Saturday, December 10, 2011

Load Update

3 Loads over Thanksgiving Weekend 1 Load Last Weekend 12-3/4 / 16 needed for this year, and I have at least 2 loads sitting in my yard to be cut up still. Hoping to get 2 more loads down the hill this weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We're skidding!

I'm getting into an area that some of the trees are down on the steep hillside that I can't just drive up to the logs to load. And I'm loathe to buck them into blocks and then toss the blocks 2, 3, 4 times (and much would need to be split to even be small enough to toss) up to the landing.

Not a problem :)

Loaded up the Ranger with wood I had ready to load, then hook up a log.

I also cut the bottom of the log at a sharper angle to reduce the tendency to snag, and set the chains so the pull would be from the bottom.

Used a couple 6' logging chains, I was just barely able to wrap one around the log. Used a second from the one that wrapped the log to the strap.

Thanksgiving morning I similarly moved some *much* smaller logs (maybe 12" diameter) which the Ranger barely even noticed it was pulling.

Load Count:
1 Load Monday, 1-1/4 Loads in 2 trips on Thursday (BIG blocks!). Total I'm figuring at 8-3/4. Hoping to get 3-4 more in this long weekend.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

024 for Eric

Cleaned up the 024 and brought it to Eric on Saturday. Still getting over a really bad cold (mild flu?), was able to do light work like this and working on my truck this weekend, but no stamina for hard work. Cut up a 1/4 cord of wood today (including some noodling and taking down a large stump to ground level)...and that was all she wrote.

I spent about $70 on a new chain, bar cover, oil and gas caps, a quart of oil, and a scrench to set Eric up. A very fair trade (translation: steal of a deal).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday's Haul

Got three loads, figuring 1/4 cord per load, in today.

Most of the first two were already blocked up though there was a little bit of cutting.  Third load needed to be blocked up.

Mix of green red oak (2 broken tops from Irene, with the bottom of one of the oaks too) and 2 well seasoned red maples that I snagged a couple years ago.  Had my neighbor with the backhoe pull the the tops and snags down for me so I didn't have to screw with them.

The new to me 372XP is a firewood creating machine :)  Gonna take me a while to build up muscle memory that when using the saw with the wrong shade of orange the stop is right, not up.

Four loads, my Fiskars, and my firewood cart.  It's made by Mid West Products in Phillipston, OH -- , but you can buy it much cheaper through Harbor Freight instead of direct from them -- .  Should be about a cord there once split, there is another pile of small stuff behind the two rows you see.

I figure I need 16 loads per year, I'm on 6-1/2, and my goal is 24 for this year to build up a two cord reserve towards next year when I'll get a more efficient stove but can no longer get away with burning green wood.

Also learned my current Advil needed is three loads.  My fat ass could do 1/2 cord day in, day out right now no problem, that next quarter did me in.  Also also learned I'm out of Advil.  *sigh*

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chainsaw Geekdon

Yes, on one web forum I check we post pics of the gear we use for cutting firewood.  Geekdom knows no bounds.

This is the typical kit I bring with me into the woods, sometimes I don't bring it all, but pretty rare I need to grab any other toys.

Stihl MS-360 (bought used on Craigslist).  This saw does most of my cutting.
Stihl 024AV (Also bought used, being replaced soon, there will be a post why :) ).  Nice lightweight saw for trimming up the tops.  Learned years ago it's always good to have two saws.  Once just after I finished dropping a tree for a friend in a neighborhood my saw broke and made me realize if I was most of the way done with the felling cut when it failed we would've been stuck with a dangerous tree that the wind could push over but and no way to finish the cut.
Chaps & Helmet
Fiskars Super Splitter splitting axe
Logrite Peavey with Timberjack...these guys are made in Vernon, CT!
Gas & Oil

My tool box --
Flagging tape (use it to mark trees I want to cut or keep when scouting)
Scrench, screwdriver, brush, etc for basic maintenance
Sharpening files for the chains
Safety glasses, yellow tinted.  Really nice for really late in the day -- don't ask me why but they do make things a lot brighter!
Felling wedges
Spare chains
Spare 20" bar case I get the 360 stuck and I don't have another saw, I can take off the power head and cut out the other bar :)
Fiskars hatchet
Teflon mower deck spray, used on the Fiskars splitting ax to make it a little slipperier in wood.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Deer Alarm Went Off

Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof

I know what that means!

Click the pictures to see more easily, at least 5 and probably 6 maybe 7.  There were an awful lot of tails and heads at one point.

I'm really impressed by the quality on the zoom.  I guess it's the beautiful, bright light we've had the last several days -- I guess with the earth tilting away from the sun now that it's autumn, it has a less harsh effect then say May or June.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's time to make like a beaver...

First load 2011/2012 off the woodlot. Figure I've already brought up to the porch one load from trees down in the yard. So let's call it 2/16 -- I'm figuring I need 16 loads this size to heat for the winter with my current stove. In the past I've split in the woodlot and then hauled down. New plan, since I fear a winter like 2010/2011 again, is to haul down as fast as I can the split it during later -- goal is to have the 16 loads brought down by December 1st. Fortunately my stove can burn green wood.

Once that's done, I'd like to bring down another 8 loads (2 more cords) to season for next season, when I should have a much more efficient woodstove installed which will burn only half as much wood but it's got to be seasoned. I'll still probably buy two good seasoned cords next year to go with the stove.

Pretty sure the wood is white oak -- doesn't look red to me, leaves look like white instead of red oak, and it's heavy as all sin!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Nor'Easter

Southern New England just got gobsmackered by the earliest heavy snow in recent history -- Connecticut's previous recorded October snowfall record was 9" in the high, cold northwest Litchfield Hills...this storm dump 12" on warm, low Bradley Airport just north of Hartford.

Brooklyn got out OK, enough rain to keep things from getting bad.  Irene hit Eastern, Southeastern, and Coastal Connecticut hardest in August and *was* the largest power outage in state history at ~770,000 customers.  The nor'easter hit the Western, Northwestern, and North Central areas hardest -- and blacked out 820,000 customers! This is the outage map as of 3pm Sunday, over 24 hours after the storm began:

Lacking ambition to work inside today, I decided to head out of a Sunday drive. Leaving my driveway...put a chainsaw under my pickup cap, in hindsight, I should've included a shovel and tow straps though I didn't need them :)

 Didn't see any significant damage till I got to the top of Pomfret Hill, and it was becoming common but not overwhelming by Woodstock Hill. Woodstock Common looking towards the Pink House:
 No damage, just liked this shot of Woodstock Academy:
It was Charlton where the word "slammed" started to come to mind. Route 31:
Green Leaves & White Snow in Charlton. Charlton, Sturbridge, Holland, Mass. and Union, Conn. reminded me of moderate hurricane or ice storm damage. Widespread, but not overwhelming. But with temps dropping into the 20s tonight, and this damage more widespread then the more severe but localized '08 Ice Storm...folks are going to be out of power for a while.

 Holland Road, Sturbridge.:

 Holland Road, Sturbridge:

 Route 171, Union:

 Route 171, Union:

 Route 171, Eastford:

Morey Road, Chaplin...more white and green:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Nor'Easter Memorial Corn Chowder

Having a strong, and surprisingly early, nor'easter -- Brooklyn's doing OK just on the rain/snow line. But western and north central Connecticut are being hammered by a storm that will rank with the '73 Ice Storm, Gloria, and Irene -- last I looked CL&P is at 634,000 customer out of power which is already #2 storm to Irene's 700,000 out back in August. The heavy wet snow is landing on trees, most of which haven't dropped their leaves yet, and branches are just breaking and coming down everywhere, but just a few brownouts at my house.

Just before bed I decided to put on a corn chowder:
Couple cans of corn, some taters, half a can of peas I already had open in the fridge, couple onions (my own), carrots, green beans (last of my own fresh ones, picked earlier this week), pepper, couple apples. My own basil and oregano picked before the first frost this past Thursday. Possibly some other stuff, I just kept going through the cupboards and fridge with no set plan Let that slow cook all night.

Have some local hot italian sausage from Campbell's Farm in Griswold I have defrosting in the fridge, think I'll fry that up and add it in the morning. Planning to fry it on the electric stove, but I can use the woodstove if I have to :) And the final product:


Poster on Arborsite was confused about noodling v. ripping, so I took these three photos to illustrate it for him. The advantages of working from home, you get to have fun at lunch time!
The orientation of the head and chain is key to the type of cut you're making -- here's a conventional cross cut.

This is a rip cut. Stanard chainsaw chains don't do this well, makes lots of dust, goes slow, leaves the wood very rough. Folks who use "chainsaw mills" to produce boards, usually for homesteads or other places difficult to transport lumber to, use special ripping chains.

This is a noodle cut. It produces copious amounts of long "noodles," pics of which I didn't get today as planned do to snow! Noodling lets you make very large chunks into more manageable size to handle.

Great old logging video

By far the best "the way it was done" video -- filmed by a logging and mill superintendent.  The narrator isn't him, but worked from the superintendent's notes he read from he showed the film.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Good:  Haven't had a killing frost until now (probably tonight)

Bad: It's not November, and it's now sleeting here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Had to ask Henry for a hand!

Today's mission: Cut down the bottom of the tree whose top snapped in Irene. (click pics for larger size) 20" bar...think I'll need to break out my 25" :D Final measurement was 28" diameter where you see the saw -- which is actually 6' above the ground from where the roots are. Cut off the small leader (if you could call it that), maybe 6"? But we have a problem -- it was so rotted, it didn't follow the notch as the wood just gave way as I made the back cut. Pondered my options of how to ensure I didn't get crushed, and while the idea of buying a bull rope crossed my mind, so did "Gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold, know when to walk away, know when to run..." So this stubborn Finn went up the hill, "Hey Henry..." One John Deere 410 to the rescue. Ended up being pretty solid. Backhoe alone couldn't do the deal, so Henry made some cuts (after we evaluated some more, I later got to play too and expanded them.) Wedging before we expanded the cuts to see what the tree was doing. And we have the money shot! Didn't I just get finished cleaning up the lawn here? I clambered down below and we chained up and lifted the log up to the lawn. Then up to the woodlot. Had four trees to service -- two were snags I created dropping trees, two were broken tops courtesy of Irene. Where we were working before..way down there dead center: And the other pair. Coincidentally both broken tops were immediately adjacent to snags from 2009. Between my skills getting a bit more polished and the woodlot starting to open up, I had no snags last year :) Fini!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall TV

Phenomenal TV:  Homeland.

Guilty pleasure I can't believe I'm watching:  Pan Am.  Must be filling the void of the delayed Mad Men.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Started Woodstove

Hmmm, doesn't look like I've ever recorded this in the blog before which surprises me. 10/6 @ 9am...fired up the woodstove for the first time this season.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bookshelf Progress

It's OK.  I should have actually lagged the screws in not level but tipped slightly upwards, so once loaded they would've bent to dead nuts level.  Like the big truck trailers then bend upwards in the middle when unloaded.  Still looks OK though it isn't perfectly level.

I extended the board by 15" by using dowels and wood glue, first time I've tried that.  I wouldn't try selling my work, but from 15' away were I'm sitting now it looks fine.

If I do dowels in the future, I should make a template as a guide...would make lining up the holes much easier.

I'm planning a shelf on the wall to the right, and I'm figuring when I'm done with staining the shelves I'll use dowels (perhaps without glue) to tie the shelves together so they look like a single unit.

The Great Desk Project has begun

So I've decided finally how to re-organize things in this little house. 

And the key is building a custom desk.

But before I build the desk, I need to paint the window trim (while I can easily reach it).

And I at least need to finally start replacing the carpet with hardwood floors, even if I just do the area for the desk and chair for now.

Well, while I'm at it the old entertainment center needs to go, that'll free up a lot of space.

And you know, the baker's rack I've used as a bookshelf...hmmm, you know now that I've whittled down my book collection over the years (lots of old textbooks, obsolete reference books, etc could go), and figuring at some point I'll get a Kindle and start to do electronic books I bet I can build perimeter shelves and get rid of the baker's rack to free up another big bit of see how this project is threatening to spiral out of control.

Finally settled on plan for the shelf and decided to rough it today. It's a simple plan, 3/8" x 8" eye screws would support 3/4" hardwood (oak) plywood. Standard studs are 16" on center, maybe 24" if you're being cheap. Either would provide enough support.  Use some "J hooks" cut down to the right size with a Dremel tool to tie the board to the screws.

Once I decide on a stain for the desk which will also oak plywood and the color of the metal legs (Kee fittings from these guys: ...they'll powder coat the aluminum poles and fittings to order for a reasonable price), I'll stain the shelf and paint the eye screws to match.

The plan, however, became a fiasco because as I should have repair the damage from the '78 fire Papu used whatever lumber he had hanging around to make a frame that looked good to his eye, not something that met any standard. Many holes drilled, probing around, buying a stud I can tell instead of studs evenly spaced every 16" over the 10' wall, there's two sets of studs -- each set 17-1/2" on center from each other, with 30-1/2" between the two sets of studs. With more and longer horizontal pieces then I would expect.

Oh, and at least I'm replacing the carpets since I decided I should wash the walls before I put up the shelf and managed to kick over a gallon and a half of soapy water on to the carpet :rolleyes:

BUT, I managed to get something up that at least gives an indication what the perimeter shelving will look like:

 I'll take that down (hopefully this weekend) and do some work to piece together two boards to span the entire length of the wall, and figure out how to support the ends in the absences of studs near the outside ends.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I so seldom get photos I really like of Oscar...he was even cuter before I came in with the camera and he picked his head up!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Been busy since the hurricane, then with work with a co-worker on vacation for the month of September.

But it's Oktoberfest! God bless Germany!