I'm a Lumberjack, Part 2

lumberjack-2 Being a lumberjack is more than a hearty breakfast and a brief nap to be prepared to function at top shape. It is also about the proper attire and the proper skill set. I have both. Attire includes an old pair of jeans, preferably with bloodstains on them. I have such a pair; a good bit frayed at the cuffs, bloodstains on the right thigh, threadbare in several places. One also needs an old, long-sleeved flannel shirt to protect the arms from scratches, gouges, and dismemberment. Bloodstains are good for the shirt, too. But in the summer, I usually just wear a t-shirt, valuing comfort over safety. Heavy work boots are ideal. I have a pair that, together, weigh about 37 pounds and take 17 minutes each to put on. They once saved two states from a huge forest fire in North Carolina, but that's another story. Gloves are good, too, but not critical.

As for skill set, I have that, too. But I must say it is in a constant state of sharpening. Just as it is key to have a sharpened set of teeth on the chainsaw, it is critical to be constantly improving one's skills. Chainsaws really can be fun, and I'm happy to say that I've discovered that anew this summer. But having fun with chainsaws should take a back seat to being talented with a chainsaw. Finally, when one is bringing down a big tree, and I took down several this summer, one should know how to make sure the tree falls exactly where one wants it to fall. To that end, I dropped two 30-footers at the exact spot where I wanted them. Then I proceeded to cut them up into firewood and fencing. On the other hand, to be candid, I was not so successful with two others. I notched them in the direction I wanted them to fall, then proceeded to cut until I heard the distinct sound of wood cracking, yelled "TIMBER!", and stood back to watch them land where I wanted. And then sprinted away as quickly as my lead feet could carry me because the trees decided to fall 180 degrees from where I planned. Had I stood in place very long, the tree would have hammered me into the ground like a tent stake.

That can be humbling because, once that tree is down, everyone can see that I screwed up. On the other hand, it inspires me to set to work quickly to cut up the evidence.

Now, sadly, there are no more trees to cut down. The property is as my long-suffering wife, Lisa, wants it. BUT, on a recent trip to Connecticut to see our older daughter and her husband, we learned they are seriously considering buying several acres of land and just might need an experienced lumberjack to help them clear out a tree or two. One can only hope

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay... (Part 1)

lumberjack Before I get too far into my joys as a lumberjack, let me give credit where credit is due. The chain saw was invented by two Scottish doctors back in the late 18th century, Dr. Chain and his partner, Dr. Saw. Actually, I am kidding about that. They invented the chain saw as a means of generating more clients through grisly accidents caused by their invention. Of course I’m kidding about that, too. Actually, it was invented for the purpose of excision of diseased bone. So, there you have your brief trip down memory lane.

I have a chainsaw, and it’s fun. The property we recently purchased had several big trees that shaded a section of meadow where my long-suffering wife, Lisa, planned to create several garden beds. The trees had to go because they were going to keep sunlight away from the garden. So I bought a chainsaw and prepared to begin the fun of cutting down trees, yelling “TIMBER!” at the top of my lungs, hearing the snap of wood as the trees began to topple, then running for safety, usually directly under where the tree wasn’t supposed to go. Three weeks later, I still have a knot on the side of my right calf where one of those stupid trees failed to follow my instructions.

Moving on to the preparation phase of lumberjacking, it is essential to have a lumberjack breakfast before one begins working as a lumberjack. Food is fuel, just as chainsaws need gasoline to operate, and I need plenty of fuel to work efficiently and well. For me, that means (several) scrambled eggs with cheese and a little onion mixed in, lots of sausage patties, homemade bread with butter, milk, coffee, bacon, and if possible, hash browns.

Once breakfast is consumed, it is time to allow the food to settle. This requires a brief nap of about forty-five minutes, followed by stretching, starting up the chainsaw, and walking to the lumberjacking site while the saw warms up.

My next blog will go into more details about the joy of lumberjacking. Stay tuned.