wore out

I’m pretty damned tired after the first full weekend of physical labor that I’ve done since last fall (or maybe even last summer). Five to six months of doing nothing but sitting on my butt all day in an office, then going home and laying on my back all night have reduced me to a mere ghost of my once gloriously vigorous self, or what somehow passed for vigorous and glorious, anyway.

I started on Friday by pruning the lowest branches off the maple tree that sprouted as a volunteer many years ago and has finally grown into what I would tell other people is a tree without worrying that they’re going to snicker at it. It’s a much more slow-growing maple than the others in the yard, so for all but the last one or two years it resembled nothing as much as a tall, skinny twig with lots of leaves on it. Last year, though, its branches were just thick enough and so fully-fledged that anybody would say it’s a tree instead of a mere sapling. The lowest branches, though, were making it impossible for me to comfortably get underneath them in order to mow the grass, so I lopped off five or six. We’ll see how that goes.

There’s another maple by the front door that sprouted four or five years ago and I let it keep growing even though it’s probably too close to the house to keep much longer, but I like the shade it throws across the door, so I think it gets to stay for at least another year or two. There was one branch growing askew of the main trunk and right across the path to the door, however, that had to go.

And while I was feeling all lumberjacky, I cut down the soft maple that sprouted in the far corner of the front yard, between the house and the telephone pole. It was just a skinny sapling for many years, but in the last year or two it got crazy big, and it was right on the lot line so it was going to encroach on the neighbor’s yard soon enough. In another year or two it would be too big for me to drop by myself, so I set myself down at the base of the trunk with a bow saw and started to work cutting a notch in the near side to get the tree to fall into our yard instead of into the neighbor’s yard or the street.

Soft as the wood was, it took me a good twenty to thirty minutes to cut that notch with my little saw, and I may have mentioned taht I’m not used to that kind of sustained physical labor, so once I got the notch cut out I retreated to the house to suck down a glass of orange juice, then chase it with a glass or two of water while I munched on snacks to give me strength enough to get through the next hour or so.

I dropped the tree almost exactly where I wanted it to go, right across the middle of our yard and pointing slightly away from the hard maple in the middle of the yard. After it was down, I wheeled the wood chipper out of the shed, spun it up and started feeding branches into it that I cut off the soft maple as I went. It took the better part of three hours but I managed to reduce all but the branches that were too thick to feed into the chipper to mulch, a pile that filled a 30-gallon garbage can and one bushel basket.

That was about all I had the time and the strength to do on Friday. On Saturday morning, I cut the trunk of the soft maple into chunks small enough to handle with a circular saw, probably not the best tool for the job but no way was I going to give up a couple hours of my life to do it with a hand saw. The circular saw was the only power tool I had that was portable and would cut through wood that thick. I guess technically my table saw is portable, but I didn’t want to mess it up my abusing it that way.

Then I mowed the grass in the front yard before stacking the wood from the tree by the curb for pick-up later next week. Finally, I dragged the chipper into the back yard and chipped a pile of branches that I’d left there last fall. They went through the chipper a lot more easily now they were dry than they did last year when they were green, not that I take any credit for planning it that way. I just got lazy and left it until now.

And that’s why I’ve been sore as hell all over and feeling as though I’ve been drained of my life force. I took a ride to Farm & Fleet in the morning with B, who wanted to pick up a flamethrower and a few other sundries she used later to combat the dandelions that were threatening to take over her garden. Yes, a flamethrower, although it doesn’t spew jellied gasoline all over the yard so I guess it’s technically not a flamethrower. It’s more like a high-powered torch, made specifically to blast weeds all to hell. This is an actual gardening tool. I picked the wrong hobby.

I went along to find a latch for the doors in the basement because without it, Scooter would find out sooner or later that he could opened them at any time with a gentle push. I found just what I needed and installed it later in the afternoon. And I got the hoses down from the attic in the garage because although she was having lots of fun with her new toy, she was a little worried that she might set fire to the neighborhood. No worries about that now that the hoses are connected and she can soak the ground after she scorches it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s