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Saturday, April 05, 2014

You do that when it's raining

It's raining off and on, but I hear a record high may be heading our way, which would be a shock to my worn-out body if I tried to do the heavy stuff in it, so I get out in the grey mist and have a go at the remains of the big ash tree. It had loomed over the end of the driveway and the power lines and the main trunk had suffered from heart rot -- always very common in Oregon ash, though a friend tells me that all trees are suffering now from pollution. It was throwing branches in windstorms and in the recent ice storm, so the electric utility came to have it down and we asked for the wood.

We do heat the house and cook with wood, and it heats our dishwater. Our theory is at least it's not fossil fuels or nuclear. To the extent possible we grow our own on short-rotation coppice, but to get one these big ones is a real bonus. We have about eight more but won't go after them unless we have to. The replacement trees are already growing in their shadow, meanwhile.

You can see my little system pretty well here. There is a used pallet on top of the blue wheelbarrow, with a slot cut in the pallet, and an electric chainsaw reduces smallwood to 16" size for mixing with the bigger pieces.

I use a six pound maul (can't really handle an eight anymore) to knock slabs off the rounds, which I bring over on a hand truck, one by one, from the heap left by the workmen. It really helps that they cut the rounds to size. I stack twenty slabs and twenty small bits at a time. Many of the little pieces are actually cut with pruning loppers. They become part of the kindling routine at the woodstove.

Today, you can see, I'm done with the back row and have started the middle row. This woodshed is three rows of 16" wood deep. I built it in 1994, hence the moss. I'm taking lots of breaks. You do that when it's raining and you're a few weeks shy of Medicare.

Update. Day Two.

It's a little drier out and Son is here to help, as a few of the rounds from the main trunk of the ash are too heavy for me in my old age. He wrestles them out and rolls them to me. I bust them up. then he hands me the pieces to stack.

Second row in the woodshed bay is finished by the end of the day. We knock off to watch a Sergio Leone film together.

Update. Third day.

Now it's hot out. Well, to me it's hot: 75F, according to Intellicast. So I'm moving much more slowly, plus sore from the preceding two days.

Also, I'm working farther from the house. There are some big oak branches that came down in the ice storm. I can't get the ones in the creek right now, but there's plenty to do in the pasture. Which also needs mowing. So, first, three wheelbarrow loads of grass clippings to the garden, to make it easier to roll the wheelbarrow with wood, then saw up and transport four wheelbarrow loads of oak to the woodshed.

And that's a day:

These branches are quite mossy so I'm stripping and saving that, along with the usual sawdust. We have no log buildings to chink but it will come in handy for something ....

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