12 October 2016

Jesus take the wheel, er... chainsaw

out of doorsSo yesterday, I almost got my horoscope irreparably altered by Mother Nature. Let me explain.

I'm a little short on firewood this year, so I was down front, felling a large and obviously dead maple tree. It was located in a brushy, swampy area, one of three large trees in close proximity to each other.

Not an especially technical drop, but my first mistake was not making a thorough pre-inspection, I failed to see a significant limb threaded through a fork in one of the adjacent trees that also counter balanced my projected fall line.

As a result, when cut free, the tree tipped and spun, remaining nearly upright and balanced on the stump. After a more careful inspection, I realised that the tree was, much like a bow at full draw, now under considerable pressure. Taking this into account, I mapped out a cut that would allow the almost 36 inch diameter trunk to shoot straight backwards when it was released. I also cleared an escape lane 90 degrees to the anticipated direction of release. Unfortunately, the trunk hung up once again on the stump, jammed against the impinging piece of wood I had cut loose.

Realising that I had created something very much like a scaled up deadfall trap for the zombie apocalypse, I decided I would back away and do the sensible thing. Instead of cutting further, I would go get my splitting axe from the garage and knock the locked up piece of wood free from a safer distance.

My second mistake was momentarily forgetting about Newtonian physics... specifically gravity.

I started to walk out the path to retrieve the axe, all the while congratulating myself on my newfound patience & wisdom. Curiously, I had somehow discounted the chances of this multi-ton people-hammer conforming to the physical laws of the universe just as I walked past it.

Yeah... don't ask, 'cos I don't have an answer.

Of course... somebody always wins the lottery. About 15 meters down the trail I heard a loud crack and turned to witness the entire tree shake like a wet dog, shoot backwards about 10 feet and drop like Hillary Clinton at the WTC.

Had I been a little slower to set off, there was a pretty good chance I would have been knocked sideways into tomorrow.

There endeth the lesson.


RELATED: With apologies to CSN&Y...

"Teach... your husband well..."deadfall

"Anyway, this morning I'm sitting at the computer typing away and suddenly the volume on the radio in the kitchen goes way up."
A reader responds... "That's sweet. A lot of women would have turned the radio down."


Bill E said...

Hope you calmed your nerves with a good single malt.

Remind me not to go harvesting firewood with you ;-)

Neo Conservative said...

as a one-time recipient of the blunt trauma trifecta... single-side pnuemo-thorax, cracked sternum and six broken ribs, i have a great deal of respect for the physics involved in such transactions. were i not an atheist, this event would have likely had a larger significance.

that being said... fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice, shame on me.


Bill Elder said...

Sheeeeit man, you should take up a safer hobby like gator wrestling - in 40 years riding/racing bikes I never did that much damage.

Neo Conservative said...

"bill e says... a safer hobby like gator wrestling"

actually, bill... i sustained those particular injuries (plus a minor subdural hematoma & a couple thousand dollars worth of dental work) after a sudden parting of the ways from my vintage goldwing on a downhill, off-camber dogleg up near smith falls, one sunny afternoon back in 2014.

but, you're right... chainsaws are potentially way scarier than motorcycles.


Bill E said...

Goldwing?! Cornering!?? You mas as whell have been riding the chainsaw ;-)

My Bonneville's cornering ability is one of the reasons I'm still here to write about it - with less than 5 sq. in keeping you on the road, it's best not to be top heavy or overloaded

Neo Conservative said...

"bill e says... My Bonneville's cornering ability..."

it's true... the wing is not the most nimble of cycles... as i discovered in spectacular fashion that day.

my second bike, back in the seventies, was a yamaha 650 special, basically a knockoff of the bsa/triumph twins that so dominated the motorcycle world before the japanese invasion.

i still have to rebuild the front end of the goldwing... fortunately it came with a complete donor bike. as you no doubt know, the wing is really meant for distance touring... i suspect i was pushing it a little too hard... alas, no real memory of going down.

as clint eastwood once famously said... "a man's gotta know his limitations." lesson learned.