Monday, September 20, 2010

Think Before you Cut

I'm steadily clearing out rouge trees from the pasture. In some spots, the trees are sycamores a foot in diameter at the base, in other spots they're just really dense stands of locust, cedar, or elm, depending on the soil type, depth, and moisture. Since the pasture is on a north facing slope, some of the big sycamores were casting pretty big shadows. So I've cut them down and used the branches and logs to dam up gulleys. The leafy branches go in first and the heavy logs on top - it makes a good soil trap.

Below was a chinquapin oak that had to come down. This thing was trying to kill me. As I looked over it, there was just about every trap that could be built in this tree old barbwire strands running through the middle of the tree, a limb high up that would have caught and angled other trees down on top of me if I didn't cut this tree get the idea. Dropping trees is pretty safe as long as you're alert, take your time, eye your tree, back up, eye the other trees around, and your saw is sharp. The thing that really burns you is when you do something stupid like above. This limb was holding the felled oak up, and I did a stupid cut that pinned my Husq as you can see in the picture above. It took me about an hour to extract my chainsaw, and my extraction strategy consisted of a handsaw and beating the branch with a steel t-post driver. Eventually I was able to get the saw back out. The closest calls I've had happened on felled trees in this exact situation. It's a good reminder. Spending an hour banging on a log because of stupidity helps you pay attention next time.
In between bashing the limb with the t-post driver, I noticed a rough green tree snake that had taken an unexpected earthbound trip. He got away before the chickens found him and had a snakey protein snack,

The goats were quick to munch on the tree's leaves. Normally, they don't get access to oak leaves, so it was a welcomed treat. Chinquapin oak burns hot, not as hot a hickory, but it'll keep us warm next winter after it ages a spell.

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