Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Farmer's 'Minute'

Only another farm wife can attest to the length of time a farmer's 'minute' can morph into. Many times I've received the call, "Can you come help me for a 'minute'? An hour or so later, I remind my farmer that if he expects to get any dinner, he better let me go home and fix it.

We burn a lot of wood in the winter and depleted our supply except for a few pieces this year, which is a good thing. If we just kept piling wood on top of wood, the bottom wood gets rotten. We had a big wind a couple of weeks ago and it damaged some of our neighbor's ash trees. Sunday, when I went by their house, Tim and a friend had attempted to cut down the biggest one and it fell into another tree and there it sat, lodged and dangerous.

When I got back home, I called Tim, got his voicemail, and asked if he was going to put those trees in his burn pile? If so, we could take care of them for him. He called Bruce later to say we are welcome to that one and 2 others that had big limbs knocked out.

The weather is beautiful for the first of July, 85 degrees and dry, not the usual sweltering 90's. Bruce said we should go down and get started on the trees, stating that we would only work at it for a 'couple of hours'.

He loaded the Stihl chain saw, gas, oil, and wrench in the tractor loader and hooked a wagon on. I drove the car in case we had trouble, with a big jug of water. Up close that tree was bigger than we thought, how would we ever cut up that massive trunk but there was a lot of wood there.

Tim drove in about then, said he would love to stay and help but he had to go to Sioux City, now that is a likely story if I ever heard one! There was another Stihl saw, bigger than ours, sitting under a tree. He and daughter, Jillian, left, Bruce fired up his saw and started in, it looked like it was going to be a l-o-o-n-n-g-g day as he worked and worked with his saw. He finally put a new chain on it, all the while eyeing the other saw, but it was still a lot of work.

When our chainsaw ran out of gas, Bruce said, "I wonder if Tim would mind if I used his chainsaw?" Without waiting for an answer, he fired it up, put it to the tree, the saw making quick work of a branch. It was as though the heavens opened and angels sang, Bruce was instantly and completely in love with Tim's saw. He yelled, "It cuts through it like butter!" I knew there would be no 'couple of hours.'

Bruce sawed chunks of wood, I filled the loader bucket, he dumped into the wagon, he sawed, I filled, he dumped until we had huge piles of brush that were in the way. Tim had told us he would take care of the branches but with our other loader outfitted with the grapple fork, we could dispatch those piles in no time.

Tim and Jillian came home and were so surprised to see us still here, "What happened to a couple of hours?" I didn't bother to explain about the farmer's time table but told him we hoped it was okay that we were using his saw. "Sure," he said, "It's not Mine!" It was his buddy's who was helping him the day before and 'he owed him.' Tim was so happy to see the piles of brush gone, we could have said we were moving into his basement for the summer and he would have said, "Sure!"

By that time we were down to the big trunk, Bruce was slicing sections, we pushed them into the loader bucket, only 3 fit at a time, and I hauled them home to dump in a pile. When I was in the tractor, I looked at the clock and it said 7:15, that can't possible be right - it was right - our 'couple of hours' turned into 6.

Bruce would have set up work lights had he not had the misfortune to find a piece of metal in the tree trunk, instantly taking the edge off the chain, no more cutting until it was sharpened. We arrived home about 8:30 with the last loads of wood, one in the bucket and other in the wagon and unloaded them in a pile.

Zoe, the cutest kitten in the world, exploring the big, trunk pieces.

The work has only just begun as all this wood has to dry, then we can split and stack but this winter, when it is snowing and blowing and we are toasty warm in the house, all this work will be worthwhile. I just want a couple of days to recover before we go back! 

1 comment:

  1. Ahh that is hard work, and a LOT of it! What a find though!