Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘chipping

Rewarding Effort

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The big lumberjack project enters its third day today and the weather appears to be holding just long enough that we can reach a satisfying level of completion. The area around where we brought down this tree is on a corner of our property that probably gets the least amount of attention, and now that we are poking around the vicinity, the potential for more clean up is becoming apparent.

There was a fair-sized pile of branches already on the ground beneath the bonus box elder limb that came down, swallowed by growth that obscured its presence. We could probably be chipping for longer than I intended, but I will be happy to simply process the new piles created since cutting the trees down on Friday.

While a farmer harvested corn across the road, I spent yesterday sawing limbs to pieces and pulling branches into piles to be chipped. Cyndie brought Delilah down for a visit and helped with the clean up until she ran out of time before an outing in the cities to see the Nutcracker ballet.

The quick onset of dusk forced me to stop with the logging operation and move on to horse chores. That has left a few more runs of hauling logs up to the wood shed and then some serious chipping for today. There are at least three piles of branches that I’d love to have processed, after which the project will feel pleasingly accomplished.

Already, the progress thus far is rewarding. Last night, in the bright moonlight on Delilah’s last walk before bed, I took her the long way around our hay-field just so I could walk past the spot to look at it another time.

Rewarding, indeed.

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Written by johnwhays

December 3, 2017 at 9:17 am

Crucial Assistance

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We couldn’t have gotten as far as we did yesterday without the generous support of my sister, Mary and her eminently capable husband, Tim. They showed up ready for action and made all the difference with the sawing and chipping.

Before they arrived, I succeeded in knocking down 4 of the 5 smaller trees, but the next step would have been a bit much for me, on my own.

For all the preparation I did, there was one important thing I neglected. The blade on my chainsaw wasn’t very sharp. Compounding that oversight, the spare blade back in my shop was labeled: “needs sharpening.”

Luckily, Tim brought his saw. Combining my ladder, his reach, and a few occasions with the pole saw, some of the many limbs of the 60-foot tree were felled without breaking the fence, although it did bend a couple times.

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We agreed on the time to stop working on individual limbs and take a crack at bringing the whole thing down, but there was still a lot of wood standing.

We tossed a rope up –using the technique of a weighted line I learned from my brother, Elliott– and I played anchor while Tim did the sawing. It was laughable to think my puny size was going to control what that tree would do. I felt it shift when it pinched Tim’s saw, but there it stood.

At this point, Tim talked me into moving the truck and tractor, just in case. We tried muscling that rope a few times, and then Tim called for the tractor. I backed up to put enough pressure that he could get the saw out and then stretched that rope to its limit. With classic cracking, the top of that old dead tree came over at a little bit of an angle.

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We got two-for-one, as it grabbed a wayward branch of the scrubby box elder tree next to it and snapped that as well.

The four of us worked diligently to process the results, but only put an initial dent in the ground work remaining.

Today’s chores will be much less dramatic. I’ll start by sharpening my saw blade. There will be a lot of logging cleanup action, but nothing as daunting as felling that big tree yesterday. Volunteers still welcome.

We couldn’t have done it without you, Mary & Tim. Thank you for coming over to play!

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Written by johnwhays

December 2, 2017 at 9:06 am

Chippin’ Brush

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With the lawn mowed and the piles of composting manure all in order, yesterday I was able to focus my attention on changing brush piles into wood chips. Once again, I found myself processing several preliminary steps to reach the point of being able to start working on the primary thing I intended to do.

I decided to let the chipper create a pile on the ground, so before I started chipping, I wanted to cut the long pasture grass down to the ground at the location where I would make the pile. I planned to use the Stihl trimmer to do that, but first I needed to change from a metal blade to nylon line for the job.

Next, I needed to solve the problem of a missing pin on one of the stabilizing arms of the 3-point hitch, before I could move the tractor and chipper down to the designated spot. When I was putting the tractor away after the last time I used it, I noticed the stabilizing arm was hanging loose, and the pin that was supposed to be holding it in place was missing.

It was a long shot, but I decided to look for the pin down near the spot where I had noticed the chipper swinging wider than normal when I was driving to put it away last time. I figured the unusual behavior probably started happening soon after the pin fell out. It was a little worse than looking for a needle in a hay stack, so I didn’t look for long.

I borrowed a pin from the ATV snow-plow blade, and was on my way. It was another beautiful day, and I remembered to take a photo before I started chipping, so I would have a comparison for how it would look afterwards. Little did I realize that it would also provide reference of how the beautiful day later turned gray in a matter of about an hour.

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I started working by myself, pulling branches from the pile and feeding them into the chute of the chipper, but soon recognized how much quicker it would be to have another person helping. Elysa and friends had come over for the afternoon, so I took a short break for lunch to see them, checked in with Cyndie, and mentioned I could use an assistant.

They were generous enough to come to my aid after they completed doing some exercises with the horses. Extra hands made a big difference, turning that pile of branches into chips in less than half the time it would have taken me on my own at the pace I was going.

It brought to mind this: I completely understand why farm families benefit from having a lot of children.

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Written by johnwhays

October 13, 2014 at 6:00 am