Sunday, November 15, 2015

Back to the Woods

Sunny, dry and about 50 degrees.  A perfect day to cut more firewood.  Of course, if it were truly perfect we'd be cutting wood for next year and what we needed for this winter would already be stacked and waiting but that's pretty much crazy talk so we'll just be glad it was a nice day.  For a blog about sheep and wool I seem to talk a lot about cutting firewood but it makes the very short list of essential jobs we do to keep ourselves comfortable.  Wood heats our large house and two workshops.  Paying for fuel oil to do the job would bankrupt us.

The sky was really pretty with unusual clouds and a ton of jet trails that didn't seem to want to disappear.

This time Andy headed for the woods next to the now-empty corn field.  Trees are always trying to claim open ground and the edge of the forest really needs to be clear-cut back a good fifty feet but for now we'll just cherry pick the meaty trees that will add up fast.  Unfortunately a lot of them are dead or dying - partly wet ground, partly ash decline, partly crowded conditions - and so getting them to fall properly was dicey work.   After an initial walk around while he scouted out which trees to cut I hooked Holly's leash to the butt of a log already out in the field where she'd be out of harm's way no matter what went wrong.

 "I can't believe you tied me up here like I was a bad dog."

"I will lay here in the sun with my back to you and shun you and plot my revenge.....zzzzz."

The trees really fought him all morning.  Standing so close together they interfered with each other and often wouldn't fall, just lean into other trees and not fall which of course is dangerous to deal with.  Thankfully, we rely on the logging winch to pull these things down from a distance.

In the video below, the standing tree in the center is cut through, just teetering on the stump, not toppling.  So, Andy hitched a chain on the butt and ran the winch cable back to it and used the tractor's power to dislodge it.  Of course it jammed against another stump and stopped, so Andy repositioned the chain so it would spin the tree and roll it away from the stump and then it could fall.  The very next tree got stuck at about a 45 degree angle and the cable was employed again to pull it off the stump..... and then it jammed against the first tree's stump.  Andy went in and cut the butt log off and then he could get it out. A lot of trees came out in shorter pieces. The winch cable is 165 feet long and making multiple trips back to the same tree, and then to other trees, plus carting the chainsaw around cutting the trees.....   Andy's a pooped puppy after a day of cutting firewood.

Here's a better view of the winch in use.  The blade is dropped and bites into the ground so the tractor has something to brace itself against when pulling.  The cable is activated by a pull cord so you can stand safely aside while operating it.  We usually bring out full sized trees when the woods don't fight back.  Once the butt of the log is drawn up to the blade the short logging chain is unhooked from the cable and secured in a slot on top of the blade which is then lifted to raise the butt of the log and off you go, pulling the log where you want it.

While we were gathering fuel to keep our home warm I noticed the remains of a robin's nest in a tree at eye level.  She had a nice view all summer and didn't have to worry about how to maintain it during cold months. I hope she raised a nice family.

And then I spied something that looked out of place.  Something horizontal when all else is vertical.

Yup, an arrow!  We do allow hunting for deer, turkey, bear and raccoon, deer in particular as they do so much damage to young trees and field crops.  (We don't allow trapping or hunting of coyote, fox, crow or other such critters).  Anyway, this one clearly missed the mark and became so embedded in the small tree that we couldn't dislodge it and I imagine the archer was peeved as those arrows aren't cheap.

The arrow must have been fired from very nearby judging from the depth of penetration into solid wood and the fact that the trees are thick as hair on a dog right there.  Some lucky deer evaded his date with Fate.  

Maybe we ought to leave the tree standing, for luck.

1 comment:

  1. I have a 40 foot Mulberry tree that fell in my pasture if Andy runs out of trees to cut.