Clearing Storm-Downed Trees

When I was a kid, my family cleared acres of wilderness for gardens and for a six-bedroom house we built. Some of my (and probably my siblings’) most vivid memories are of hauling, for hours, day after day, spruce, hemlock and cedar branches down to the beach to burn. Then we rolled away rounds of the trees my dad had sawed and, when they were chopped, we stacked them.

     I thought of those days of youthful hard labor often when my dad and I tackled two storm-downed trees that had crashed down across our path to the waterline.

 I had carried his Model 66 Husky chainsaw over earlier. He had a newer chainsaw, a Stihl 311 that he’d gotten three years ago, but it didn’t have the power it should and nowhere near what the Husky has. My youngest brother Chris had found the Husky at a garage sale in Ketchikan twenty years ago. It didn’t run but he knew my dad could fix anything mechanical and he was right.

     It’s still going strong today and my dad sawed through the fallen trees with ease. He could power through when the rounds fell in and pinched–his Stihl would have been stuck.

 While he sawed, the chainsaw’s roar reverberating through the quiet forest, I hauled away the incredible amount of limbs lying around. Most of them weren’t from the downed trees, but from the trees around them that had been stripped when the two spruce trees crashed to the forest floor in the hurricane force winds.

     The limbs from the big spruce that broke and fell were as big around as my leg and twice as long. I wound up getting quite a workout.

We worked steadily for a couple hours as he sawed through first the big spruce, then the one beside it that had been uprooted when the big guy (about three feet in diameter) broke and went down. The wood of both were dry, though the big one had some rot–undoubtedly why it broke–and the rounds rolled easily as I moved them out of the way, in between carting away the endless quantity of branches.

     We will have a handy source of firewood to help us get through the rest of the winter once we get around to chopping up the rounds and sawing up the larger limbs. As anyone who uses firewood for heat knows, wood warms you twice: when you’re working up a sweat sawing, chopping, stacking and hauling it–and when you burn it.


2/28/2016 03:01:12 pm

Gee, and I was feeling good about getting in a 30-minute stretching session and a 45-minute aerobic workout. Now, I feel lazy. It’s wonderful that you are able to harvest the gifts of nature. The trees that fall around us are not good for burning. 🙁



2/28/2016 03:07:47 pm

That sounds like a pretty good workout to me, Sis! Especially the stretching, I should do more of that. It is nice to have a “windfall” of firewood practically at our front door. 🙂

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