DIY Logging... Engage!

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In the 2 day LHBA Class, Ellsworth made it clear that in the approach being taught, we trade our hard work and labor for the cash we would have spent on contractors. That being stated, I put my plan to action this weekend and went out logging.

Previously I proposed that I could use the fire-killed trees on my family's land and use my own tools and equipment to log and skid. I bought a 50CC Craftsman chainsaw almost 3 months ago but never fired it up because my son had lost my gas can, and I was just being plain lazy. But I motivated myself and got it all together, mixed the fuel and filled up the gas tank and bar oil and fired her up.

My wife Meadow and I immediately drove the 1.5 miles to my family's land and found a suitable first candidate; a standing, fire-killed ponderosa pine tree.

I was actually nervous about whether or not it would be solid - and not rotted or beetle infested. One way for me to find out was to just do it. And I did it: I sized the tree up, determined which way to fall it, got my two safety routs, made my face cut, then my back cut and as soon as the tree began to tilt I backed away and watched the tree fall to the earth with a crash. I walked up to the stump and examined my cut, recognized the holding wood was intact the way it should be -- but I also noticed the core of the stump had no rot or holes from beetles. I looked at the stump of the fallen tree and it too was rot free.

I restarted the chainsaw and walked up the length of the fallen tree, methodically limbing it until I neared the top at where I estimated the diameter was around 8 inches, and cut the top off from there. I kicked the tree in a few places along the length of the trunk and it was solid and surprisingly heavier than I would have thought for a "kiln-dried" tree (aka fire kill).

I walked back down to the thick end (aka butt) of the tree and with Meadow, measured the stump diameter which turned out to be 14 inches. I was pleased with that because I thought it would be about 8 to ten inches, which would have been the minimum suggested diameter to use for log walls. I only had a regular tape measure - not a logging tape measure - but we measured the usable length of the log to over 32 feet. And really, I was surprised that the size, length and condition of the log was far better than I thought it would be. Yeah, baby!

I eventually dropped 3 more trees with Meadow and Brenda's help. Then, with my little four cylinder 1994 Ford Ranger we tried skidding one of the logs. As luck would have it, my father Joe who is an old Marine and Viet Nam veteran, showed up to "supervise." Which actually means he tried to assume command of the operation!

What's kind of funny to me, now that I'm looking back at the pictures from that day, Dad showed up with a little bow saw. I think he thought it would help us limb the tree

After a snapped chain foiled our first attempt at skidding a log, I rigged the chain around the tow ball hitch and about a foot down the top of the log and tried it again. Brenda was driving and she was able to skid it the 1/2 mile to her home site without any problem.

WOO-HOO! I can use standing, fire-kill! I can skid them using a chain and my little truck! Trees from our land are free, and I don't have to cut down any live ones at this point! The Master Plan is a "go!"

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Updated 07-23-2014 at 03:47 PM by Northern.Cheyenne

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