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Yard Work Out
This story begins with ‘Snowtober 2011′ (see link).
The oak trees in our yard suffered a tremendous amount of damage, many branches were down or hanging. Power was out for six days.
The cleanup effort looked overwhelming. As I roamed around the yard, clad in my favorite red plaid pullover, with the double layer striped top underneath, I looked like a little lumberjack. Since safety is much more important to me than speed, my tool of choice is a 21″ bow saw, instead of a chainsaw. I had my favorite mittens, hat and safety glasses, too.
The driveway was blocked, so that was the first area to tackle. It was immediately apparent that organizing the cut branches was going to be important, I created a small pile of twig branches (sticks with leaves), and dragged the remaining sections of the limbs up to the driveway where I dropped them in a convenient spot for later cutting and stacking as firewood. This took me about two hours, and it felt good.
It felt good because most of my time is spent on activities with temporary value. Laundry, dishes, cooking, writing web code, and walking the dog are all important, but when you finish, you’re either not really finished, or it has to be done again. Or, in the case of web code, it’s just sort of magic.
At the bottom of the driveway, several big branches had been moved out of the road and needed the same cutting and ordering. That’s when I realized that although the cleanup was possible, it was going to take a long time. Ever sensible, I went back into the house for hot chocolate and a cookie bar.
Soon I realized the little twig piles were not going to work out. I abandoned them and created piles of branches that were seven to ten feet long. I put all the leaves at one end, so it would be easy to chip them. The first pile was at the bottom of the driveway. Soon a second big pile grew at the top of the driveway. Two more were established along the road on the other side.
Every day, I put on my pullovers, mittens, hat, and safety goggles and went out in the yard. My goal was to ready the yard for the tree company. Every piece of wood was classified as one of four types:
- Little stuff that can be tossed aside in the woods
- Stuff to be chipped - 1/4″ - ~2″ in diameter
- Stuff to be cut up later with a bow saw - ~2″ - ~4″
- Stuff that clearly needs professional handling with a chainsaw
Stuff to be chipped was piled in one of the four piles, the bow saw branches were added to the pile at the top of the driveway, and the bigger pieces were stacked next to the bow saw branches if possible, or left in place.
With the storm cleanup done, it was time to rake.
Eventually, the yard was ready for the tree company. It took four men, with a bucket truck, bobcat, a chipper, another truck and a bunch of chainsaws a six hours to chip the piles, chainsaw the big branches, remove two trees and remove the hangers. They left me about six cubic yards of chipped wood to use as mulch around the yard.
It’s several months later and I’m still working in the yard. The tree company did a great job. I’ve been stacking and moving wood around, gave two truck loads to my brother, cut and stacked some of the bow saw wood.
This post was actually prompted by the pile at the top of the driveway. Toady I moved it closer to the wood pile in anticipation of a snowstorm. The branches were in one of the spots I pile snow.
It is still satisfying to move wood around the yard. Even as some of the hangers come down and need to be cut up (with a 30″ bow saw for the large ones), it still feels good. I have two yard buddies, Oska and Hobo. They always go out with me and keep me company.
You wouldn’t know there’s such joy in the yard by looking at it. The lawn is a collage of plants which wouldn’t be welcome in most other yards, the landscaping is limited. The bushes are only trimmed if they have dead branches. All the leaves raked in the yard are deposited under the trees, with a few good kicks to spread them about.
There’s lots of time to think while you’re moving branches and cutting wood. Or to not think. I also enjoy sniffing the wood.