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Exploring our new world

Snow on the neighbor's farm

By Saturday afternoon, the snow was a bit mushy on the bottom layers.  Trees began to shake themselves like wet dogs, tossing off their mantle of wet snow and turning back up to face the sky.  The cracks of falling limbs and trees slowed and finally stopped, and Sunday morning I decided it was time to explore our world.

Tree fallen under the weight of snow.I borrowed Mark's knee-high over-boots, put on damp jeans over dry fleece pants, and headed out to see what the outside world looked like.  I had to cross the downed power line, which I had skittishly steered clear of for the last day even though it was coated in snow and Lucy, Huckleberry, and a deer had all trotted across with no problems.  This time I was determined, though.  So I tucked Lucy's leash over her back and took a running leap across the white snake of wire hidden under the snow.

Nothing happened.

Lucy, of course, trotted over the wire behind me and waited for me to pick back up her leash.  We trudged down the driveway, past dozens of fallen tree limbs.  Some trees had ripped their whole root masses up out of the wet soil and toppled over, making me laugh that I'd thought a little leaf raking would do any damage to the forest compared to this catastrophe.

The cars were, luckily, branch-free, but the driveway between our parking area and the public road hadn't fared so well.  I counted seven full grown trees toppled across the driveway and when I reached the main road, I knew we would be stuck on the farm for a while.  Two trees had collapsed across the asphalt within sight and the road was unplowed.  I began to suspect that the electric company's estimate of giving us back our power by Sunday was a pipe dream.

Stay tuned for part IV.  Meanwhile, check out our microbusiness ebook.


This post is part of our Two Weeks Without Electricity series.  Read all of the entries:





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comment 1
Dangit! I just got a chainsaw for Christmas (I can tell by the shape. It's in a carrying case.) and if I were in Carrol County already (will be in April) it might be a fun winter drive to come out and help you get rid of those trees while practicing my as-of-yet-non-existent lumberjack skills. Oh well, there's always next winter!
Comment by Everett Wed Dec 23 22:09:01 2009
comment 2
Congratulations --- a chainsaw makes you a real back-to-the-lander! :-) I'll bet Mark would be glad to show you some of the tricks he's picked up over the last few years about how to cut safely. Maybe he'll even tell you sometime how he tried to cut down a huge tulip-tree with a tiny saw and got the blade pinched by the falling tree just as my mother and sister showed up to walk underneath... We've learned a lot since those days!
Comment by anna Thu Dec 24 18:04:26 2009
comment 3
Well I also got gloves, ear plugs and a face mask / helmet with it so all I need now are some steel-toed boots and leather chaps. I'll be all geared up because I'm about the most careless person I know. And that isn't a good trait to have when using a chainsaw! Have you or Mark seen any classes anywhere to teach you how to properly use the chainsaw with safety in mind, identify trees that make good wood, which ones need to come down, and how to cut them down in the direction you want them to go? For instance, I'm left handed so if I hold the chainsaw out in a natural way for me my right leg is out front on the same side as the blade. I have to switch hands or switch my stance. Which would be safer?
Comment by Everett Thu Dec 24 19:00:40 2009
comment 4

Hey Everett

Thanks for the comment Everett

I sort of remember hearing about one of those classes being offered by the forest department, but I can't recall any details. It sounds like you've got all the protection gear that's called for. Not sure what would be the safest manner about your leg placement, I guess most things are made for right handed people...reminds me of Ned Flander's Lefttorium.

The best piece of advice I can think of is to take it slow and try to be as much in the moment as you've ever been. Bringing down a very big tree is dangerous, and I've found that and added safety element is to have someone standing behind you that can see the bigger picture....maybe with a tennis ball in her coat pocket to hit you with if they need to get your attention because once the ear protection is on and you're in the zone you really get focused in on that tree and not much else.

It's also important to know when you're chain needs to be sharpened and not try to force it to cut on a dull chain.

If you feel like a tree is too big and out of your league don't be afraid to admit it and call in an expert. You'll probably learn a lot if you can find someone in your area.

I would close by suggesting some sort of recognition of the tree and it's sacrifice just before you end it's life. This will help to pull you closer to the present and perhaps make you feel a little better about what you're about to do. I also do this before I "retire" one of our chickens.

Good luck and happy cutting.

Comment by mark Sat Dec 26 18:34:24 2009

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime