or will ever own. I go by how damp my t-shirt gets from the sweat generated hauling sleds of firewood at or near my physical capacity.

It is awesome! I love hauling firewood, and I love heating with firewood, and I love eating cake. So each night when I sat down with my ‘reasonably’ sized piece of cake, I felt no guilt.

These are really bad calories. I get it. Too processed, too much fat, too much sugar, probably too many artificial colors… I mean seriously, I might as well take up smoking. But regardless of how many documentaries I might watch on the evils of sugar, I shall cling to my one-time belief that ‘you can metabolize’ sugar and live in the splendid whacked out bliss that cherry pie filled chocolate cake brings me.

It will not solve the problems of the world. It will probably not move me further up the karmic ladder of spiritual enlightenment. But it does make me happy. And it gets me off my ass and on to next years’ firewood.

Michelle always laughs at this time of year when people ask her, “Does Cam have this year’s firewood done yet?” Hah! It was done 18 months ago. I’m working on winter 2018 now. If I had another reason to celebrate I could probably get 2019 done in good time. Is chocolate cake a yuletide tradition somewhere that I can honor here at Sunflower Farm? I’ll go check the calendar and see whose birthday is coming next so I can celebrate it … with a cake. Cake goes in, firewood comes out.

Science is so awesome! It’s all good.

4 Responses to “The Cake to Firewood Quotient”

  • Kate:

    If I had that fabulous little sled I would probably fill it with lovely cake for the daily walk in the woods and then have a picnic at the halfway point. Might even pick up some firewood on the trek back home, and more cake at the end of course 🙂

  • If that cake makes you happy, you should eat it 🙂 And please, eat some for me, because I love cake too, but I have no firewood to cut if you catch my drift…

  • Cake goes in, firewood comes out … the First Law of the Universe! 😀

  • Brian:

    I would think eating a Yule Log would be more in keeping with the season…and the chore at hand? 😉

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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