Ned Stark said it best, “Winter is coming”. Its true, and as the days get shorter, its a foregone conclusion that winter is coming indeed. I keep hearing that “this winter will be colder than last”. I’m not sure how they know, but we had a total of seven or eight snow days last year, and in South Carolina, that’s quite a few. So even if winter is CLOSE to being as cold as last year, I need firewood.
So Saturday I get out the old trusty chainsaw and start filling it with gasoline. It seems to be taking an awful lot to fill it up… when suddenly gasoline starts gushing from every hole. Around the throttle trigger, from the vent holes in the sides, from the chain opening. Crap. I replaced the fuel and drain lines last year, but they’ve either rotted and broken, or there is another fuel tank problem. To hell with it, I’ve had the damn thing for 10 years, I’m not spending all day taking it apart and putting it back together, after making three trips to Lowes to get parts.
So I go to Sears (Damn right, Sears!) and pick up a new one. 18 inches of red sharpness with a new manual (pfft, who needs that?) and a brand new chain. Pure manly greatness. Nothing makes you feel more manly than holding a whirring death machine and looking around trying to find something to chop down.
I found something pretty quickly. There’s a Bradofrd Pear in my front yard that didn’t really make it through last winter. It has a few leaves on a few branches, but for the most part the thing is dead. I’ve already cut a few branches off, because I have to mow around it. But I decided, hell, it’s not that big, I can take it down myself. Bradford Pears are pretty in bloom, but they smell like dead fish, rotting meat, or someone with a really bad genital infection (the kids at school call them Rotton Cooch trees). So, I wasn’t that sad to see it go. Plus, the logs from a Bradford Pear split really easily, and they burn nicely once they are dried out.
So I started chopping away. The saw and its new blade went through that tree like a new saw through a dead tree. It was awesome. It was also hot. 100 damn degrees outside and there I was wielding the whirring death machine in my shorts, sandals and t-shirt, and still burning up. Sweat was dripping into my ears through the headphones. Nasty. I finally got most of it limbed up before having a heat stroke, and went inside to shower and change clothes and rest. The only thing left standing was a central trunk and a few of the tallest limbs.
After supper I went back to tackle the beast. After moving the car and getting a ladder, I climbed up to the base of the tallest limb section and had a serious “What the Hell am I doing” moment. But then the saw was biting into the wood and the first limb came off. My wife and child had come outside by this time, but unfortunately she was more concerned with just watching me and laughing than with saving my injuries for posterity, so she didn’t bring the camera. Who doesn’t have a phone, at least, with them at all times for when people do stupid things? What’s the fun of life if you can’t put the mistakes of others on the internet to laugh at, over and over again? But there were no mistakes. I dropped the largest limb into the yard, climbed down, and cut down the ten foot trunk section. The tree is dead.
Labor day I spent Laboring. With the tree chopped down, I spent most of the morning making smaller pieces from larger pieces, and finally got most of it toted down to the woods behind the house, chucking tree bits into the edge of the woods. Hopefully a nest of timber rattlers will find a home for the winter. The other nice thing about bradford pears is the limbs are long and thin, and the branches mostly grow up and together, so when you chop them up you can pile and toss them really easily.
So now I have to clean up the small bits and toss them too, but for now I’m enjoying my heat stroke, after having showered off bar and chain oil, wood bits, and fire ants, and drinking a liter of Gatorade to stave off this kidney stone that feels like its forming in my left side.
Now it’s time to go find some mammal flesh to consume.