Our next door neighbors weren't really a stone's throw away. They lived a few miles from us. Living like this means to always be prepared in a wide open space where there aren't many resources with the nearest store well over a half hour away.
From an early age, my mother taught me about kindness and to share. My father taught me to serve others and to think ahead. Mixing those teachings with wisdom I also learned by living with my grandparents was a tremendous blessing... I had to learn our language because that's what my Elders spoke.
From the time I could walk, I recall getting firewood with my parents. When I was younger, my mother would join our wood hauling trips often. She would make the most delicious meals and uplifted us with words of encouragement as my dad and I wrestled with the tree's.
While getting firewood away from home, one thing never changed and that's having a spare chainsaw, chain, axes, rugged tires, gloves and just about everything else down to toilet paper! Back then and even now, many places we get firewood from still don't have cell phone reception so having a great truck with much needed traction was always important because sometimes the good firewood could be down a steep and unforgiving hill.
Getting firewood every year with my father has been important because the ultimate goal has always been to help others with the excess firewood. At times in my youth I didn't like giving away the firewood because of the laborious work it required. Nowadays, it's simply spending more, valuable time with my mom and dad. They are slowing down and I'm doing more of the work, however it's time with them matched with doing some good. One day I will wear my father's shoes as our son continues this tradition.
When the day ends, there's a joyous feeling going to sleep knowing that others are going to be a little warmer because we took a few hours out of an afternoon. My parents have been tremendous examples to me living where neighbors aren't right next door.