Usually I start getting in my firewood in April, but due to my knee injury and surgery, I couldn’t this year. I could probably have started sooner, but I just didn’t trust the knee enough yet and when working with wood, you need that trust. I tried operating the chainsaw on some small projects earlier and the knee didn’t feel right while doing it.
When operating a chainsaw, I believe that you need to move quickly from side-to-side and be able to step on/over brush without loosing your balance or have the knee suddenly buckle, because of pain or lack of strength. The side-to-side movements with being able to step up or over something and then have the strength to stand on one leg wasn’t good enough for a long time due to the knee surgery that I had in May.
Finally, my knee has finally progressed to the point where I can do all of those things and I feel comfortable running a chainsaw safely. So now it is time for a very simple and old-fashioned workout program of being an amateur lumberjack for the next few months.
Have you ever ran a chain saw for an hour, moved brush and then split wood with a splitting axe for another hour or so, trust me it is anaerobic, aerobic and strength training all put into the same workout, at least that is how I am going to look at it. I know that my T-shirt looked like I had been swimming from sweating so much.
I hate, hate, hate downing trees, especially if they are close to power lines or by the house/garage. That is the time when most accidents happen and people get hurt or damage something. I have had too many instances of trees – not doing what they are supposed to do. Therefore, I have a very healthy respect when dropping a tree and try to do it very carefully (even if some of my friends don’t believe that statement). Last year I dropped a tree on my truck, when it lodged in another tree and I had to pull it down.
If I have any question about my ability to safely drop a tree – I pay the professionals to do it. There are 7 trees that I am having dropped sometime in the next couple of weeks, simply because of where they are, is beyond my ability to drop them safely. I am finally learning that I can’t always do everything safely by myself. I will do everything else, all the pros are going to do is put them on the ground.
It may not be the most frugal way to cut down a tree, but I would rather be safe and have it done right. Instead of having something bad happening that could have been prevented by spending a little money – no matter how tight the money might be. Sure I might be able to barter some of the work or ask some friends to do it, but then there is the question of liability if something bad does happen. In this case it is cheaper in the long run to pay the professionals.
My plan until the professionals take down those trees is to do a tree most days until they knock down those trees and then keep going until I have enough wood to get through the winter and hopefully have a couple of cords ahead for next year to season.
So here is what I got done today:
I doesn’t look like much, but it only took about 3 hours to get this far. No it wasn’t the biggest tree, but it was easy to put on the ground (it had a good lean), got it limbed, cut to stove length and 95% split. I started making mistakes with the splitting maul and decided to call it a day – the truth was I was freaking tired.
For my first day back to working wood, I feel it went really well, but tonight I am definitely paying for not being in cutting wood shape yet. Tomorrow I plan to finish up the splitting, move the wood to the temporary drying area and then chip the remaining branches where the wild raspberry bushes will be growing back.
As you can tell I have a very healthy respect for chainsaws and trees, and the dangerous combination that they are. But I also enjoy heating the house with a renewable energy source, so I have a lot of trees to do safely before winter comes, to add to what was left over from last year.
So here is to my whole body fitness routine and weight loss plan – Amateur Lumberjack. I just hope that those 20 pounds or more that I need to get rid of melt away. Until I get back in the groove (in shape), I won’t have a lot of energy for my running routine – or need.
Like they say, cutting wood warms you twice, once when you cut it and again when you burn it.Are you doing the right thing for the right reasons?