Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chainsaws and the Will to Live

At the advice of a real farmer, I purchased a different brand of chainsaw, but it is still in the box. I am giving my psyche time to recover from the two days of utter failure with the first one. I am also allowing time for my swollen hands to heal. I struggled with that first chainsaw for so many hours over two days that my hands became swollen and blistered. Sometimes dogged determination is a huge liability. The blisters are healing but I still can not wear my rings. Maybe by tomorrow.

Sunday my son came to help war against the trees, too. We pruned and hand sawed and chopped down about two dozen trees - from stunted saplings to a fifteen foot honey locust tree with an eight inch trunk. My son seemed to enjoy chopping the trees down with my new ax. We took turns using the ax. What he lacked in precise control, he made up for with brute strength. My contribution was being able to control the area of cuts. We worked together pretty well although at one point he told me I was sucking his will to live and sapping his energy to work. Translated that means I was being too bossy. He wanted to just start flailing away with the ax at that big honey locust tree and I wanted to carefully prune the lower limbs first. He soon realized my idea was sound. Every limb on those trees have thorns that are two or three inches long, and some even longer. Wicked thorns.

Duke the good dog, newly shorn of his thick fur coat and looking pretty darned goofy, greatly enjoyed the adventure. He found an unknown animal den and put in a lot of time and effort digging into it. Both horses stood right over him, observing his efforts. I am not sure what would have happened if something dangerous had emerged from that den. It would have been a mad panic of humans and horses and an old naked dog running for their lives. I think the only remotely dangerous animal in this area of Kansas would be a badger. Duke might have come out the worse if that is what lives in that hole, and maybe me. I doubt if I could run fast enough to get away from a mad badger, especially in light of the fact that I can not run at all. But nothing that exciting happened.

The horses were worse than monkeys. The windows have to remain closed in the truck because otherwise the horses reach in to nose and bite at everything in the cab. If there is something they can pick up, they love pulling it out and dropping it on the ground. If I leave the windows partway down, they both test the glass with their teeth - too dangerous! They knocked both mirrors out of whack, and messed around with all the tools and stuff in the bed of the truck. There are big swaths of horse slobber over all the windows and mirrors. Annie kept pulling the saplings out of the bed when she was eating the leaves. And of course, one little tree by itself would not come off the truck but a whole intertwined pile of trees would come off. Those horses were not helping.

Annie was so happy for all the excitement in her pasture that she was chasing Duke around, playing, but it was frightening. She would gallop up on him and then buck and kick and cavort around. She was not really wanting to kick him or hurt him. It was just horse play, but those flying hooves are dangerous for old women and old dogs.

Even though we did not have the advantage of a chainsaw, so it was very slow going, it was a pretty good day's work and everyone involved, except the trees, had a good time.

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