Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chainsaw Chuckles

Got in a good session of work this morning. Natalie is having a rare (recently, anway) weekend home, so the kids are Not My Problem for once. I hammered away for several hours, then felt the need of some physical activity.

We had rain, yesterday. A lot of it. It was great, but we were supposed to get more today, so it was quite a surprise to see the sun this morning. Plenty of sunlight, too -- warm, strong and bright. Made it all the more enticing to go outside.

I figured I had a job to do with the chainsaw. Since we threw the cows off the property and took out the internal fences, I've been putting in fruit trees, nuts, a few natives -- and letting the wattles do their forest recolonisation thing. Wattles are fast growing. We've got seven-year-old trees that are thirty-plus centimetres through the base, and fifteen metres high.

Obviously, a tree which grows as fast as that can be a pain if it comes up where you don't want it. Also, wattles aren't particularly long-lived. Their job is to recolonise clear spaces in the forest, and to grow high quickly to take advantage of the light. However, after maybe twenty years they senesce, and frequently die. In their wake, you get the slower-growing species - species locally known as myrtle, sassafras, and blackwood among others.

Clearly, I can't leave something like a wattle right next to the driveway, for example. And in fact, we had one there -- about ten metres tall, maybe 25cm at the base. I figured I'd start with that one, clear it away, then move on and take out a few of the others which are becoming inconvenient or unsafe.

So, yes: chainsaw time. Sharpen. Oil. Refuel. Check the tension -- hmm, a bit loose. Tighten it. Whoops! Not much there any more. Hmm.

Take the chainsaw down to the driveway. Start the job. Hmm. Chain isn't pulling itself into the cut properly. By now I probably need to file back the rakers. Pity I haven't got a file for the job, eh? Bugger.

Oh well. It's cutting, albeit poorly. Have to do.

The tree falls perfectly: into the driveway, right into the centre, doesn't touch anything else. Now commences the job of cutting it into rounds suitable to dry out for firewood. One round. Two. Three. Cut away a few branches.

Hmm. Not cutting? Oh, look. The chain has come off.


I've tensioned it as far as it will go. What has to happen next is that I need to take a link or two out. But I've never done that before, and I don't have the tools, either. And now I've got a flogging great wattle tree across my driveway, and Natalie is on call for random baby delivery stuff... not that anybody's expecting anything, but you never know when the doc may have to leave the premises in a hurry.

This is NOT the time to learn how to tighten a chain.


Just one.

I put the chainsaw away, and got out my bow saw. And then for the next hour or so, I proceeded to saw up the entire fucking tree and pile it along the sides of the driveway.

Yes. That was tiring, thanks.