Sunday, October 11, 2009

This year's woodcutting

It might be the only woodcutting I do this year, depending on how time and weather coincide in future weekends, but I dropped three trees yesterday. Or two and a half, or something.

The first was a tamarack that was pretty rotted through, at the corner of the lot, which was the one closest to being a true hazard tree. It was down in less than five minutes, and dropped precisely where I wanted it to drop. But it was too rotted and too soft to be of any use for firewood, so I cut it into 12' lengths (or so) and tossed them into the woods, where they'll be good habitat. (The stump still has a hollow where once a bat was found -- I didn't check to see if a bat still lives there, seems like it's none of my business to go peeking.)

Two years ago when I first got a chainsaw I felled a dead pine and did a poor job, causing it to fall into the crook between the twin trunks of another tree (a hardwood but I don't know what kind). It's been hanging there ever since. The hardwood was also dead, so I felled it yesterday. That one took a good fifteen minutes, but it was also picture-perfect. On cutting the felling notch I wasn't sure if I had gone far enough but I didn't want to go too far: the avenue of escape wasn't as clear as you might like, and with a second tree leaning into the first, I felt sure how it would fall but didn't want to play any risks. So I stepped back and waited for a breeze rather than moving in to finish the cut. And it fell precisely how I intended.

Better, even. The hardwood ended up balanced with both ends in the air, one supported by the pine, one supported by a rock. It made it very easy to buck what would otherwise have been quite tricky. The top half of the pine was too rotted to use, but the bottom half got bucked, so I got a tree and a half out of the three trees I felled. The wood's all going to sit on my lawn to season until spring, by which point I should have a better idea how well my current wood supply will have run down, and whether the current seasoned-wood side of my split woodshed will be clear enough that it can become the new green-wood side.

There are still about six more trees in the yard I put red Xs on, but only two of those are ones I'd really like to see down sooner than later, and both of those are too big across for me to feel comfortable attacking with a 14" chainsaw. Not sure what I'll do about those but I won't do it this year, anyway. If I feel up to it maybe I'll take on one or two of the others this year, though. Maybe not.

The new chainsaw has no toolless tightening which is a pain, but it keeps working... or maybe I've just gotten better at avoiding the problems that kill them. However, I can no longer make fun of the people who require all those instructions on how the blade goes on, because having popped it off, I put it on backwards.

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