Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Two things happened to get Lee and me in the woods, today. First, it is getting colder and Lee has been looking into something to keep the shop a bit warmer in the winter. Not warm, just not freezing. Last year he got a heater that attached to the propane tank we use for the grill and it was not enough. Now he is considering a wood burning stove. After all we have wood to burn up in the woods...get it???
So, last night found us driving to Vinton after dark to look at a stove we found on Craig's List. It wasn't until we were partway there that Lee said that he hoped we weren't heading to our doom. (Cue scary music) Perhaps we were being lured there to be murdered and robbed as has been done in the past. The house was old and had narrow hallways and the stove we came to look at was in the basement. The dark, scary, under lit basement. The dank ...OK, you get the idea.
Suffice it to say, the stove was too small for our needs and we left, all in one piece. In fact the owner was the youth pastor at his church. I called Tara on the way home and we decided I would clue her in next time we go on a "dangerous" excursion. What if we were killed and there was no one to feed the animals? And when did things get reversed and we have to check in with our kids? I thought that was WAY down the road!
The second thing that happened was the loss of some big trees. I mean really big. Oak tree from Daniel Boone days big. (OK. I am a child of TV in the 60's. I have no other reference point for way back when in some vague place close to here.) It seems to be the neighbor's tree, but it has fallen into our "yard". When you have around 60 acres, yard is not the right word, but work with me on this. We have about 10 to 15 acres of woods up to the ridge line and the neighbor behind us has about the same down the back side our the hill behind our house. He runs cows and sometimes a tree will fall and take out the barbed wire between our two properties. Then we get bovine visitors. RJ LOOOVES bovine visitors. Or maybe the right word is hates them. At any rate he runs and barks at them. If they run home, this is very fun. If they stand there staring at him he has no clue what to do. Except more running and barking. All of these things are fun for RJ.
So now a HUGE tree is blocking our trail to the top of the ridge and it has knocked down the barbed wire. We don't have cows here, yet, so maybe he has sold them or moved them to another pasture. Or maybe it is just a matter of time, but we have to do something about it.
Lee and I went up to cut enough to at least allow us up the trail. This is no small undertaking...remember that whole big tree thing? Lee used the chain saw and I used the loppers and the machete to get the smaller branches off. These we moved to the side of the trail to be dealt with another time. The trail is maybe 5 feet wide and we cleared it and loaded the wood worth burning into the truck. The plan was to cut them into lengths at a future date. We loaded until we were too tired to heave the logs up any higher. We barely made a dent in the tree.
Enter Roy Gross. On my last visit to the library, Jackie told me that Roy had cut up a tree for her. She didn't have to deal with a dead tree and Roy got some free wood for his fireplace. So now I have placed a call to Super Roy. (Faster than a speeding delivery truck more powerful than our too small chainsaw.) He will be coming in a few days to see what he can do. I hope he has a big chain saw and then we can cut the tree into lengths that the tractor can pull down the hill. We don't want to chew up the road or have the trunk slide down the hill and take the tractor (and Lee) with it!
It might not be possible, but I want to try and use part of the trunk to make a bench. I have seen them where a wedge, one quarter of the circumference is removed and then legs or saved portions of branches are used to fashion a bench. I don't know if I'm capable of fashioning one that is comfortable or at least usable, but I think it would be fun to try. I have some wood carving tools I would like to use and surely there is enough wood to sand out any errors, or chainsaw any errors, and try again! I'll let you know.
After 4 years of living here, I have finally worn out my leather gloves. I thought I could keep using them, but the middle finger is worn through and every time I threw a log on the truck it scraped my finger. So out with the old and in with the new. As for the title of this piece, I will have you know that that is the comment Lee made when he saw how much work this little project was going to be. So all of you shaking your heads and commenting on my lack of decorum, shame on you :-)!