Friday, April 1, 2011

Bowing to Reality

I have had to bow to some realities recently.  Both acknowledge my fallibility and mortality.

First are my chainsaw chaps. I spend a bit of time by myself in the woods, clearing brush and cutting firewood.  If something were to happen, it could be bad.  So, I wised up and got some more protection.
They add some warmth, which is not always great.  But the guy at my saw shop saw a demo in which they instantly stopped a gas saw that hit them.  They do so by shredding and clogging the saw, which stops it.  I hope to never see that in person.

Next is my new forearm strap.

After digging the post holes for our pasture fence, my elbow hurt.  Inward pressure, even pushing my hands together while washing them, cause it to hurt. Not terrible pain, but the kind that feels like damage, not a strain.

After a 6 months of this, I realized it was not going to just go away.  So I got it looked at.  It is called Golfer's Elbow, like Tennis Elbow but on the inside of the joint.

I had worn a forearm strap while working, but learned I need to wear it all the time.  The strap allows the tendons at the elbow to rest and recover.  It does feel better, after a few days, so I am optimistic.

Finally, a look at my woodcutting world.  I am still trying to catch up with all the down timber on the property.  I have to make some value judgments about which ones to cut up.  Many have started to rot, and I have to weigh the effort vs the value of the wood.  This tree is almost perfect, with only a 1-2% rot, so I chopped it up.
Getting to it was a pain.  A significant stand of scotchbroom and backberry had grown up around it.  It took me longer to clear a path than to actually cut up the wood.  Then I need to schlep it out, drive it up the hill and stack it.  It will be moved once more, to the city house, where it will be split and stacked.  

That old saying that firewood heats you twice is not quite right.  More like 4 times.


  1. Oh I feel your pain! We're in a bit of the same situation, trying to clear a messy ole' farm up. Do yourself a favour and get a Stihl hardhat with eye and ear protection, as well as a pair of safety mitts for the chainsawing. Also, don't know if you hand-split your wood yourself, but a Gransfors axe from Sweden is a must-have. Worth every penny, especially with your golfer's elbow. Agreed, there's nothing better than the heat from a good fire.

  2. Hello Shim Farm. Thanks for reading. It is nice to know there are others out there cleaning up messy ole farms.

    Thanks for the tip on the Gransfors axes. That looks like some really nice cutlery. I will have to put it on the list of things to keep an eye out for.

    Since I share splitting duty with my father-in-law, Phoebe suggested getting a gas-powered log splitter. It has been great, allowing him to bust up several cords of wood without overworking himself. I still prefer to use a maul, and this year we tag-teamed it, with me breaking up the rounds to manageable size and him finishing them up on the splitter.

    Now that spring is here, wet as it is, we are not burning so much. We have a lot of fir bark that we are using in the morning and evenings. It is just right for taking off the chill.

    I have mixed feelings about our nearly empty woodshed. Happy that we used it all up, as some of the oldest stuff was getting a bit pithy. Sad to see all that space that will need to be filled up in the fall. Ah well, still beats the oil furnace.

  3. I so agree with you, nothing takes the chill off the evening as sitting beside a toasty wood-stove. Our back-up heat is electrical (we have notoriously cheap Hydro rates here in Quebec), but we barely used it last winter. With the house completely insulated now, just the heat from the wood-stove is enough to keep the main part of the house very comfortable.

    We split our own wood, and burned through about 5 cords of wood this past winter, which isn't over quite done. With -7C (about 19F) forecast for the next few night, we're not out of the woods yet, pardon the pun. We have large logs delivered from a local sawmill, which Eric cuts with his trusty Stihl chainsaw, and splits with the Gransfors. How I long for a gas-powered log splitter, but it would take so much of the fun out of winter for Eric, who enjoys splitting wood at -20. Me, not so much...

    Keep up the good work, it looks like things are coming along nicely at your place. I'll be keeping tabs on your progress. All the best from Cedars, Quebec.

  4. Ah it's good you got some chainsaw chaps. Lee is super safety conscious so he always has whatever protection gear that is necessary for the job on. He has also been drooling over the Gransfors axes for a long time.


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