Forest Engineering Feats
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:14 AM [+]
Another beautiful weekend. Nice to be back on my way to work so I can rest.
Saturday we finished burying the "invisible fence" around the property. It's hoped that we will keep the dogs away from the chickens and also keep them from roaming unchecked in the neighborhood. It was a bigger job than I had anticipated and by the time we were done and had checked the loop with the power on (and repaired a break on of the dogs had rebelliously chewed upon) we had to start getting ready for Vespers. At some point during the whole process I noticed that Susan was breaking apart a small dead tree that had fallen partially over the neighbors driveway - which has an easement through our property. She'd gotten all the small branches broken off but was having trouble getting the main trunk snapped. It was only three inches or so in diameter and so I reckoned I shouldn't need to haul my lazy butt all the way to the woodshed to get my chainsaw, so I grabbed one end and pulled with all my might. The tree bent and bent and bent - much farther than I thought it would. Finally it snapped and I found myself flying backwards onto my back into the rocky dirt road. I'm not sure what I thought would have happened other than this. Thankfully my back seemed to have had no ill effects, but my elbow has seen better days. Note to self: don't be lazy...get the chainsaw and contribute to global warming.
Sunday after church our good friends invited us to come over and harvest a partially fallen alder of pretty good size. It was hung up in some tall cedars and so we carefully laid out plans to try and free it. The come along winch wouldn't budge it, so we opted to cut a wedge out and get it to collapse in the hopes that it would free itself. It didn't. Instead we ended up with a nice 6 foot long round and the rest of the tree still hung up in the cedar, though now at a steeper angle. Once again we tried the come along tied up as high as we could, to try and pull the tree free and keep it AWAY from their shed (a constant concern) - but no matter what we did we could not get it to move. And so we opted for another cut. And this went on for some time: cut, pull, cut, and pull. Eventually we had the now much shorter tree standing almost perpendicular, but still embraced by the cedars. Another pull and cut and it actually fell away from the cedar to get tangled in a new set of trees! Finally with a couple of hand pushes it was on the ground and the many sectioned tree was ready to be bucked up and tossed into the back of the truck.
I'm sore today...mainly I think from the pulling on the ropes to try and free the tree, but I'm sure the digging and stupid acrobatics on Saturday contributed as well. But it is a good sore, knowing that one has accomplished a good deal of work. There is something innately satisfying in sweat-of-your-brow labor...I don't know why, but it is far more satisfying to me than the brain work I do in the lab. Perhaps the muscular pain helps remind us that we did not waste our hours? They say exercise is good for depression because it releases natural endorphins, I imagine these mood enhancing factors are amplified when they are acquired by means that actually ACCOMPLISH something as opposed to running nowhere on a rotating rubber track. I dunno...but it is good and I do worry how long my back will allow me to do such labor.
Plus, I must say, having worked loud and powerful chainsaws and knocked down a tree with a good friend, there is nothing better than sitting down with a cold IPA and relishing in one's testosterone ridden forest engineering.
It also causes one to marvel at the work we humans are capable of doing. A few years ago I would not have thought getting a leaning tree like that down could have possibly been done with anything other than huge professionally run equipment. Shows what I know. Difficult to imagine the labors of our ancestors who felled such trees and built their homes without power tools. Raise a glass to them!