Posted By Sarah on February 12, 2012
We’ve finally got enough snow out in the deep woods to make logging possible, so the long process of cutting and hauling spars has begun. We own a little over 40 acres of mixed pasture and woodlot, all of it on a mix of steep ravines and small mountains, and at the very back edge of the lot stands a tall grove of straight spruces. Needless to say, this grove is on a very steep incline over some rather rough terrain! We made the first trip out there a couple of days ago and selected the trees to be cut.
The first part was easy. There is a logging road going to the back of our property. We keep it plowed for a friend who has a deer camp back there. Our young harness goat in training, Oscar, tagged along for the adventure.
Once at the end of the road, it was snowshoe time. We put the chainsaw in a plastic half-barrel that would later serve as a skid to keep the end of the logs on top of the snow. From the road, it was about half a mile or so to the spruce grove.
We selected tall straight trees of the approximate diameter and marked them for later use. While Ekk cut two down for later hauling, the goat and I wandered around and harvested spruce gum for later use. Spruce gum can be boiled and added to beeswax, which is then used to wax thread for sewing canvas.
By the time we got trees down, it was getting dark, so we made plans to come back the next day. It had been much colder, so the snow was frozen hard and would (mostly) support our weight. Here I am hauling the log that will eventually be a gaff. The project was good training for our goat, who is still working on the whole “getting out of the way” idea. Once I got the log moving, there was no way I was willing to stop. Oscar got his revenge, though – at one point I tripped and took a solid face plant into the snow in the middle of a raspberry patch. Oscar promptly ran over, jumped on my back, and used me as a stepping stool to get the brambles he hadn’t been able to reach.
The weather started to turn for the worse after we’d hauled two logs out to the road. There are more trees out there in the spruce stand, and we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us. Heron still needs another half-dozen logs for spars and masts, not to mention spares. All these logs will need to be barked and shaved down to their final dimensions. And that’s not even mentioning all the canvas…