Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wood ain't Fish.

Two hours of work got us half way on one tree
Split, stacked firewood. Very satisfying. It's the promise of a hearth crackling on a winter weekend. Book in hand. Sunday Times piled on the side table, spilling onto the floor. already read . Perhaps a nap on a Sunday afternoon. It's difficult to see all this on a dank, sweaty August weekend when you're turning two foot and occasional three foot oak and hickory rounds into something that'll burn.

Friday evening and Saturday morning Chris and I wrestled wood to the splitter and Ann and Sam stacked it. There's still more to stack and even more to split the result of five trees that were felled by professionals earlier in the week.

My body has assisted me in identifying certain muscles that I've not exercised properly in the recent past. There's this one on the outside of my right forearm that aches quite acutely. It's sole purpose appears to be for chucking split wood onto a pile. I haven't done that in some time. It apparently needed the exercise. There's also a handful of little muscles in my hand that seem to have an equal purpose.

The tree service took these trees and created an industrial accident. Cylinders of wood with raw ends piled as if a dump truck just delivered a load of piping that needs to be buried to serve some purpose.I find it very satisfying to split wood; to clean up the accident and turn those jumbled pipes into something useful.

When I was younger I used axe, maul, wedges and the like to get the job done. As recently as five or so years ago I enjoyed such tools. But something's turned during the past couple of years (my age, most likely) and now a hydraulic splitter seems the ticket. Though it doesn't relieve one of all the physical labor it sure helps.

Chris and I settled into a rhythm on the machine. We'd alternate the wood manhandling and the machine operating. At fifteen he's starting to fill out and was an able hand at all the physical tasks. I must say that at first I was somewhat hesitant to be the log loader while he worked the hydraulics but he took the job seriously, understood the dangers and we both finished the task with all body parts attached. It's very rewarding to see the boys grow into men. Especially men who are capable of helping with the hard work.

We got through about 20% of the wood on the ground. The big trees remain. No rush. This winter's wood was split and stacked last year so we'll get to the rest of this when the weather turns cooler. The tree in front of the house is gone which was the one we really needed to get done.

The weather on Friday evening and Saturday morning was perfect for fishing. Overcast. Cooler though still muggy. The local waters were a bit low but I had taken stream temps during the week and they were still fishable; especially at the ends of the day. I even saw a few splashy rises while taking those temps. Sunday evening, chores finished, would have been a nice time to wet a line.

But my aching muscles and general weariness kept me from the water. Sitting at a desk all week doesn't prepare you for eight hours of hard labor despite working out a few times a week. I now fully appreciate why a buddy gave up the landscaping business when he was in his thirties. The body bounces back slower and slower over time. I can mow the lawn. Trim the hedges. But any activity that requires more than 50% of my muscles to work at a single time over extended periods is no longer prudent.

So, no fishing this past weekend. Hopefully I'll make up for it come Thursday when a window opens in my work schedule. I hope to fish the Farmington with Jon and Don.

Not caught this past weekend


  1. Steve, I can relate to the slower recovery time the body needs.
    The small streams in my neck of the woods are doing fine. The water has been in the 64 degree range, and with the rains of late the levels have come up.

  2. Brk: Yeah, very happy to be in early August with the small streams still fishable. Was afraid that warm spell was gonna end things prematurely but plentiful water has made all the difference.

  3. Been working on my woodpile recently too. Winter is 'a comin'...

  4. E: Hopefully this year we won't get a Rocky Mountain winter like we had last year. Instead I'm looking forward to one of those sniveling east coast winters that we normally have.

  5. Steve - do you use a saw yourself to make the rounds, or do you entrust to another, knowing that weary arms are better than missing ones? I ask seriously as I'm considering buying a chainsaw.

    Yours, apprehensively,


  6. This time the guys who took the trees down did it but in the past, I've done it.