Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Journal entry, 11/14/2004
Two and a half months have passed since I left the manacles of the General Motors Corporation. I suppose it really wasn’t that bad, just really… robotic.
I am back at Parkway now and four day weeks are nice, but I hate the drive. I’ll live though.
The first week after we closed on the house was strange. The moon was full. By eleven o’clock or so each night the woods were lit up in a beautiful glow. I stayed in a tent and tried to work on cleaning up as much as I could. When we moved we ended up with a ton of odd and end junk left. In the hurry to get the trailer unloaded it was just thrown off and created a major trashpile. The path to the homesite looked like a junkyard. Now it’s a bit more manageable. Everything is under tarps. My plan is to get a small pole barn up with a lean-to off the back to store a lot of the junk in and possibly even live in. It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. Our chronic lack of money has caused us to dip into credit. Granted, our lack of funds is greatly due to mismanagement, mostly on my part. This will be an exercise in imaginative building, that is for sure.

Journal entry, 11/29/2004
A Drawknife, when pulled through the rough, outer bark of a white oak, at first sounds like a wooden cup full of steel bb’s shaken gently. As you get down to the more solid inner bark though, and begin actually separating the tannin rich, porous skin from the solid sapwood it clings to, it shifts to a sound I can only describe as that of someone slurping soup from a spoon…watery soup. There is a stark beauty left in the tree with the bark removed. The white sapwood quite nearly sparkles and sings. After a few minutes of exposure to the air, the thin bits of inner bark left here and there begin to shift to a dull pink and eventually turn an orange-ish color, giving a soothing texture to the giant shaft of solid wood. Not all the posts are straight. Most have knots and imperfections, adding to their character. The south ridge support beam has a lot of that. Granted, that is my own fault…
You see, when you cut down a tree, you have to cut a notch on one side and a score on the other. One would, under ordinary conditions, put the notch on the side you wanted the tree to fall on. I, by some feat of cranial flatulence I seem to excel at, cut a notch on the wrong side. The result was a tree that wouldn’t fall. My only choice was to raise the Bobcat bucket up to full height and push the tree over. The tree, not caring for my methods, chose to split about fifteen feet of the trunk and remain dangling in midair. [added note, the tree was on a slope and was leaning such that it should fall downhill. With the notch screwed up, there was no way to approach the tree and push from down hill, enabling it to fall into the goofed up notch] This is an incredibly dangerous situation.
When a tree falls it changes its nature. What was a tree lands in a heap of tangled branches and dirt (or in this case, mud) and instantly becomes a huge, coiled and deadly spring. The energy pent up in a fallen tree is enough to easily snap an arm, leg or neck should the wrong cut be made and that force be released. Thanks to my poor felling, that spring was fifteen feet in the air. I did manage to get it down with the help of my dear friend, Bob the Cat though… and without any medical bills.

The nicest looking beam so far is the south west corner. It is straight and clean with no knots. After debarking it, I just looked at it for a few, sharing my admiration with the dogs (who were licking my hand) and a beer (who was filling my belly!)
This weekend I hope I am far enough along to have the ridge beam on.

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