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Friday, December 25, 2009


Mason close-upMason ponders the true meaning of Christmas… or maybe he’s thinking about lunch.

We got a pretty late start to the day, except for Mason of course, who woke up at 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Fortunately, Snippet took the early shift (after I got up) and The Boy got the second shift (after Mrs. Fetched got up). We slept until nearly 9, took our time getting breakfast together, and finally got to clearing out from under the tree around noon.

Now I hadn’t planned much in the way of gifts this year; I picked up Mrs. Fetched a pot of miniature roses (she likes). In my mind, this Christmas was going to be Mason-centric. Not that he’s much into the Grand Acquisition of Stuff just yet, but it's always fun to get stuff for a baby because the older folks have great fun showing him how it works… and then he just chews it. The Boy and Snippet, however, went all-out — I think I heard someone say they pretty much shot Snippet’s entire paycheck on stuff for everyone. But relatively, this Christmas was fairly sedate.

Wednesday, though… yeesh. Mrs. Fetched invited both Panda’s family and the Evil Twins (and family) over to the manor. I cut out of work early, urged to do so by my boss earlier in the day, and picked up a few things on the way in. You think we have a lot of people tramping around in our house, you ought to try Panda’s place… they have a two-bedroom house for: his family of four, a brother-in-law and his family of four, plus his wife’s mom and fiance. Ten people crammed into a smaller space than just the downstairs here… kind of puts things in perspective. Panda’s kids (ages 3 and 6 I think) had great fun checking out the presents under the tree (I remember doing the same thing at that age, certain none would be for me but you never know, right?) and the Evil Twins and I had great fun hassling each other. All the festoovities had Mason pretty wound up that night and he didn’t really get to sleep until past 11… and slept until 7.

Yesterday (Christmas Eve) I figured to cut some wood. Mrs. Fetched said the chainsaw chain was not cutting, but I had a non-working saw in the other garage that I thought was also 18" so I figured I could swap the chain and at least get some of it done. It turned out my old chain was 16" — and when I tried swapping the bar onto the working saw, it wouldn't fit on the bolts. The Evil Twins and parents were coming back to help, so I called them to let them know I didn’t have a working saw. “You have a ‘safety chain,’ and they don’t cut,” he said. “Go to a hardware store — take the saw with you — and get the best chain they have. It won’t cost a lot. If they have a hardwood chain, get that.” As it turned out, I had to take Daughter Dearest to the bank so she could deposit a check for next semester’s textbooks, so next stop was the TrueValue in town (which also carries Stihl saws, one of which I’d like to get if the funds ever come through).

“We don’t carry hardwood chains for saws that small,” he said, “but what we got will cut a lot better than the one you’ve got now.” Undoubtedly, seeing this one could barely cut kindling. After 15 or 20 minutes, I walked out with a new chain (looking wicked-sharp, with easily twice as many teeth as the previous) and a file and spent less than $25 on it all. The hardware store was pretty quiet; I could have done all sorts of last-minute Christmas shopping and bought Mrs. Fetched some power tools at my leisure.

I got home, fired up the saw, and applied it to a tree that DD, Sasquatch, Brand X and I pushed over a couple summers back and never gotten around to cutting up — and it went through almost like it was butter. I had everything cut up that I’d planned on cutting in about 20 minutes. Mrs. Fetched returned about then, and asked me to help her feed the cows — “then you can bring the splitter up the back way, it’s already hitched to the 4-wheeler.” I arrived with the splitter, to find our friends here.

“Is that all you planned to cut up today?” he asked.

“Pretty much,” I said. “I figured it would take longer.”

Wood stack“We could get that one,” he said, pointing to a dead-looking oak about 20 yards down in the woods. “Or that over there,” over to the side of the house. His legs were paining him enough to need the cane today, so we decided on the second tree because he wouldn’t have to walk much uphill back to the house. I dropped the tree (a fairly good-sized one) and it took out several more on the way down. Mrs. Fetched’s mom showed up, and told me to get the tractor to drag the trees up to the driveway (where it would be easier to carry). We ended up cutting 6-foot lengths, loading them into the grapple/claw, and carrying them to the stack point. The promised rain had held off so far, and only sprinkled on us a little as we cut and stacked everything — dry stuff went on a rack in the garage (shown here), green stuff off to the side. What you see here is about a third of what we did today. We should be good until February.

So at least I worked off one or two of my Christmas dinners…


  1. Far, merry Christmas to you & your family, and thanks for all the stuff you post here. Love that new series, White Pickups.

    I had managed to forget about some of the minutiae of the firewood bidness, but your post brought it all back to mind. I am missing some hearing range in places due to Dad's chainsaw .. my job was to stand off to his side and pay attention to the tree itself after he cut his wedges and was taking out the back, and then to slap him hard on the shoulder when the tree started to move. That was his cue to drop the saw and run.

    Mason will eventually stop chewing on everything :)

  2. Thanks Nudge, and a Merry Christmas to you too! I've been lurking at FTA the last few days, haven't had anything constructive to add to the conversation.

    Sorry about reminding you of the ghosts of firewood past… I wear earplugs if I remember then. I've gotten fairly good at watching the cut as I'm cutting toward the wedge; I can see it start to open up — that's my cue to back off for a second & see if it keeps going, then cut slowly until it starts opening & run away. What I like a spotter for is to make sure the tree isn't trying to drop a few payback branches on my head. :-P

    The massage pad has worked most of the stiffness out of my back… I'm seriously considering taking down that oak out back that we didn't get to.

    Yeah, Mason's in the early teething stages. I'll give him a knuckle if I can't find the pacifier… that feels very weird.

  3. I have removed this message

  4. Mason is a beautiful baby! And looks so sweet in that photo. He should be, he's getting lots of love from you all.

    Great story about the wood cutting. I've done a bit of that myself...at least the picking up and stacking part.

  5. Easily I to but I about the list inform should have more info then it has.

  6. Hiya FAR,

    Great picture of Mason.

    You be careful when cutting those trees. I had an uncle by marriage that was cutting a tree in his yard. Something happened or somehow he misjudged and the tree hit him in the head. He was in the hospital for a long time, but luckily he came through it.

    Glad you got the majority of the cutting done and be careful.

    Take care


  7. Anon… do you sometimes go by the nickname Solar? I'm finding your comments as amusing as I do incomprehensible. ;-)

    FM, I'll bet the tree dropped a branch on your uncle. That almost happened to me a couple weeks ago; fortunately it missed.


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