Waiting For The Sounds

Chainsaws are loud even with earplugs to temper the noise. The dogs use the sound of the chainsaw to keep track of us humans while we work. If the saw is running, they are off exploring, chasing pesky squirrels or splashing in the river. Once the saw is shut off, the dogs make a bee-line for the source of the quiet to make sure we are still intending to work. Today, Butler was the one on duty with me while I worked.

White and black dog sitting in front of logs being cut for firewood.On this warm afternoon the dog was gone off on his own adventures while I was cutting firewood from the log deck. I had just run the saw out of fuel and took a moment to sit on a log for a breather.

Butler wasted no time in plopping himself right in front of me to inspect the reason for the sudden disruption in the sound.

Without a word he surveyed the scene assuring all was well and patiently waited for me to decide if I was going to fill the saw with gas or if I was going to put the equipment away for the day. Today, after a little break, I found that I indeed did have enough energy for another tank of fuel (run time about 30 minutes) and cut enough firewood for a full Gator load of 16 inch long pieces.

Butler promptly took off and disappeared until I ran out of gas for the second time. The scenario played out as before when he came back to check on me. This time however I did not have enough ooomph left to saw any more, or split the cut wood, or to load it into the Gator. Butler walked with me to stow the saw away and make my way back to the house. Both of us were tuckered out and looked forward to another day with me at the log deck and him on patrol.

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Let Me In

The weather has not been cooperating to be able to get the seedlings planted on the hill so we have been keeping busy with other projects around the farm. Snow and frozen ground have that job on hold while orders for firewood have skyrocketed.

Remember the commercial where the excited early shopper pressed her face and hands against the front door while chanting “open, open, open”? I’m not sure what the ad was about or what it was trying to entice me to buy,  but I remember the shopper clearly.

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Valentines On My Mind

I normally don’t pay much attention to the national Happy Sappy Day. Life on the farm doesn’t take a holiday and cows, cats, dogs or trees do not care for frilly cards, decadent sweets or promises of everlasting devotion. Showing by doing is the motto around here.

A heart shape scrar on a piece of firewood.While out in the barn bundling firewood, a natural heart showed up out of the pile of 16 inch wood blocks.

It was determined that the injury happened pre-mortem because the edges had sealed and formed a protective barrier around the edge of the heart.

It might have been simply because it was February 14 that the heart was noticeable and recognized, but it sure made me crave chocolate.

Racing The Snowflakes

It  was a very busy day as the forecasters were calling for snow to begin around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Weather warnings had been blurping on the news and cellphones for the last two days.

As soon as the morning chores were complete we all moved out to the bull barn where firewood bundling went into full swing. A completed pallet with 65 bundles was moved by the front loader tractor into the bed of the pickup so it could be moved into the garage where the wood can be stacked into the bed while inside away from any weather in preparation of delivery. (At this point you may ask if I ever get to park my car in the garage, sadly the answer depends on what project we are working on and the car doesn’t rank very high in the demands for the premium space). Continue reading

Getting Wood In Before Weather Change

16 inch pieces of firewood cut from log deck.The weekend was spent out at the log deck in a rush to cut several Gator loads of 16 inch wood before the weather changed from the mid 40’s to the possibility of snow.

From the looks of the deck, one would think that it had already snowed. But this is only sawdust left from  the previous day of cutting.

The 16 inch pieces will be taken from the pile and hauled into the barn where I have my cool Super Splitter, the tabletop centrifugal wood splitter. Once into smaller pieces, the wood will be stacked into 1/2 cord cribs that have been emptied over the last month.

I fell behind on filling the cribs since we have been spending more time going uphill to transplant seedlings in the logged areas of the woods. We do not like to transplant trees with snow on the ground so I may be out by the log deck since light snow would not bother the cutting process.

Ugly Wood

While making pretty pieces of 16 inch wood for the bundles there are many odd sized pieces that come out of the labor. Our wood fired furnace can burn any sized wood up to 3 feet long, but all those small, irregular pieces are a hassle to keep loading into the big furnace.

Rather than chunking them in with the large pieces, we load them into the pickup when heading into town and drop them off at my brother’s place. He uses the small, misshaped pieces for his shop stove. The small pieces are easy to light and are a good size sinceOddball pieces of firewood. his stove can only take up to 17 inch pieces. Usually a small fire is all that is needed to keep the shop comfortable while he works on projects.

It is a win, win,win. We get rid of the ugly wood, and he gets enough warmth to be comfortable in his shop, and he converts our elk meat into delicious smoked breakfast sausage, pepperoni and chubs of summer sausage. I really think I am getting the best part of this deal…