Wood Cutting is Here


Not my fines hour.
Not my finest hour.

I tried something a little different for my first two trees of the season.  It was a bad idea.  I’m not a skilled lumberjack.  In fact, I am not a lumberjack at all.  I’m just a wilderman who loves Rolling Creek, in the Pike National Forest, just outside of Bailey.  There are two dynamics to wood cutting season: 1) necessity; and 2) its good for my soul.  

Wish the dog knew how to run the chainsaw.
Wish the dog knew how to run the chainsaw.

 I have a chainsaw that goes by the name of “Stihl 026”.  Its a relatively small chainsaw.  When I bought it, used, from a guy with what appeared to be a trustworthy countenance, I felt pretty good about it.  I still do.  It has served me well.  I’m quite thankful for it.  The gentleman said that is should serve my purposes sufficiently.  I have 1.3 acres thickly populated with evergreens, aspens, the classic lodgepole pines.  So, if you look at the compatibility between my chainsaw and the wood cutting that has to happen, there is a bit of tension there.  Bottom line?  I need a bigger chainsaw: not much bigger, but … bigger.         Now, back to my fiasco with my first two trees that I cut down, this season.  Here is what happened:

    1. The chainsaw is not as powerful as it once was, I used my axe … chopping down at an angle on all four sides of the tree;
    2. Guide ropes? Yes, usually … but not this time (OOPS!!);
    3. I thought I knew exactly where the trees were going to land;
    4. When time came for each tree to fall, they both got hung up on the branches of another tree, and I had to get my chainsaw;
    5. The trees stood up straight, at first, that is how bad they were caught;
    6. Fortunately, I got both trees to a forward angle enough so I could make another cut, about 4 1/2 feet off the ground;
    7. And, they finally came down…. but not even close to where  they were supposed to.


I am afraid that you cannot tell what I am talking about, the mistakes I

made,by looking at the picture above.  I knew enough to be safe … but the stump of the tree is positioned beneath the crown of the tree, laying there in the snow.  I was relieved to get the trees on the ground.  I made a mental list of what I needed to do differently.  Experimentation / making mistakes can be somewhat redemptive … we can learn a great deal.

Don't Crowd the Trees!
Don’t Crowd the Trees!
A Good Tree Died
A Good Tree Died

You probably already knew this, but in some forest areas, trees need to be thinned out, if the trees are too close together.  Translation: trees don’t grow as well / they are not as healthy if there is not enough room.  Some of it is the root systems providing the trees with enough water; some of it is room for the branches to grow; and some of it is getting their fair share of sunlight.  And, it makes sense to get the dead trees out, to help the healthy trees.  Here is a tree that will need to come down, soon.  You might need to expand the picture so that you can see the top, and the branches.  I’ve never liked the idea of cutting trees down.  I love trees.  But because I love trees, I know that the dead ones have to come down, so that we can have a healthy forest.  Fortunately,  I am equipped with … not only axe and chain saw, but … a decent imagination.  And I sometimes think about woodsmen predecessors …







Now, I don’t want anyone to think I am just crazy about cutting trees down.  Wood cutting season is just as much about chain sawing the longer logs into shorter logs … which get chopped into smaller pieces of wood for our woo-burning stove.  Ideally, I spend a little time each week chopping wood, getting ready for winter.


Wood pile, all summer
Wood pile, all summer



So, there it is.   Peace to you. T




  1. T, I just love your posts. They are so real, so wilderman! The picture of the two old lumberjacks cutting down that monster (although others cut bigger monsters!) got me to thinking what a woos I am. I couldn’t do that. And I couldn’t clear the land of roots and then the soil of rocks and then plow and seed and hoe and reap the fields. I couldn’t have lifted their loads, carried their burdens, managed their sicknesses and sat patiently through what they endured quietly. I hope that as they toiled they consciously thought that they were doing this so that their children wouldn’t have to and so that after them their grandchildren would have it even easier, and on and on through the generations so that I can feel a little less guilty of not feeling worthy of the bountiful life I have been given by those I cannot even remember, let alone thank.

    1. John-Man, two obvious things come to mind. I am thankful for your great encouragement, makes me want to keep going with post-writing; and the second thing, your own style of writing about what my post was about. And me? No, I couldn’t cut down trees like that. I wouldn’t want to, even if I could. My trees are at the most a foot across, on average. Yeah, you put some seasoned words to the story and the history of those two boys back in their day. Peace, T

  2. I often think about this. When the settlers first came to New England there was ‘only’ an old growth forest. It was said that a man could ride from Maine to New York on a horse and never risk hitting his head. This is astounding! For one, the trees were so big that the lowest limbs were 10 ft off the ground! And the canopy so thick that small brush could not get enough light to grow. THAT was the land they cleared, well…that and massive glacial dropped rocks!. Sometimes it took up to 15 years to pull the last rotting stump from a field. Settlers would have to arrive, clear the land, get a log cabin built, plant and reap…all in that first year, or starve or freeze to death. They were tough people then. Tough! I’m a softer Wilder Man than that! 🙂

    Keep posting. I’d miss your perspective if you didn’t.

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