This tree is coming down. It’s a flowering crab apple and is very pretty for about 4 days out of a year and looks like crap for the rest of the year. It also increases the shade in my garden, which is already too shady.

One of the YaYa’s husbands has a chainsaw and Beck emailed them to see if we could use it. He replied that was concerned about safety and how much chain saw experience I had. I replied, “An old UFSF woods rat like me? My only concern is that I might not be able to use it without a fire burning around me!”

He was apologetic about doubting my chainsaw machismo, but the fact of the matter is I haven’t used a chainsaw for about thirty years. And I never actually did use one in a fire. During that summer, all of us on the crew got a chance to use the saw and we were tutored by a contractor who was a real woods rat. An Idaho redneck woodsman of the highest order, he probably fed his family with elk and trout and knew the North Fork from mine dump to pristine mountain waterfall. I’ll never forget him telling us that if you used a chainsaw all day you’d have “muscles in your shit.”

Forest Service saws were used and abused and we waisted hours trying to find one that ran or was sharp enough or schlepping back to camp to trade an unstartable one for a functioning one. When you used the saw for Smokey, you had to wear heavy chaps, and the standard Smokey gear was steel toed boots, long pants, long sleeved shirt and a hardhat. That’s how I was dressed when it was my turn to run the saw. Of course, it was the hottest day of the summer and my task was to cut out a tangled deadfall at the bottom of small revinge were they were going to do a burn in the fall. It was probably the only humid place in Northern Idaho, unless you count the bottom of a mine shaft.

Everyone was a little apprehensive about the city kid (after all I grew up in a town of twenty thousand) college boy handling a dangerous tool. But I managed to come out of the experience unscathed, but hot and exhausted. I didn’t notice any muscles in my shit though.

So wish me luck. I’m going to call the Emergency Room and North Memorial so they can prepare for limb reattachment surgery. They’re famous for it.

8 thoughts on “

  1. I took out my share of trees and tree limbs this fall.  About 3000 lbs worth of wood and brush so far. There’s more to do, too.

  2. Chaps, heh, heh heh. Actually, some friends are supposedly coming over tomorrow to help me take down a maple tree between my power lines and my garage. They have about two feet of clearance. It should be real fun.

  3. After Hurricane Andrew in ’92, there were PLENTY of trees in need of being cut down, chopped up and such around my grandfather’s house in Miami.  I never touched a chainsaw, but Uncle Rich had my bros and I hauling logs he’d cut up for a good long time.  Every morning it was, “you boys enjoy breakfast?  Good, let’s go work for lunch.”  We had plenty of muscles in our shit after that.  What a way to start the 3rd grade…

  4. I was going to say “ah it’ll be like riding a bike”, but seeing as my son just fractured both his wrists doing just that, I think I’ll retire that particular metaphor.

  5. I didn’t know the hospital worked on trees.

    Just watch your boys.  the get sensitive around cutting tools.

    There is something musical about a chainsaw.

  6. i’ve tried to leave a comment three times,  stupid xanga.

    poor, sad, ugly-tree.

    friday, in san diego, i had a date with bob dylan.  he opened with leopard-skin pill-box hat and right away i thought of you.

    why is that?  did we joke about that song or something?


  7. i like the quote about using the chain saw all day. it was nice to laugh so hard! i know you’re OK, since i’m reading this late, but a belated good luck anyway.

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