Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wood is Hard Work - Chainsaw lessons

Last week I started cutting the trees that the excavator left me. (According to one of my homesteading books the term is "bucking.") This puny little pile is maybe 20 - 25 cuts, and boy is this cutting your own wood tough. The chainsaw is heavy, the wood is heavy, I have to get dressed up in protective gear to use the chainsaw, and then after 10-15 cuts it runs out of gas and chain oil and I have to bring it back to the house for a reload on fluids. Then, after cutting about half of this tiny pile the chainsaw started smoking and not cutting very well.

Now I'm new to this whole using a chainsaw business. I was pretty sure that something was wrong, but didn't know what it was. So I brought it back to the house, changed into "going to public places" clothes and took it to the local hardware store. This hardware store has saved my butt numerous times already, but it's not close. There and back takes about an hour.

That's where I learned that this is normal - chains need sharpening every so often, and they do it there for $5. Yay. When they get chains in stock again, I'll do like real country people do and buy a second chain. Lesson learned.

I suspect that most people that have well-paying jobs would just pay for wood that is already cut and split. This work is really hard! But I'm practicing for when I don't have a job or much money, and I think it's really good practice. Plus, and this is a big one - I think it will be REALLY satisfying next winter when I put wood on the fire that I've cut and split myself. This winter will be satisfying too. I bought the wood last December, but will have handled each piece 4 times by the time it gets on the fire.

All this wood stuff represents one of the most elemental parts of taking care of oneself, along with food and shelter. It feels good to be getting these skills.


  1. You betcha it means a lot to have the skill to know how to "take care of yourself!" What a sense of self-sufficiency you have to be chalking up on a daily basis.

    As far as the wood working being hard, I don't want to get into a man/woman comparison on any level, but there are a lot of the male gender out there who can't (or wouldn't even try to)do what you're doing. You go, Girl!

  2. I was at the doctor the other day for a routine checkup and they asked if I do any regular exercise. I told them I do outside work at my house. Apparently, this doesn't count as real exercise! LOL!

  3. For some inexplicable reason, wood working seems to be one of the most elemental, satisfying (in an exhausting kinda way), good-smelling aspects of living The Simple Life. So, well done! When it gets to that I-just-can't-cut-another-piece stage, just think of the bangin' bod you're getting from this free "gym membership"! ;)

    P.S. When you buy that 2nd chain for your chainsaw, but TWO more. Trust me, there will be a time when one is in the shop, and your 2nd is dull . . . and you'll be HAPPY for the 3rd!
    P.P.S. I'm REALLY enjoying your blog. It's the single one I take the time to read each day right now when summertime makes us so busy.

  4. P.S. (For the 3rd time!): I've always struggled with those forms at the doctor's office, too: How many times a week do you exercise? Ummmm, more than I can count since I'm trying to make a go at homesteading here! ;)

  5. Thanks Chicken Mama! For the chain info - and the compliment!