Two steps forward, three steps back. That's the story with our West Virginia dream. We were making real progress. We had ample water in our camper by way of a 45 gallon transfer tank in the bed of my truck. This meant showers, something we sorely needed. Our new shed provided plenty of storage space: no more toting generators and chainsaws and tools 70 miles from our house. I even built a small deck so we could unwind and take in the view. Hell, we had ourselves a happenin' little camp. In fact, we were enjoying it so much we postponed all work for the summer. Here's how the conversation went. Me: "Let's put in some roads, a garden, hell, let's build a barn." She: "Let's take the summer off." Me: "Yeah, okay. Umduh."
Truthfully, she made a good call. Summer was hot. Hot as in the hottest July on record. It was time to slow down and enjoy ourselves. The elevation of our lot is 1700 feet offering some relief from July's nut-drenching heat so why not take it all in. The cabin can wait. As we sat on our deck that July afternoon with the sun at our back enjoying our partial view of the valley the Diplomat said, "We only have a partial view of the valley. Cut down that tree."
That ended our summer break.
It had been a few years since I brought down a plump oak. Things went smoothly at first, warming up with a slender young pine, a half-dead maple. Trees were coming down, our view ever expanding. Then I went face to face with that tree, as in the "Cut down that tree" tree. It wasn't an especially big oak but the trunk had a nasty crook in it giving it a natural lean in the direction I didn't want it to go. In theory, an experienced tree-feller can carefully control a tree-fall with a combination of skillful cutting and knowledge of tree-felling. (FYI that's the first recorded instance of tree-fall being used three times in a sentence.) Well I've got neither skill or knowledge so the long and short of this story is the tree went where it wanted to and not where it should have and on they way down the damn tree pinched my Stihl Farm Boss between the stump and tree. When this happens there is no getting the chainsaw out. What made matters worse was the that tree didn't fall over completely but got hung up on a nearby pine. It was suspended mid-fall at a 45 degree angle. I spent an hour trying recover my chainsaw via the hacksaw-hatchet dual wield method but it was not happening. I spent the evening disassembling my chainsaw so I could get the valuable parts to safety and then I was left to wait it out until Mother Nature brought it down three weeks later, probably as a result of a thunderstorm. Now I have some rusty chainsaw parts.
So is life out there.
You'd think that would be the end of the demolition.
Well, no. There's something that happens to your brain when you take a perfect, tidy little mountain retreat and chop down a couple of trees. You no longer see it as a tidy mountain retreat but a work in progress. It's possible you might start tearing shit up with your Bobcat. It's possible you might have to tap into the resources of your generous neighbor who no-shit-has-an-arc-welder-and-can-fix-anything. Thanks, John.
Henceforth July is renamed Tear Shit Up Month and August Tear More Shit Up Month. It's pretty messy out there. We've got stacks of downed trees, an unnecessary but new road, and there are hundreds of boulders scattered all over the place. It looks like the ruins of Gaddafi's compound. You know what that means? Time for a new project. Out of nowhere we started building a stone wall. God I friggin' love it out there.
Root and stump removal 101.
Hell, I even put a chain on that tree to try to get it to fall in the right direction but no luck, fell right on our deck.
I was doing so poorly with the chainsaw the Diplomat took over. Her run lasted, well, the course of that hack-job, above.
Ya gotta eat.
Mixing mortar for our first stone wall.
The Diplomat was the mason. Cutest mason I've seen.
The wall. Quite fun but hard work.
Yes, ya gotta eat. Cornsgood.