Posts Tagged ‘Cutting firewood’











Before we left the farm for Virginia on our last visit, we took Bobby up to the pasture edge to mark a couple of hickory trees to cut for firewood.  He’d talked about wanting some hickory firewood the entire time we were there, and although there are many trees already blown down that would make perfectly good firewood, by gum it was hickory the old man wanted.  Said his daddy burned hickory and it was the best firewood ever.  Needed a couple of years to season, so he wanted to get some cut right away.  Even though we haven’t put a stove in the little house yet, and they only use the fireplace if ever the power goes out.  And he has a stack of oak all put by.  Still, he wanted to cut some hickory, and I like to keep him happy, so I said I was sure there were a couple that could be culled for such a purpose.

Rather than leave him to decide which trees to cut, I said we’d go mark a few for him.  He couldn’t understand why I cared about hickory trees, said they weren’t valuable as lumber, no one would buy them.  To which I replied, I have no intention of selling any of my trees for lumber; I’m building a barn and a house with them, thank you very much, and a good saw log is a good saw log, whether it’s hickory or oak or poplar or maple.

So we drove on up and started around the pasture edge, and I asked him to point out any hickories he saw.  Bobby knows his trees, that’s for sure.  Can tell them apart by the bark, at a distance even.  We came up alongside three trees growing close together right at the pasture edge, which he said were all hickory but the one in the middle was a shagbark.  Well shagbarks are good nut trees, one of the best, and this one was growing straight up and had about 14-inch diameter already, but the other two were right next to it and sharing water, sunlight and nutrients.  Cutting them would leave the good grower to prosper by itself.  So we marked the ones on either side, and I said they’d give him more firewood than he would know what to do with, and vetoed his suggestion to cut the huge leaning hickory at the corner of the field, pointing out the three good saw logs in its lower trunk that may someday take their place in the bents of my big barn.

A week later they had a couple of days of good weather, and Alene emailed me that he’d got them felled and was busy cutting them into stove-length logs.  He dropped the first one right into the pasture, but the second one he felled into the woods behind; I would not have, I would have directed it out to the pasture as well, it was only leaning a little.  No telling what good saplings were crushed as it fell, but it was only one tree and he drug it out with the tractor by its butt onto the pasture, so minimum damage was done.

I don’t like that he doesn’t wear any safety equipment when he operates his saw.  He’s a careful old man, and seems to know his limits, but he does things the old way, especially if there’s much money or trouble involved.  You won’t catch me running a saw without chaps and a helmet with a faceguard and ear muffs, and I could buy all that for him but I doubt he’d wear it.  He cuts up quite a few trees and branches that fall across the paths and into the fields, so it isn’t like he wouldn’t get some use out it, but he’s a stubborn and tough old country boy.  Reminds me a lot of a hickory tree.


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