Lumberjack Time

The best kind of work

I should have known that replacing the fuel line would not be the only thing wrong with the chainsaw I purchased. After thirty minutes of trying to start the damn thing I gave up and grabbed an ax. I was not going to let the daylight I had left pass by without getting something done.

Over the past few weeks, I had spotted fallen trees and limbs that needed to be cleaned up. The cabin that doubles as my writing studio will need fire wood for the winter months if I expect to use it at all. I used a chisel to sharpen the blade and went to work. the first handful of trees I chopped up were by the house and the logs needed to be hauled back to the cabin. After a few trips with the wagon I took the ax towards the back of the property with me and went to work back there. I was surprised what I accomplished in two hours. Some of the trees were so old and dry they split in one swing. The loud crack of the trunk snapping in two told me my work was done. The stack grew and as three o’clock came around I felt one of the blisters on my hand open and my oldest daughter ran up the trail to see me. I could have continued working but there were other things to do.

Not having the chainsaw set me back with what I wanted to have done. I will say that cutting the wood with my bare hands was a work out that I needed. I forgot what it felt like to exert such power and strength in quick burst. That evening my shoulders were sore, in a good way. I knew my hands would hurt after they cramped up a dozen times or so while swinging the ax. In 40-degree weather all I needed was a long sleeve shirt and an insolated vest. The sun was shining and I could tell this was going to be the last nice day I would get to enjoy. Winter has been showing its ugly head around here and soon there will be no desire to go outside. Around here there are two kinds of trees. Pines and birch make up the landscape with a few others that try to poke their heads around here and there but they are hard to notice and most of them appear to be dead. Pine trees with do that to their neighbors, the needles turning the soil acidic making it difficult for other breads to flourish. The birch trees are rich in Chaga, a fungus that is sought after in Russia and japan. Hippies and the bohemian crowd try to find it for its healing properties. The Indians referred to it as tinder fungus, using it to start fires instead of a hot beverage.

The thorny brush out by the cabin provides black berries for the quail that live here. I’m not sure what the deer are grazing on but they come for the pond, a local watering hole. The bats keep the mosquito population low enough that you barely see them. There is a balance here and to disrupt it could create huge changes. The hornets need a predator, bird houses will go up. The bats need to stay out of the house. Bat houses will be put in trees. I have to believe that there is a way to keep the balance and find some harmony on the land.

I watched a red-tailed hawk soaring in the sky today. It dove down into the tall grass; it wings changing directions at the last minute like an emergency parachute as its talons dug into the rabbit it had caught. The hawk rocked back and forth trying to keep its prey. A minute later it rose into the sky, rabbit in tow, and hovered above the ground until it released the hare to fall to its doom. Cars pass by oblivious to this. I watch as nature continues to do its thing regardless of what man has done. We paved roads, put up power lines, cut down trees to grow grass, build large boxes to live in and yet nature continues to do what it does best. To be a farmer here is to prosper from allowing nature to do its best in your favor.