Friday, October 29, 2021

Firewood Finished

I finished splitting and stacking the the firewood yesterday. I managed to get eight stacks 18x18x48 inches. They are loosely stacked to allow some air circulation since the wood was pretty well moisturized by Mother Nature while in felled tree and cut to length form this summer and fall. Even so,my supply has nearly doubled and, if I use it judiciously, there should be enough to get us through the winter. 

Stacked Firewood


The wood under the light green tarp is the new stuff. The ten stacks in the left end, under the camo tarp is from last year and will be the first I burn. Everything is ash. 

I've got a couple of trees picked out for next year's supply and hope to get them down and cut into length after the hunting season. They are also ash trees that show signs of borer infestation. Two are close to the house but not so close as to require a pro to come in to drop them. Two smaller ones are on the edge of the same field in back that I took this year's three trees from.

Of course, that depends upon two things: 

1- Weather. Last year we got snow in mid-December and every so often until March. The worst part about that was that it never melted. It just kept getting deeper and deeper. 

2- Health. Even if the snow hadn't kept me out of the woods, my health would have. Too many trips to the vascular team and eventually surgery on my right leg (Yeah! I've now got matching scars!) plus other disorders that turned out to be the "rewards" for a full and active life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Step 4 Making Firewood: Splitting and Stacking

Tuesday was a very, very rainy day. We recorded 1.81 inches of water from late Monday night through Wednesday morning. I took the opportunity to cut some 10' long pressure treated decking boards into 2-3/4" x 3' slats to be used in making new pallets upon which I can stack my split firewood. Several of the pallets I am currently using date from 2006 and are, well, rotting. I built two new pallets last year and the two I put together this afternoon will give me more than enough room to store a couple of cords of split firewood.

I did take advantage of a nice clear, cool afternoon to build the two pallets and then see if the log splitter would start after sitting since September 2020. The gas tank was dry so I filled it. Choked the engine and gave the cord a pull to prime the engine. On the second pull the engine roared to life and I pushed the throttle to "Run" mode. That Briggs and Stratton engine just purred! 

Over the next two hours, I managed to convert a little more than half the cut logs into split firewood. I'll be finishing the rest tomorrow and then stack the split wood and put a tarp over it so it will get a chance to dry a little more. Luckily I still have about a cord of wood left from last year's stack so there will be no rush to burn this batch.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Step 3 in Making Firewood Completed

 Step 1 was selecting and felling the trees. That was done last spring when it became apparent that several ash trees had been attacked by the emerald ash tree borer. Each had only a handful of leaves on their very highest branches. Felling them--and letting them lay on the ground for the summer--would allow the leaves to draw moisture out of the wood of the trees. Or so I hoped. The copious amounts of rain we had all summer long slowed the drying process--especially since there are a couple of springs on the hill side that fed water into the field in which the felled trees lay. Win some, lose some.

Step 2 was actually cutting the downed trees into 18" lengths. I managed to do that over a two week period in late September and early October in between visits to the ER and rain storms.

Step 3 was finished yesterday and today as I got the ProHauler 2 to haul the cut wood out of the field and to an area behind the house--again between rain storms. It took me a total of three trips, one for each felled tree, to get the wood relocated. 

Step 4 will be the splitting of the log lengths into pieces that will be set under protection to dry. (Luckily I still have a cord and a half of ash from last year that is well dried. This will be the wood I will burn when the temperatures drop to no higher than 35 degrees.)

Friday, October 22, 2021

Visit to Toyota Dealership

Terry and I drove the RAV4 and the Tundra (both 2017 models) over to Williams Toyota in Sayre yesterday morning. The RAV needed new tires and the Tundra needed an oil change, tire rotation and general dealer inspection. (It's too early for a state inspection. That's due in April and while they might be able to do it a month or two earlier...well. six months is just way too early.)

It took a little over 90 minutes for Terry to get her new tires mounted and balanced. My service took a little longer as it was discovered that the rear brakes needed pads and rotors. 

While the Tundra was in the shop. I asked that the sales manager do an appraisal with the ultimate goal of my trading it in. He came back with an approximate value of $30K!, which floored me. I know used trucks are going at a premium right now, but this was about $5K higher than I expected. 

When Terry's RAV was finished, she and I went to visit the sales manager (SM) to talk about the possibility of ordering a 2022 Tundra. All the reviews and internet information says they will be available "by the end of the year." The SM had just come back from a Toyota show and told us that the new models (completely revamped!) were really sweet looking. HOWEVER (he said) the SMs in attendance were given no delivery dates or even pricing information. Even now, he said, while they are still getting '21 models in, there is no pick-your-model-and-options. I reality, the dealers have to take what they are given. Yet, they are flying off the lot. He had just received five earlier this week and three were already sold. Folks are putting their names on waiting lists and being notified when anything close to what they were asking for becomes available.

As for the '22 models, he has no idea when they will make there way to the dealers but suspects it will be later rather than sooner. Being able to order the vehicle I want (rather than settling for whatever they get in) may be possible in the spring. A lot depends on the computer chips sitting on cargo ships and the truck drivers available to deliver them to the plants.

*Sigh* looks like I'll be waiting until April at the earliest. One more PA Inspection.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

October, 2021

 Well, October has been an improvement over August and September. I finished my PT yesterday (the 19th) and say the left leg go from a bend of a mere 60 degrees to somewhere between 105 and 110 degrees AND there have been no visits to the ER!

Last Thursday I took the Yamaha ProHauler (1) out to do some work on the logs with the chainsaw last week It started up fine and ran well as I went out to the site and I managed to cut the two smaller trees up and stack the wood for later transport. The ProHauler that had behaved so nicely on the way out, didn't do as well on the ride back to the house. It ran okay on the choke, but would stall whenever I applied any throttle or put the machine into gear. I tried to get it to work on Friday but it didn't cooperate. I made a call to Glider City Power Sports up in Elmira. I managed to hoop the utility trailer up to the truck on Sunday and on Monday, Terry and I wrestled the ProHauler onto the trailer and towed it up to Elmira. They told me on the phone that they have a backlog of a couple of weeks, but it sure didn't look like it to me. Oh well, whenever they get to it will be fine.Just hope it's before we get any snow.

I could use the ProHauler 2, but it needs new tires and there's some leakage around the carburetor that concerns me. For now I'll be using the tractor. And I did just that today. Managed to get most of the third tree cut to length during a three hour stint. I will say that the vascular surgery on both legs has really taken it out of me. Far more than the knee replacements or the back surgery. I don't seem to have the strength in my lower legs I once had. Nor do I have the ability to walk on uneven ground without rolling my left ankle. Add the tangling ability of three foot high goldenrod, raspberry and multiflora rose and I have a tough time just getting from one end of the 40' log to the other. The latter two plants along with the spines on the crabapples/hawthorne shrubs do not mix well with my blood thinners, either.

Tomorrow both Terry and I  have appointments at the Toyota dealer in Sayre. She is to get a new set of tires and I will get an oil change and tire rotation. I will also discuss the possibility of getting a 2022 Tundra. 

Rain is forecast for Thursday afternoon so I won't be heading back into the woods when we get back. I may be hitting the woods on Friday and/or Saturday, however those are the last two days of a special deer hunting period for us senior citizens. It's antlerless only and I've two doe tags to fill.

September at the Aerie, 2021

 It's been awhile since I posted. September went by in a blur. I started Physical Therapy on September 9th and promptly spent the next day in the ER at Robert Packer Hospital because I woke up unable to put any weight at all on my left leg. Luckily I had a leg brace and Terry was home to act as chauffeur. I donned the brace and we drove over to the ER.

 Aside from finding the same Doctor on duty in Sayre that I had seen the week before in Troy, I picked the absolutely worst day to be in the ER. That morning a water truck took a tumble and an 18 year-old got his legs pinned. ER staff traveled to the sight along with the vascular team as there was some discussion about needing to amputate the kid's legs. The CAT scan team was put on alert and no one else was allowed access until things got cleared up. (A soft shoulder on the road caused the truck to roll over into a water filled ditch. The driver got out okay, but his companion didn't get clear. Turns out they needed a crane to get the kid free. Water soaked soil may have saved his legs.) 

Terry and I sat in the ER from around 8 am until 3:30 pm. Frustratingly enough the CAT scab only showed  some dense tissue and a possibly thickening of a tendon. I scheduled a follow-up with my primary care and one with Orthopedics.

By Saturday, the 11th of September, I was managing to walk around the house fairly well using the leg brace and a cane. By Monday I was doing well without either aid. And by Wednesday, I was back at physical therapy. 

The rest of the month went along quietly--on my part. The primary care and Orthopedics visits produced no miracle cure for my ailment. They just recommended I continue with the PT regimen and otherwise don't push things too fast. So I did--mostly. I did go out on the tractor and do some work on the logs I felled last spring. There were three ash trees that were nearly dead from ash borers. I cut them and let what few leaves they had suck out as much moisture as possible. I used the loppers to trim the smaller branches so I'd be able to get at the larger ones with the chainsaw.

Terry had two outings in Chicago area that she attended. One was for EGA and the other for SAGA. It's sort of unusual for both to be in the area of the same city but, well, it happens. She drove out for the first one and started to regret it as soon as she got there. The ride caused her spine/hip/leg to start hurting. Luckily she had her cane with her. The ride home was no picnic. As soon as she got home, she did two things: 1-called the pain management team to see if she could get another shot to combat the pain and 2-she booked a flight to O'Hare for the next convention. Driving was out of the question. (She got her shot and has been doing fine since.)

After my birthday on the 17th things got considerably quieter for me. Aside from the visit to the orthopedist, I had only PT twice a week to attend to. And that went well.