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A Series on Log House Building #8


Here we had a bunch of trees standing in the bush. Hubby hauled out his big ‘ol power saw to fall them. We had to invest in a Skidder of sorts. This is a machine that can grab onto the butt or big end of a tree and pull it onto a flat ‘decking’ site.

The Skidder operator grabs several trees depending on the size and weight, negotiating the long lengths between stumps and other trees and obstacles to get to the decking area. The Skidder roars up onto the edge of the pile of existing trees, bouncing over limbs and humps and bumps until the end of the pile…then…the hydraulic lever is pulled, the trees let go with a crash…the Skidder falls over the end of the pile with another crash, and so on. Then it heads back for another ‘grab’ of trees. This was my job.




When the weather is cold the limbs break well – snapping off easily when they are frozen. It is fun to take the skidder beside the big burly masses of branches, smashing and crashing as you go. I might run a-straddle a heavily limbed tree, judging the depth under my machine compared to the distance of it from the ground and crunching limbs on 3 sides at once! Once in a while I’d misjudge and there I would be – hung-up - wiggling and shaking the machine around to get out of the problem. You have to get creative to save time and to do a proper job.

On warm days the limbs are like rubber and bond like stubborn devils to the trunks they grew with all their lives. On warm days  they can end up looking like scraggly porcupines. The only way to any kind of a job with them is to get out the raspy, roaring powersaw and cut off each limb individually. It’s a lot of work! The best part of warm days is the scent of the warm tree bark and fragrant, exposed sap. The needles and broken limbs form a deep web across the forest floor. The balmy smell lifts from the ground, around my face. It drifts through my nostrils, into my lungs  and expires with my deep breathing, from the exercise, back into the atmosphere.

The next step is to hire or truck the logs in up to 100 foot lengths to the yard site, where they can be milled later on. It all  has to be done here before the frost and ice disappears in the spring so that we don’t damage the roads. The bush roads are only temporary trails curled between blocks of bush, around and through creeks, or over pipelines, etc. When it’s all over, the bush returns to its quiet, serene state of natural bliss.


…and I’m at home planning the shapes and lengths we will cut them in to make myself a place to live that will fit our needs for life and survival.

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