Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Wood Work

Back in August, I wrote about rough-splitting the cedar rounds to the point where they could at least be moved, although they were still too large for burning. The idea at the time was that we would rent a splitting machine and spend a weekend feeding the logs into it. However, Lisa reconsidered this for now for various reasons, including the fact that we have at least two years' reserve wood already in burnable size and don't have a pressing need to get the cedar split down more. On the other hand, we really don't want to leave the pile of logs out there all winter to rot, so on Friday and Saturday, Lisa hitched up the utility trailer and we moved the rough-split stuff under cover. The wood shed here has a sort of lean-to arrangement attached to it that will keep the logs out of the rain and let them dry out for a year or two before they're needed. By then, they can either be hand-split more easily or someone can go rent a splitter then and still have an easier time of it.

The utility trailer was out of service for more than a year before we got it repaired and repainted. What a huge difference it makes to have that trailer usable again!

It took three trips with the trailer to move the rough-split cedar. We could have done it in two, but that would have put too much weight in the trailer. As it was, Lisa had some difficulty with the John Deere mower getting bogged down as it tried pulling the trailer on the first load. This picture shows the now-vacant space where the split wood was. The pile in the foreground is the burnable-size pieces that still need to be moved indoors to the main wood shed. This work is slightly less urgent because Lisa can lift these pieces and work on moving them at her convenience, whereas the large rough-split pieces need both of us to shift them. I'm just grateful we have the trailer in service. Moving this stuff with the little hand trailer would have taken a month!

There are still several pieces of the maple tree cut last year that need splitting (plus the poplar tree cut earlier this year). The brush had grown up over the maple rounds so badly that I couldn't get at them. On Friday evening I attacked the brush with the clippers and cut it back far enough to get all but one of the rounds rolled back out into the open. One round wouldn't budge. Lisa came over and tried to help me with it. We then discovered that when the tree was still in one piece, it had grown around a metal fence post, and this specific round still had the post embedded in it. On Saturday, before we moved the cedar, Lisa brought the John Deere over, threw a rope around the maple round, and pulled the whole thing out of the brush. For good measure, the fence post pulled free from the log while she was doing this. You can see the mangled fence post draped over the Monster Maple Thing in the middle distance. Ghod only knows how we're going to get that thing chopped down to size.

On the path from the cedar tree to the wood shed stands the Kevin Eating Tree. At least that's what I called it as the thing kept grabbing at my hat as I walked through the area. The old half-rotten tree really needs to be completely removed, but we didn't do that; however, we did go after the most-rickety pieces of it.

Lisa moved the utility trailer into place under the branches marked for removal. This gave her a stable platform from which to work with the electric chainsaw. It's not visible here, but behind and to the left of this photo is a pump-house with electrical connections, which makes it viable for Lisa to use the electric chainsaw in this section of the field.

I bashed my right thumb on Friday evening and it had swollen up by Saturday, so I couldn't grip things easily with my right hand, but I did what I could to help with this job. As Lisa cut pieces of the branch from the tree, I pulled away the brushy bits and worked on reducing them somewhat with clippers.

Besides the branch that kept grabbing at me, Lisa also removed the branch that was menacing one of the out-buildings. Ignoring the brushy and rotten bits, there were even enough burnable-sized pieces to make 1 1/2 hand-carts of wood for the wood shed, which should be good for a day or two of heat someday.

Having dealt with the tree as much as we were prepared to do for now, Lisa and I started filling the trailer with the resultant brush and hauling it to the "coal seam" (the old dry stream bed we use to dispose of yard debris). It took us three trips total, including one to collect the maple brush clearance, but again, this was much better than it would have been with the little hand cart. (Incidentally, there's nothing wrong with Lisa in this photo; I just had bad timing when I snapped the shutter while she was reaching down to adjust something on the mower.)

With the rough-split cedar and the Kevin Eating Tree disposed of after three or four hours of work, we called it a day. Lisa made us a big lunch that I think we'd quite definitely earned. I also felt no guilt at all watching the Giants-Phillies game over at Lisa's father's house, as for today, at least, I'd earned my keep on his property.
Tags: fieldwork, lisa, mehama
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