Thursday, November 19, 2009


photo © susan arnold


Today I dropped some high and standing dead white pine trees. 75 feet tall. Sweetheart stood far away, but I wanted her to watch how beautifully they fell. So what the workmanship — it's the tree, the tree — the falling from grace. Dead and only to rot on the ground, though we will bust off the dry limbs for kindling. And if we were still tapping maple trees for making syrup, we'd grab all this deadwood for the hopper. After I dropped the trees the woods started to look cleaner and retrieve that old brown and green needle pine look of the healthier trees. Before I dropped the dead ones, Sweetheart said they reminded her of bears when she hikes through the woods and sees them. I have two more to drop but I'll save those for the next thrill day. They can kill you in a second with a widow maker or any damn thing since they're unpredictably tall and dead, so I have to be in the cutting mood. We also worked down on the river with the chain saw and wheelbarrow and scraped up a big load of dry apple wood we're burning right now. From river to woodstove. No middle man, except us, but we're part river and part wood.


Great weather has kept me in the woods with both chain saws. A tall and gangly cherry went the other way, which was no surprise; it was nearly straight up without much of a lean. What I didn't like after I cut it loose was that it took down an equally tall cherry tree. One I would have liked to save...but inspecting the root system later, curious why it toppled, I could see it wasn't long to go. On ledge and probably a heavy wind would take it. Also 75 feet to the tippity-top. Now I have both trees lodged up, and the knocked over one is hung up in a group of the afternoon got longer. I get paid to drop trees exactly where I want them or the customer would like them, so this was something different. I didn't care where it fell. I just wanted it down safely. But not into the other tree. Mucho firewood is the result. Today I'll go back and make more cordwood lengths, stack logs and buck up the larger logs no one can handle without a tractor. It'll be fine stovewood. Too crotched-out to make any sound lumber. But this felling is just the stories other choppers have. The one that got away. The one that made sure if it was going to fall it was going to take a brother tree along with it. Sweetheart hiked out to the job after she heard all saw work was quieted down and reminded me, "You said it could fall either way." In a woodlot you want the tree down closest at hand (this one is), and you just want no one hurt. The earth is waiting for what drops, however it comes.

Bob Arnold says, know where you stand but don't ever think you know enough

photo © bob arnold