Saturday, September 04, 2010

Bolt Hole Report, September 4, 2010

I woke up this morning to the sound of apples being munched. Rolled over and sat up to see three deer in the reclaimed apple orchard behind the cabin. One spike, one doe, and one fawn--who has nearly gained the size of its mom. They heard the bed springs squeak and--while not alarmed--decided to head back to their hidey hole for the day. I managed to see them as the crossed the lawn and split with the young buck headed across the road toward Mark's and the doe and fawn heading west into the woods.

These are the only three deer Mark has been seeing all summer. Could be a long, fruitless hunting season since we have sworn that we will not shoot the doe or her fawn even in bow season. (She's protected during the rifle season when it's bucks only around here.)


After breakfast and a cup of coffee, I decided to see if the chainsaw would fire up so I could go out and cut some firewood. There are a few maple and cherry blowdowns that lifted their rootballs out of the ground a few years ago. Until this year they still produced leaves. Mark and I decided this would be the time to cut them into rounds for later transport and splitting at the barn.

Damn it! The chainsaw (a Homelite) fired up after just a few pulls so it was off to work.

The wood was in the forest to the west of the house about 300-400 yards away and had come down right on an old skid way. The three big maples (around 18" in diameter at breast height when they were upright) were about 40' long but still had their topmost branches attached. I tackled those first trying to reduce things to just three logs. I was at it for just thirty minutes or so when Mark showed up with his Husqvrana. We made the woods sing fro a few hours as we cut and stacked the future firewood. We probably have 5 or 6 face cords of wood. That should be more than enough but if we need more, there are other trails and other blowdowns that need cutting.

Like I said, we stacked the rounds we cut and then started looking around for more to cut. There was no shortage of blowdowns. Most were fir and hemlock and they really obscured our view through the woods. ZIP! ZIP! ZIP! We brought as many to the ground as we could and then cut the branches off piling them in to hollows and weighting them down with the larger pieces. Most were well on their way toward rottendom and a few winters covered with snow will soon have them turned into so much soil duff.

All told we put in around five hours working in the woods. Tomorrow we'll go back to clear the old skid trails so we can get the ATV down there to pick up the wood. The skid way the maples were on is blocked for ATV use by some frost heaved boulders that a skidder would laugh at but which would have the transmission off the ATV ripped out in no time. Shouldn't be too hard to open up another path now that we've removed some of the fir tree blowdowns. We looked around when we finished cutting today and saw a likely route that will require removing only a few 1-3" diameter hemlocks.


The weather has certainly turned here at the Bolt Hole. Yesterday was near 90 degrees in the afternoon without a bit of breeze blowing. Today, close to noon, the wind kicked up and blew out of the west northwest. The temperature dropped while we were working from just a little over 70 to closer to 55 degrees. If it continues to drop, I may have to think about using some of the firewood tonight!


Now all I need is to recover from today's labors enough to be able to pick up 1) my chainsaw, 2)my arms, and 3)my legs. My back aches. My right shoulder aches. My left middle finger aches from jamming it somewhere. Suffice to say, I'm going to sleep well tonight!

No comments: