Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The Most Dangerous Thing in the Woods
Now I know all of you read the title and had a different vision of some dangerous beast or something.
I am sure Rev. Paul was thinking large bears or rutting Bull Moose.
Rob was prolly envisioning bitter winds and snow.
The Florida Brigade (and yes there is about an entire brigade of them, Stephen, JUGM, Duke, Mammabear, Izzy etc) were either thinking about big damned illegal alien snakes or alligators or something.
Kymber and Jamby immediately thought about teenage boys sneaking around in full Gilly suits during a sun bathing session.
Harry was thinking about bears, boars or rapid ferret eating chipmunks.
Beetle Bailey was thinking about an IQ test or having to use a bic lighter to start a fire while several other ego's immediately thought of themselves I am sure.
But no my dear friends you would all be wrong. At least for around here, of which I know you don't have that much experience in Missouri woods so you are forgiven.
No around here the most dangerous thing in the woods is Wild Grape Vine.
This stuff is why I almost never cut wood during the Summer and prefer to stockpile it all over the Winter months. Even during Winter it is a constant irritant and accident hazard. I know in my case I am injured or almost injured many many more times a year by wild grape vine while cutting then by any other thing either directly or indirectly.
This plant is a literal health hazard. I almost got knocked unconscious today due to complications that arose because of grape vine. It is amazing how one little strand of this stuff not even a quarter of an inch in diameter can hold multiple trees that weigh tons almost stationary in mid air. It grows and attaches these trees together and can sometimes cause hours of delays just trying to figure out how or where it is holding up the process.
Today I had a lovely old dead Elm which was perfect size and dryness for burning with the split Oak and Locust sections. It would add just the right amount of flame for the slow burning heartwood to pump out the heat and most of it did not require splitting. As I soon found out though the grape vine had it securely attached to a perfectly live maple and only by about the last two foot of the smaller top branches. Even those little branches strengthened as they were with grape vine were enough to stop the entire process.
Out come the chains and the tractor. Nope not budging.
Down comes the maple.... Except the maple just stood there totally upright it wouldn't even fall when it was cut entirely through.
Attach the chains to the Maple. The entire mess just laughed at the tractor trying to pull it. Finally I got the chain wrapped around the Maple at about 12 foot of height and had my Dad pull from a different direction with the tractor and it came down. However a branch off an entirely different tree which was also connected into the works by the grape vine was now free to slingshot itself with the force of a Medieval Catapult coming straight at my head. I ducked out of it but it knocked my hat off and one of the little whippy branches actually drew blood as it cut the tip of my nose.
Ouch. It felt like I had been punched.
Four hours of cutting and I barely got maybe two thirds of a load. Usually I can cut an entire load in less than two hours.
How many times have I had branches slingshot or whip up knocking my chainsaw around because of this menace of the woodlands? It blends in and causes unseen hazards everywhere.
If any of you find that cutting your own firewood becomes something you need to do and you have wild grape vine be careful of this evil plant from hell.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!