On a farm it is a fact of life that trees will die and eventually fall down. Here at our farm the cow yard tends to be very profitable when it comes to potential firewood. The trees in the cow yard are old and established. Some of them may very well be as old as the farm itself.
My dad came out last Saturday to cut some firewood for his house which has a fireplace and a wood-burning stove. Ironically, our farmhouse does not have a fireplace. He chose to come when the boys were out of school for the weekend so they could be a part of it. I sometimes wonder who enjoys their time together more.
After checking the cow yard for any potential tire hazards (we've had flat tires in the past due to hidden items), my dad pulled his truck up to a fallen red oak and started assessing the branches. The tree had a number of good sized branches that I measured out for him since his wood-burning stove has a length limit for the logs. I used a paint stick to measure and a small bricklayer's hammer to mark the tree.
Arliss and Travis were busy finding branches that could be used for forts and looking for whatever treasures might be hiding in the grass. My dad and I talked about how he was going to approach the tree and what we would need to do first.
Arliss and Travis were put in charge of stacking the wood into the truck bed; a job their father had when he was growing up in Colorado. Travis decided that Arliss should be in the truck bed and he should be the one collecting the logs once they were cut.
Because of the way the tree had fallen my dad had to make sure he didn't cut a branch that was supporting the tree's weight. As he cut the branches I would toss the logs to Travis who would give them to Arliss to stack. The job is more about the fun of being together than the task of cutting enough wood for the winter. My husband has said he prefers this way of wood cutting to the way his dad would do it.
My husband's family lives in the mountains of Colorado where the only heat comes from wood burning stoves. My father-in-law would go out into the forest to cut wood, felling the tree and then cutting it into rounds that my husband would load onto the truck bed while my father-in-law would go in search of the next tree. This was not a fun way to spend many a weekend.
By the time the tree's large branches were cut and a few rounds of the lower part of the trunk were cut, the truck bed was full. The afternoon was in full swing and it was time to call it a day. The trunk itself will have to wait for another weekend. In the meantime Arliss and Travis have found hollowed out tree stumps which make great hideouts.