wood gathering in Poison Ivy
Friday, June 3 2011
At about 4:30 pm this afternoon I snuck off with the Subaru to go gather more wood from the downed trees at a friend's place in Bearsville. I didn't want to bring the dogs because they tend to wander off and otherwise distract me. (And distraction is an unsafe condition when operating a chain saw.) While I was out, I picked up my three pounds of Zanzibar from Catskill Mountain Coffee and then went to the big beer store next door to see what interesting IPAs they had in stock. I ended up buying a six pack of Nectar.
At the site of the downed trees, a lot had changed since I'd been here a month before. A semi-mown field that I'd driven across had grown knee-deep with coarse brush. I could still drive through it, but once I climbed out, I was dismayed to find that a good fraction of the plant material around me was Poison Ivy. Having dressed in Crocs and short pants, I was unprepared for this situation. But I soldiered on, knowing that if I gave my skin a thorough washing within the next few hours, I'd stand a chance of avoiding a punishing all-body rash (which working in such conditions would otherwise give me).
The weather has been cool for the past few days, making yesterday's brake work and today's wood gathering not as unpleasant as it might otherwise be. Still, carrying stove-length pieces of large trees out of the woods across Poison-Ivy-and-rose-cane-choked fields is backbreaking work, and it wasn't long before I'd shed my teeshirt. At some point I miscalculated the pinch vectors of a downed White Ash and ended up getting my chainsaw stuck in it. I tried various makeshift levers (using large pieces of wood as fulcrums) but the only way to free my saw was to wade out into that sea of Poison Ivy and jerk the far end of the ash tree back and forth.
I should mention, by the way, that the brakes on the Subaru remained unpleasantly pulsy both to and from this firewood mission.
Back at the house, I jumped in the shower and lathered up all potentially-exposed body parts with Dr. Bronner's spearmint soap. All I could do after that was hope for the best.
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