“Well, Lawd A’Mighty! If a man has an axe and a tree to play with, ain’t no reason to be bored on this planet!”
The quote is from Roy Underhill, who has been producing TV programmes in USA on woodworking with hand tools for 30-odd years. You can see some of his more recent programmes at The Woodwright Shop – click on “Watch Online”. I would also heartily recommend his TED talk, where you will discover why Europe has its mountains stuck on the wrong way!
In this case, however, most of the work was done with a chainsaw rather than an axe, apart from the splitting of some of these logs last weekend when Carol and Ian spent a day at the wood with us.
My sister Pam gave me the book, “Norwegian Wood” by Lars Mytting, for Christmas – thank you, Pam! It’s all about the Norwegian way in felling trees, cutting them up for firewood, splitting and stacking the logs to dry, and I found it a great read. This was one of the many ways in which Norwegians stack their logs – there are two poles that keep the bottom layer of logs off the ground, and a pole knocked into the ground at one end to support the stack. Nice and simple.
The surface of the stump exposed by felling the stem looked unusually brown for sycamore, and when I looked closer, I saw that sap was running from the cambium. I was surprised, as I had hoped and expected that I had felled the tree in time before the sap rose.
Further up the wood, however, I came across a young sycamore which was already coming into leaf.
The primroses, however, have been in flower for some time.
This is how our glade at the top end of the wood looks now. This is where we brew up, light bonfires, camp when the weather is warmer, mill logs and chop firewood.
It is at the end of the access path, up a steep slope. It was an unpleasant surprise when we first bought the wood and found that the landrover could only get twenty yards up the path before stopping with wheels spinning ineffectually. It’s a Landrover, dammit! Unfortunately, it still needs traction, and it didn’t have any – the ruts were full of soft mud as they are the drainage path for our small valley.
However, after filling the ruts with hardcore from the ruins of Jim’s 17th century mansion, the path is good to go (for a Landrover) all year round. I’ve always been able to drive up the path, even in this miserably wet winter.
I’ll finish with a little problem. Here are a few logs from the felled tree, tastefully arranged. Anyone know what could be the use of it?