Today we mostly cut lumber from the trees that we’ve previously dropped. In particular, there was a huge oak log that Frank had dropped some time before the fire. We backed the truck up to it, pulled it out, and found that half of it had rotted away. Frank was convinced there was still some worthwhile lumber in it. After fighting with it, though, we’re not so sure. We got at least one oak stair tread for the entrance (which brings us up to 7 out of the 13 we need), but not much else.
There were some firsts today, though. Frank got in some new blades last week, so we changed the blade, with only a minimum of cussing and swearing to get it to happen. The next time should be even easier now that we are getting the knack of it.
I also got a lesson in running the sawmill, and did a couple of passes on a small log by myself. It’s really tricky learning this thing, though, because the whole time Frank is telling me and showing me what to do, I have the ear protectors on, the engine is running, and I’m mostly just watching what he does because I can’t hear a thing. I’d like to get a lesson some time when it’s quiet and I can hear the explanations even without an accompanying demonstration.
We used the truck to pull many logs many different ways today. I’ve gotten pretty good at backing it up into some tight locations, and because we still have a couple of trees blocking the front of the sawmill, it’s still pretty tricky maneuvering it about. At one point, we needed to move a pretty heavy oak log back because it had rolled too far forward when we were moving it with cant hook thing that Frank said was a peevee but now isn’t, so we attached it to the front of the truck and I backed it up. [Frank: First, it’s ‘peavey’, named after a guy named Peavey. Second, I didn’t know the whole story either. It seems a ‘cant hook’ has a flat tip. What makes it a peavey, which is apparently still a trademark, is having a spike on the end. Ours don’t, and thus aren’t technically peaveys even though they are made by Peavey Manufacturing. Sheesh.]
It felt like it was going to rain all day today. It was windy, cloudy, dark and threatening, but every time we were convinced this was going to be the last run or whatever because it was starting to sprinkle, it always passed. But because it stayed windy and cloudy, it was really nice to work outside all day long. The breeze was great and it wasn’t that hot because of the cloud cover.
All in all, the bottom line for the day in terms of yield was two ten foot 6x6s, one 3×12 oak stair tread, and a bunch of 2×4 for various projects. I’m trying not to listen to Frank when he tells us we need miles of 6×6 for everything we’ve outlined. But we have enough right now to put the first course down for two of the raised beds, and after we cut down two more trees, we can get those in place and start piling up organic matter into them. We’ve got lots of cardboard in the basement that we’d like to get out of the basement, and I’d really like the beds to be in shape to plant in in the spring, so here’s hoping those two trees get cut soon.
Unfortunately, yesterday we found a huge hornet’s nest under the deck where we were going to stack firewood. Frank’s pretty sure they are bald-faced hornets, which he yelled as one of them stung him. He didn’t seem to have a reaction, luckily, and he zapped the nest with one of those long-shot poisons. We can’t have them nesting where we store our firewood.
[Frank again. I used the same trusty can on a yellow jacket nest in the compost bin a couple weeks ago. I’m afraid we’ll never be true-green organic, because I’ll give up Agway Wasp and Hornet Killer right after I turn in my shovel. (But before I give up the chainsaw ;-)]