Saturday, 26 December 2009

Never again! (part 2)

Summary : this is part 2 about cutting down trees in a forest.
We do not own a chainsaw, so we were relying on friends, who, in exchange for their labour and chainsaw, would get half of the wood. We paid the mairie, and helped with splitting and stacking. On top of that, because our friends were not exactly living next door, we would take care of transporting the wood from the forest to our field behind the house in September.
We would keep it, until they found time to collect their share. Well, cutting down trees sound easier than it really is. It is quite dangerous work, because trees tend to fall into an unexpected direction when the chainsaw is handled by someone who is not a professional. Further, thin trees are cut easily, and the pieces are easy to handle. Thicker trunks (mainly oak and beech), even when cut up in 50 cm length, are almost impossible to lift. The only way to move those pieces is to split them, with he help of steel wedges and a sledgehammer. I know now from experience, that even when one manages to split the wood, the 2 pieces are stuck to each other by the fibres, and that getting those two pieces physically separated from each other is damned hard work. Oak is worst, but beech is not much easier. When we started it was still quite pleasant weather, but soon it started freezing. The froze sap of the trees made the chain blunt in no time, which made cutting extra difficult. But the real challenge came at the end of the affouage. We had cut down and stacked everything but one last thick tree. There were still quite a few other ‘untouchables’ on our plot. And of course our last tree fell into the wrong direction.
Its crown landed in another tree, and there we were, stuck with a very dangerous situation. We had to choose between the evil and the deep blue see: either warn the forester and make fools of ourselves, or keep our mouths shut and illegally cut down the extra tree. We chose for the last option, and ended up with a bonus tree.
Finally, after 8 half days of very hard work, the four of us had managed to generate a few nice stacks of wood. The only remaining chore was getting the wood from the forest to our premises. But that seemed a doddle, by that time the wood having dried and hence being not so heavy anymore.
(To be continued in 1 week's time)

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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