Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Man Week - Day 3

So, I didn't get to enjoy my mimosas yesterday because I had to make an impromptu trip back to town to take Simon, our cat, to the vet. Apparently he's not a very good fighter, so have to take him in about once a year to get his latest fight injuries patched up. And, I wasn't able to burn since the wind picked up a little bit. Probably not enough to prevent burning, but I'd rather not chance it. I've never had a fire get out of control, and I'd like to keep it that way. So, yesterday was kind of a bust. No mimosas and no fire. I know you're probably feeling sorry for me right about now. Don't feel too bad for me, I was able to get the backhoe back on in record time (Bambi looks kinda naked without anything mounted to the back), and began clearing (see a description of my technique below).

While I appreciate nature and am doing everything we can to move out here to get to work with nature more, I get a sick pleasure in the destruction of it, too. There is something immensely satisfying about pulling a tree over and hearing the root system "pop" out of the ground. Then when you pull the fallen tree out of the way, you can appreciate this new opening you just created. On one hand, I feel kinda bad about destroying these natural artifacts that have been growing for several years, but on the other more primal side, I relish tearing shit up!

As for the clearing, I decided to focus on this little patch behind where I park the trailer. Nice clump of cedars and a couple of huge mesquite trees (I hate mesquite).
I was able to make some progress on the patch before it got too dark, so I'll have to finish that up later and take some after shots. I spent the rest of the evening preparing for the rain that came today. This involved gathering up the miscellaneous tools, bags, chairs, etc. that had been used and strewn about over the last couple of days. Oh yea, and I got to cover up Jenna's new purchase (see previous post). With everything buckled down and covered up, I went to bed pretty early. It's amazing how tired you can get when you let Bambi do all the work.

Technique I use for clearing trees:
1) Prepare Bambi. This involves mounting the backhoe (to break up the roots of especially stubborn trees), mounting the fork lift attachment (to carry away said trees), and giving a pep talk to psych that bitch up!
2) Drive a properly excited Bambi to the area to clear.
3) Assess initial tree to determine if Bambi alone can handle it or if the chainsaw (not named) is needed. For trees 5-6" in diameter, Bambi can normally handle by herself. Anything larger requires the saw.
4) Remove the tree.
4a) for trees less than 6" in diameter, this involves wrapping one end of the chain around the tree about shoulder height and the other end to Bambi. Once the three pieces are properly connected (tree, chain, Bambi), shift Bambi into low gear and start pulling. At this point, the tree will start to lean towards you, hopefully it will be pivoting at the base meaning the roots are breaking away, but every once in a while it will start to bend/break in the middle of the trunk. Once the tree leans almost level to the ground, then it's just a matter of will power. Bambi vs. tree roots. Bambi will complain and probably start to spin her tires, but a few words of encouragement and a couple of rabbit starts (prolly not good for her, I know) and you usually get to hear that satisfying pop as Bambi lurches forward pulling a newly freed tree, stump and all.
4b) for trees greater than 6" in diameter, ignore it and find a tree less than 6" in diameter. Then return to 4a.
5) Use the fork lift attachment to load the fallen tree and haul it off to a new burn pile.
6) grab a beer to celebrate your (Bambi's) feat
7) repeat

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