Monday, January 25, 2010

Cleaning up after "What the wind did"

Back in mid-December we had some pretty high winds which caused damage to some of our trees. What the wind did was to drop the top of an aspen tree right alongside our driveway. It was easy enough to drive around, but it needed to be removed eventually.

Aspen tree top lining the upper leg of the driveway

While we hadn't yet decided what purpose this wood would serve (it's crap for firewood, so it won't get burned in the wood stove), I convinced Dave that this would be a good opportunity for me to practice using the chainsaw. You see, I have a little bit of tomboy in me, and also a desire to know how things work, so it was no surprise to Dave that I asked him to show me how to operate the chainsaw not long after he got it a number of years ago. So, once we reviewed how to check the chainsaw's oil and fuel levels, and I donned the necessary safety apparel, it was time to put my Lumber Jill skills to the test. (Thanks for taking these photos, Dave!)

Safety first! Ear and eye protection, chainsaw chaps, steel-toe boots... all keep the operator safe!

Making some of the first cuts

Now we're getting somewhere!

Setting up the Timber Jack. This is an incredibly simple but handy tool that gets the wood off the ground, making it a tad bit easier to cut and keeping your chain from digging into the ground.

I was amazed at how easy it was to move this log with the jack. It was a pretty heavy piece of wood if I would have just tried to pick it up, but the jack made this maneuver a piece of cake!

Are we done yet? No, still got a ways to go...

Emmett blends in with the wood chips while I bring out the tractor.

After the wood was all diced up the next thing to do was to haul the it to an out-of-the-way location. The best tool for this is the tractor. That bucket can hold quite a bit of wood.

Driving in reverse is a little nerve-wracking for me, but I managed to get where I needed to go just fine. The wood now sits in a pile near the garage (but not up against it, in case anyone is wondering). No need to drive around a big piece of tree in the driveway anymore!

This post is the first in a small series that I am planning that centers loosely around the theme of "homesteading," for lack of a better term. I will be posting about some of the little bits of "rural housekeeping" that need to be done around here to keep things humming.

Not sure what "homesteading" really means? The definition has changed a lot since the 1800s, but there's a great article about the term (and what it means today) over at Mother Earth News.


KaHolly said...

You go, girl!!!

Jain said...

I pondered chainsawing years ago, whilst working some TNC volunteer workdays, but never worked up the courage for it. Brava!

Carol Mattingly said...

Loved this post Heather. Would give a million dollars to live where you do. Although I have quite a bit of city girl in me. I can see me attempting to use this chain saw. Keep them coming. I'm listening. Carol

Meg said...

Yee ha! You look like a pro weilding that chainsaw and driving that (awesome) tractor! Good for you! I must show John the Timber Jack...he just pulls muscles hauling the logs around manually--or I pull MY muscles trying to "help." A great article on homesteading, too. What a succinct definition of what it is we're trying to do.

Heather said...

Karen - Girl power!

Jain - They're actually not quite as scary as you might think, but still worthy of a healthy dose of respect.

Carol - A million dollars, you say? Ha - just kidding. Not too much city girl left in me.

Meg - The timber jack is great, but it's not really designed for hauling logs around. I suppose it could work in a pinch, ooching the logs along slowly, but not sure it's the tool you're looking for. Glad you read the homesteading article. Interesting, eh?

The Early Birder said...

Just great to see Lumber Jill at work. FAB.

Heather said...

Frank - Thanks! Good to hear one of the boys in the crowd weigh in on this one! ;)

NW Nature Nut said...

Look at you! Way to take care of that pesky tree!

Heather said...

Michele - Hee hee! It was so much fun (but hard work, too)!

RuthieJ said...

I loved this post! Lookit you go Girl!!
That's sure a pretty place where you're homesteading too!

Heather said...

Ruthie - Ha, I knew this would be right up your alley! Thanks for the comments - we feel very blessed to live in such a beautiful spot.

Joy K said...

When you get your next practice session with the chainsaw, you might check with your local elementary schools. Science teachers can often make use of "tree cookies," which are slices from tree trunks that show the growth rings. Small ones are easy to come by, but larger slices that are smooth are better for that kind of use.