Time to Cut Firewood (The Thrill is Gone)

wooded scene in Alaska

I plan to spend most of the summer down in Craig, so it’s time to get my firewood in for the season so I have it done before I go. I cut down a big ass tree two years ago about 50 yards from our woodshed, and decided that would be my mission this season for firewood.

I got out the big boy saw, Stihl 041, that I bought from Ron when he left town. Bob sharpened the several chains I have for it. I filled the gas and oil, and as usual, after about 3 pulls, the saw fired up.

The tree spanned our little creek, and the part that was over the ground was held off the ground by its branches. I wasn’t sure how I was going to buck the whole thing, as the butt section spanned the creek and was about 7 feet above the creek bed. I started at the middle section of the tree, which was supported by a little berm on the butt end, and by numerous branches holding it up off the ground to the tree top. I used a 16 inch piece of ruler to mark the cut spots with chalk. I limbed and bucked rounds over the next 2 days, limiting my cutting day to one tank of gas. I’m not in a hurry and think doing a little a day will limit saw vibration injury to my arms.

The last two days, I was cutting the butt end that spanned the creek. I didn’t have a plan as how to safely do it, so I just cut from each end until all that was left was the section that spanned the creek. I knew I wanted to somehow get the section down onto the creek bed so it was on the ground. I was able to roll it a half turn with the peevee, but not all the way off the bank and into the creek. Then I saw it had rolled onto a root wad sticking up from the creek not far from one bank. That allowed me to cut some rounds from that bank to the root wad without pinching the saw. I was able to cut the root where the remaining log was held up, then roll it off the root and down into the creek bed. Perfect. I bucked up the section in the creek. Now I had the tree all bucked up into rounds, in addition to some other small logs I cut that I’d pulled down the hill last year.

On day 5, I got started splitting. I began with the wood in the creek bed. The butt ends were maybe 2.5 to 3 feet diameter, and split easily with the maul since they had few knots. I had to lob the pieces up from the creek to the garage side of the creek. I will have to split the pieces again that won’t fit in the stove, and then haul them down to the woodshed. The lobbing motion from the stream bed seemed similar to snow shoveling, and that was the special tonic for my hip, so all the work was feeling like physical therapy as much as work.

On day 8, I’d split all of the bigger rounds, and chucked the pieces across the creek. I stopped splitting for now and would see if what I’d cut would fill the woodshed. I’d leave the rest of the rounds for next year if it did.

The next 3 days I hauled the wood in a Rubbermaid cart Bob and I found on the beach years ago when we went hooter hunting across from the cabin. It hauls a lot of wood and is easy to move with the big wheels. Today I finished the last load, probably about the 20th or so wheelbarrow load, with a few pieces of wood thrown across the creek still there, and many rounds still on the other side of the creek. So a head start on next year. I have to say this was more work than enjoyment this year, but the satisfaction was still there when the job was done. I’m calling this 64 wood, as it’ll be 4 years till I burn this wood, and I’ll be 64 then, if I make it.

Subscribe to Mark's blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.