28 October 2009

A Thoreau Saturday

I realize the chew toy has been a bit of a bitch fest in past months. I think I'm finally decompressing from the negative self I became in Florida. This is to be expected, but that doesn't mean the chew toy's gotta suffer all of that anguish. It's time to turn the corner, at least for a little while.

Did you get that? And by "you," I'm addressing the 0.33-repeating people who still read the chew toy. It's time for a lighter side of the zimdog.

I had quite a Thoreau-esque Saturday. Em, G-Riff, and I saw a pumpkin patch.

On the way home, we stopped at Terry's Berries, where we picked a bucket of apples which we then washed and pressed into cider. It was fun, except for the mean-spirited jackass ordering us around on the cider press. And the cider is the best I've ever tasted.

After we got home with our jug o' cider, I decided to cut some wood in the green-belt running behind our apartment. (As Thoreau probably would, here I note that we've even come up with industrialized names for Nature; oh, we are a sad society.) I came across a felled tree while walking Murphy down there a few days earlier. My goal was to go chop a few large logs off and bring them up to chop for firewood. So down the hill I slid with a bag over my shoulder. The bag was to collect wood chips for kindling, and also for transporting my hatchet, ax, and water bottle.

Here's the tree (after I chopped off a 2.5-foot section):

In the far distance, you may be able to see the train tracks that run along the far edge of the green-belt. When a train would come by, I'd take a break to watch it, wondering if at some point during Thoreau's stay at Walden, he too was chopping wood as a train clunked by. It was a fine moment for me.

I didn't have much area to work with, so chopping even that one section off took quite some time.

The wood was also pretty spongy, not the easiest to chop or burn, so as I chopped, I knew my work wasn't going to amount to a whole lot. I didn't care though. I kept working, just to see if I could finish.

When that piece finally broke over, I was satisfied with the work I had done. I took all these pictures the next day, so I don't have any pictures to document the section I cut off, but you can see the end left behind. I beaver'd it pretty good, eh?

Cutting a section off was one thing. Dragging it up the hill was what followed. So I whacked at it long-ways a dozen or so times until it split down the center. That way if I lost hold of the wood dragging it up the hill, instead of rolling on and on, it would hit the flat side and eventually stop sliding.

No matter. It was still difficult enough getting that wood up the hill. As you can see, it's a steep hill...

... that just keeps going up...

... and up...

I got both halves up in a trip each. Well, for the first piece, it was more like one-and-a-half trips, because I slipped and bashed my knee pretty good on a rock, and had to go halfway back down the hill to get the slide-a-way wood. But otherwise, I only ran myself out of breath and shook my muscles weak from the exertion of it all.

After lugging the bag of wood chips, cutting tools, and water bottle back up, my final rest was a moment of great satisfaction, spent listening to one more train go by--after which I pulled the ax from the bag once more, much nearer the top, to cut this smaller diameter log (left foreground).

It turned out to be a much harder wood that chipped into pieces much faster; later in the day, it also proved itself a better burn than the monster for which I worked much harder. Lesson learned.

And what further evidence do I have documenting this Thoreau-esque endeavor of self-reliance?

Here's my ax...

... and proof that I was fool enough to cut through a tree using only an ax... and no gloves...

The blisters are healing nicely.

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