If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 27 September 2010

Logging Operations

"Wood warms you twice," my mother used to say. "Once when you cut it, and once when you burn it."

She wasn't wrong there. Today I got my own logging operation up and running. I have a large stack of timber that has been sitting in a corner, gently rotting, for a number of years. Some elm, some cherry, all between 3" and 6" in diameter, mostly sodden on the outside, but still with good heartwood. I cleared a corner of the paddock which is sheltered under some trees and using the small car trailer I have as a kind of mega-wheelbarrow I carried my first load there. Then I visited Anna's mother's old house (still empty and up for sale) and appropriated an ancient saw-horse that I had my eye on. I hope nobody wanted it. And then I got the chainsaw out and filled it with oil and 50:1 two-stroke mix. I grabbed the splitting maul and took everything to the paddock. And then I got to work.

Even with power assistance, it's heavy work lugging the logs on to the saw-horse, cutting them up and then splitting them to stove-friendly dimensions. By the time I had done the first trailer-load (1 trailerful = 3 wheelbarrows of cut logs) and stacked them in the shelter, I was done in. But seeing the newly-repaired end of the log store being filled up with my own logs - free, apart from the cost of the petrol for the saw - was very good. The wood I did today is so wet that I don't expect it to be ready for at least a year, but stacking it at the back of the store ready to let the wind do its desiccating work was a bit like buying a good wine for the cellar - it's that feeling of laying something down for the future which is so satisfying.

And it's real Man Stuff, too.

Now that I have all the gear in place, I will be able to do a bit at a time, which at my age is probably the only way I am going to get a big task done. The days when I could have cut, sawn, split and stacked a ton of logs in a day are gone. From the quantity that I managed to achieve today, I reckon there are another ten similar sessions before I fill the first bay. Eating an elephant, kind of thing.

The first barrowload was celebrated with a can of beer and a nice sit-down.


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