Pat and I just got back from the cabin. With the early thaw we have going on this March I thought I should get my wood cut for next winter's heating season. At my age I like to cut the 2 ½ cords of ash wood here in shorter days. So I spread it out a bit and mix in tax prep and shop work. It’s amazing how 3-4 hours of felling trees and moving logs around helps you to recognize the many muscles and joints that are within the human body. Thirty five years ago I made part of my winter income working in the woods. I and a partner would cut saw bolts, firewood, and fence posts. We would sell the fence posts and firewood and kept the saw logs for our saw mills in the Spring and sell the lumber we produced for cash. Our logging operation consisted of chain saws, a loader tractor at the landing, and a John Deere cable skidder. Pretty much obsolete these days with the logging equipment of today.

A man in Carhart Overalls, sawing felled aspen beside his Toboggan Sled

I truly enjoyed my firewood cutting today as when I was younger I spent a lot of time running a chain saw and learning the art of handling logs by hand. Today I have a chain saw, picaroon, and a cant hook for handling the wood. I use my snowmobile and toboggan for skidding the wood out. I pack the trails the day before and let them freeze overnight in such a way that I can fell trees across or alongside the skid trails. It is much easier to get 8’ logs out of the woods and into the wood yard on a toboggan rather than hauling out cut firewood by hand in small stove length pieces. If you fell a large tree the wrong way or have it hang up on another standing tree you can make a lot of extra work for yourself. So there it is a bit of a challenge and a lot of satisfaction to get your wood in with minimal efforts and wear and tear on the body.  Besides the ash firewood I have been cutting one cord of popple wood (aspen) at our hunting camp because it is quite handy and there is lots of it. However, the biggest reason is that I like the smell outside and the sound of “popple” as it burns! Also when it gets more seasoned it starts and gets hot faster than other hardwoods in the stove.

We use it primarily early fall and for the first fire of the morning. We load the stove before going to bed and not during the night so there is usually just a few embers left in the morning. I really enjoy my first cup of tea next to a lively and hot popple fire in the wood stove! We left Wednesday afternoon and had the stoves going in the cabin by 5:00 pm. I went out and made my trails and cut a couple tree’s to start my wood pile. The following morning Pat slept in and after a cup of tea I went out on the frost and got my tree’s down and cut into lengths. Then back to camp for another cup of tea and breakfast a little past 9:30. Went back out until 1:00 and got everything I’d cut hauled in and piled. After lunch I went out and cut two more tree’s to make my cord. We were packed up and on our way out of there by 3:30 on probably one of the last days we will have enough snow. I like it when a plan works out.




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