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This & That: Oh I'm A Lumberjack and I'm Okay

Sep 16, 2015 10:53PM ● Published by Erik Dittmann

 By: Dave Bowman

As we wind through the days of summer, many of us have tasks and projects on our To-Do List.  On our homestead, we have wanted to clear the land, so to speak.  (Actually, just cutting down two trees on the ol’ property.  Watching too many reruns of Little House On The Prairie, I guess.)

Like many urbanites, my perception and knowledge of “The Lumberjack” is rooted in folklore, myth, and just plain hearsay. Why, who would have known that after chopping down a majestic maple, lumberjacks would impress their womenfolk by bounding upon logs with precise dancing agility, toes pointed properly, as documented in the classic motion picture Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Or that British lumberjacks extolled their virtues with a troupe called Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Or that logging camps were occupied by singing, teenybopper pop icons with feathered, blow-dried hair - an authentic lumberjack hairstyle, to be sure. (Bobby Sherman in Here Come the Brides.)  Kids, you may need to Google that one! 

On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, one of my buddies called and said that he and another friend had a couple of chainsaws and were just itchin’ to “fell a tree.” Suffice it to say, I took them up on the offer. Trekking into our “back 40” (the backyard), we eyed up the long deceased pine tree, and they proceeded to chop ‘er down.  While one of the “woodsmen” confidently exclaimed that he had just watched a You Tube video on cutting down a tree (I am sure Paul Bunyan did just fine without that), my other friend demonstrated his expertise by utilizing tools of the trade he had brought along - a maul and maul wedge.  He also demonstrated the proper method of cutting a “notch” in the tree, and leaving a small piece called the “trigger” which holds the tree until the it is ready to be toppled.  Once the notch was cut, and there was assurance that the area was clear, a cut through the trigger caused the mighty pine to fall exactly where we wanted it.  To our chagrin, however, we did NOT yell “Timber!” Be that as it may, there will be many more S’mores consumed with the increase in our woodpile. 

Now, with this outdoor experience well in hand, and my new woodsman vocabulary in my tool kit, I will be able to talk shop at the next “Lumberjack Breakfast” we attend. 

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