Again with the song titles! Part of the problem is that I work with Ryan a lot, and he reminds me of all these obnoxious songs from the 80s as well as some cool ones (the title track is by Jackyl, by the way, and features chainsaw noises).
This weekend, I learned about cutting down trees. We have a LOT of trees that need to come down for many previously mentioned reasons, but I’m going to get professionals to do that. Because by “a lot,” I mean hundreds. No, this weekend was simpler. A friend of ours is planning to start shiitake mushroom farming, and he has offered to collaborate with us. For his part, he will “plug” the logs with special mycologically fortified dowels to start the mushrooms. Our part is to provide a pile of alder logs, which shiitake particularly like living in. Then, we split up the logs and each put them in our respective forests and wait. Luckily for us, we have a ton of alder trees that need to come down anyway because they are dangling precariously over the driveway, ready to come down in the next serious storm.
This is where Ryan comes in. He likes this sort of stuff, which is handy, but even better than that: he has an awesome chainsaw. It’s a light, powerful, NEW Husqvarna. Starts on the first or second pull, eats trees like a beaver. I’m extremely new to the chainsaw thing, and I am rapidly becoming addicted. It’s fun! So much cutting! But I am also well aware of how dangerous they can be, so I always work very slowly and methodically with the chainsaw, and always with a buddy.
Having said that, though, I know that caution doesn’t guarantee excitement-free working. The first tree of the day was a leaner (as many alder around here are). The fall area was clear, so I started the downhill cut. This is done in two passes, that intersect like a pie wedge, so that when the uphill cut (on the tension side of the tree) happens, the tree levers itself away from the stump and breaks the connecting strands cleanly. The thing you have to be careful about, though, is that since the downhill cut is in the compression side, you can’t go too deep, or else the tree will lean a little extra and bind the blade. And, with a zillion pounds of tree levering down on your blade, you’re never going to get that saw out.
And that is exactly what happened. I was JUST about to stop, figuring I was deep enough, when I found out that I indeed was. The saw lurched to a standstill, Ryan and I looked at each other, and he tried not to laugh. Or cry, since it was his saw. Luckily, I still have the same old rusty axe in my truck that’s been there since I first bought the truck in 1999. It did yeoman service, cutting the tree down the old fashioned way about two feet ABOVE the chainsaw, which by now was stuck in the tree like Excalibur in the rock. But when the tree was down, the pressure was released, and we were able to extract the saw, undamaged. And it made short work indeed of cutting the tree up into logs.
And now, for something completely different. Here’s a tasty deer, walking across the driveway as I was working. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry, and his antlers were oh-so-velvety looking. I hope he comes to visit again during hunting season. It would be both fantastic and extremely hillbilly of me to shoot him from my porch. Mark would be so proud. If only I had a hot tub… (prepare to be rickrolled!!)