Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

July 31, 2018

One of Those Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 8:39 pm

It has been one of those days.

The summer has been roaring by. The evidence of this is my one project each summer that positively has to be done, no matter what else tries to achieve precedence. That project being putting up next year’s fire wood. My goal is always to be done by the end of June. If I have ever achieved this goal, it hasn’t been in the recent past. Last year, for the first time ever, I did not fill the woodshed. We had enough firewood, but this year I started with a deficit.

Here it is the last day of July, and I have been out in the woods only twice, and hauled a Scout load of firewood each time. (Hint: it takes MANY Scout loads of firewood to fill the woodshed.) So yes, once again I am behind. Way behind.

Today the day started, as it often does, with exercises and a bowl of cereal. There are other pet, garden, and house related chores to be done. My plan was to unload yesterday’s firewood from the Scout, then load up my tools and head out to the woods. This project was executed, as most of my outside projects are, barefooted. Things went swimmingly until a pretty heavy chunk of hard maple slipped out of my hand and landed on my left big toe. Beneath that toe was a concrete apron. My toe became the thing between a rock and a hard place. It hurt like a son of a gun. As of this writing, the toe is much bigger than it’s neighbor big toe, and is a different color. The injury is also making me walk funny.

After finishing stacking the wood, paying particular attention to heavy objects above my toes (no I did not put shoes on after the accident), the Scout was loaded up, and I was on my way out to the woods, whistling a happy tune. This was going to be the day I was to make a difference in the firewood arena.

I got out to the logging road where I planned to park while felling a pretty good sized dead sugar maple. I assembled and donned my gear: chainsaw pants designed to save limbs from flailing saws, helmet, and hearing protection. (I always wear steel toed shoes when I’m running my saw. I’m not stupid, for heaven’s sake!) I walked up to the tree, and pulled the rope on my trusty Husqvarna 262. Nothing. Several more pulls had the same result.

This saw has been with me for decades. We know each other. This saw always starts. Today, after about the 6th pull, the cord came out of the recoil. So I lumbered back to the Scout, opened the tailgate, and reinserted the pull rope. Another several pulls on the rope, and still no start. I opened the top of the saw, removed the air cleaner, and poured a small amount of gas directly in the carburetor. Back together the saw went, more pulls, not a sputter.

Another disassembly and the spark plug was removed, and set on the engine. Pulls on the rope showed a strong capable spark. So the machine has spark, gas, and it won’t start. I put the thing back together and drove back home.

I have a spare chainsaw for just such an emergency. It hasn’t been started for several years, because the Husqvarna always starts. So I dusted off the Stihl 041, filled it with gas and bar oil, and gave the rope a pull. It did take a half dozen pulls before I got a sputter, but the old saw did start and run. I’m not done for yet!

I drove back out to the woods, parked confidently on the logging road, put on my gear and started the saw. I had a couple of balsam firs to remove around the big sugar maple. No problem. My chest was starting to puff out. I can do this thing!

Once I’d cleaned up around the big maple, I made my notch, and started the cut. The saw was running great, the newly sharpened chain was tossing chips, and down came the tree. Unfortunately, the tree broke into several pieces when it hit the ground. Punky. This huge tree would probably provide very little firewood for us. Darn.

As I was standing there with the saw idling and disappointment drooling off me, I heard a familiar sound over the sound of the chainsaw and despite my hearing protectors. My pager.

So I had to jump back in the Scout, drive fairly rapidly across the field back home, retrieve my radios and fire gear, and head for the fire scene. As so often happens, by the time I got there, my outstanding crew had the situation under control. I had little to do except start the necessary paperwork, and then head back to the firehall.

When I got home from the fire, it was late afternoon, and I had a choice to make. Should I drive back out to the woods and try again, or stay inside. I opted for the later. I didn’t think I could have handled too many more disappointments in one day.

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