Wednesday, 28 November 2012

I am not a lumberjack. Ok!

Today's sunshine galvanised me into gardening action this pm.  The sun might have been shining and there was no breeze, but it was still distinctly parky, probably no more than forty two degrees. The blackbirds agreed with me. Their feathers were fluffed out with trapped air as they tried to keep their core temperature up. The cold wasn't affecting their voices though, nor that of the small wrens singing  from their hiding places behind the twisting stems of the clematis.

Today's task was chosen with the temperature in mind. An old hornbeam had begun to lean over a few years back and a couple of large boughs were now practically at ground level.  It was time to assist them in their quest for terra firma. This was going to keep me occupied and warm for a few hours.

 To complete the task would need a chain saw. I had already arranged with a friend who is competent in their use and has all the protective gear to deal with the final coup de grace prior to Christmas, but I wanted to deal with as much of the task as I could with my trusty hand saw. I calculated that I could deal with the boughs up to where they were about eleven inches in diameter. 

Although it was green wood which I was sawing into it wasn't like cutting into butter. That is for sure. It wasn't long before beads of perspiration were coalescing on my forehead and dripping onto the ground. With the angle of the tree my starting cuts were effectively undercuts. Not easy with a hand saw and of course the downward weight of the wood was closing the sides of the incision around the saw blade. The opposite was  the case when I started sawing from the top. The blade then moved  cleanly through the wood. Despite my undercuts I knew that there would be loud cracks and a bit of splintering as the boughs fell to the ground. This proved to be the case. A bit of an arboreal mess. Still by the time I had bunted off the smaller twigs and branches and disposed of them, it didn't look too bad.. It was now a matter of moving the small and large timber under cover and cutting it and splitting it for burning in the wood stove two winters hence. By the time two barrow loads had been processed and stacked the gloom of evening forced me to cease operations. The blackbirds had stopped singing.

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