Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dan Bunyan

Ever chop down a tree? I will get back to that in a minute.

Last Sunday I spent the better part of the day at my farm property doing odd jobs all around the place, on the seemingly never ending quest to get the joint in order. The previous owners really let it go.

I took down some ugly fiberglass off a door and put two coats of primer on it. I gathered all of the firewood from all over the property and stacked it nicely in one area. Why were there so many little piles all over the place? Also, I watered many of the flowers that we have planted and did a few other odd jobs.

We have been looking at a sick apple tree for quite some time - it is only about 1/4 alive and we were told by an arborist that it didn't have long. I decided today was the day.

I fired up my chainsaw and warmed it up. For whatever reason I decided to do a few other odd jobs first.

When I went back to fire up the chainsaw, I. Could. Not. Get. It. Started. No matter how hard I tried. So I decided to fell that crappy tree the old fashioned way and went to work "Paul Bunyan" style.

I bought a decently sized ax a while ago for just such an occasion. This tree was only a foot in diameter. I am here to tell you, it is a lot of work cutting down even a small tree such as that with an ax. My hands and side muscles are still sore from all of the swinging. After I got it down, limbing the small stuff was easy as most of it was rotten, but the live parts, of course, were harder. When I got down to the trunk and larger branches I almost gave up. But then I decided to give the chainsaw one more go and thank GOD it started. I made short work of the rest of the tree and that apple wood will smell nice as it burns over a bonfire later this summer.

At times like this I think of how hard people like lumberjacks and pioneers of old worked. True, my cutting technique was probably not optimal when cutting the tree down, but even so, without power tools it is amazing that those folks that lived all that time ago were able to make ends meet.


Carl from Chicago said...

I did the same thing once as a kid in montana. It took FOREVER to cut down a tree that looked like a stick in a forest.

Then it fell on the only power line for miles and miles around. Still can't believe I did that.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Abe Lincoln said - if you have four hours to cut down a tree spend three of them sharpening the axe.

Dan from Madison said...

Good advice. The ax was plenty sharp. Honestly I am somewhat happy that I didn't injure myself after handling an ax, hatchet and chanisaw all in one 24 hour period.

Anonymous said...

Don't bonfire it. Use the chips in a smoker to get apple flavored smoked cheese or salmon. People PAY for apple chips...