Things That Go Bump In The Woodpile

Retrieve wood from the woodpile. Carry it into the house. Build the first fire of the season. No danger, right?

Oh, sure, there was the time that I did that in the dead of winter, slipped on a patch of snow, fell with an armload of firewood, and broke two toes. That might have had something to with the fact that I wore house shoes on that trip.

This time, though, I was wearing real shoes. The ground was clear of snow and ice. And, yet, I was fearful.

Each summer, two large wood bins are filled with firewood. The wood is stacked six feet deep, four feet high, and eight feet wide – for each bin. The walls and floor of the bins are slats to allow a maximum of air flow while a roof keeps rain away. A perfect structure to help dry the wood for clean winter burning.

Also, a perfect structure for wild creatures to live.

As we slowly unstack the wood throughout each winter, we normally find several mice nests. The mice, of course, attract the occasional rat snake. Add the assortment of insects and spiders, and the wood bins are quite the natural habitat.

What I don’t expect is anything larger.

As most of you know, we have suffered (and are still suffering) a severe drought. Dozens of wildfires burn in our mountains and outdoor burn bans are in place. The bans do not apply to fireplaces, but, out of an abundance of caution, I have opted not to light a fire.

Until Sunday morning. We received a couple of inches of rain earlier in the week. The rain was already steadily falling as Sunday dawned. And a couple of more inches of rain were predicted for the first half of the week.

Time to build a fire. So I headed out to the wood bins (yes, wearing real shoes), and begin retrieving logs from the front wall of wood.

Scratch. Scurry. Scrape.

I paused. Something was living just behind those logs. Probably a mouse nest. Couldn’t be bigger.


I paused. Listened. That sounded slightly bigger than a mouse, but now it was silent. I reached for the next log.

Scratch. Scurry. Scrape.

Ok, much bigger than a mouse. I wait for more noise. Silence. I grab the next log.


Hmmmmm. I have reached a conclusion. I have plenty of wood to get the fire started and burn much of the day. If I reached for one more log, I had a vision that this would be what happened next:


Maybe, whatever is living in there will be gone when I need more logs later.

Or, maybe, I will just get logs from the other bin. That will be a great plan. As long as I am not tucked into bed and suddenly hear


Subscribe to the Random Musings

Want to be sure never to miss a Musing? Subscribers will be notified when I post a random observations on life or a short story. The email is absolutely FREE and you my unsubscribe at any time.


  1. Jane on December 5, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Did you ever find what was making the noise? I hope that where you have your wood stacked is not where the herd can go. I can just see them going after what ever was making that noise and a huge ruckus going on. That would be a great video to watch.

    • D.K. Wall on December 5, 2016 at 10:12 am

      My first Siberian Husky taught me never to leave a pile of firewood inside the fence. The rascal drug logs to the corner of the fence and built a ladder of sorts so that she could leave the fenced yard any time she wanted. I would love to say I was making that up, but it is 100% true.

      And, no, I have not yet figured out what was in the woodpile. Hopefully, it decided to move somewhere else before I find it late one evening.

  2. Mom 'n Ebby on December 8, 2016 at 3:28 am

    Mom sez: As long as what ever it is that is doing the “SCRATCH, SCURRY, SCRAPE” thing doesn’t bring the whole woodpile down on top of you. Hoping that particular critter has now found new winter quarters.

Leave a Comment