Tis The Season For Logic And Reason


A Young Faller Beside A Tree With Approximately A 30 Inch Butt

I’ve fallen my fair share of trees, but don’t get the wrong opinion, I am not a professional faller. We didn’t log commercially, we had a sawmill on the ranch and only bought lumber when we needed hardwoods other than poplar for building furniture or windows. We usually cut two to twenty truck loads of trees every winter depending on what was to be built later on in the year.

Falling is a technical and dangerous skill. Widow makers and barber chairs can happen in less than a second and your life is changed forever or over. A widow maker is an inch and a half or larger branch falling from thirty feet up, it is enough to crack a hard hat and the skull of an unlucky faller. Trees with a vertical imperfection, (A Dutchman) or vertical splits will sometimes crack lengthwise during the falling procedure and the top slab will crush or cut the faller in half. Actually it is all a numbers game. I would fall between a hundred and six hundred live trees every winter. A real logging faller will fall over a hundred trees a day. His chances of getting killed are much greater. Those numbers are for green or live trees and does not take into consideration the dry trees you log for firewood.

The Faller Begins His Undercut, Precision Is Imperative

The dry trees are much more dangerous because they don’t necessarily follow the falling rule book. A green tree or a live tree is fairly flexible and the faller’s wedge can be used on the back cut to push the tree in the opposite direction to insure the tree will fall in a predictable direction. A dry tree often breaks the “hinge” or portion of tree left until the end to direct the path of the fall.

The cuts are not precise on that log!

Falling the trees in a bird’s nest formation makes skidding them to a landing a difficult and dangerous situation. I would only fall fifty trees a day and would skid the trees the next day with a horse one or two trees at a time. Needless to say, I learned to control my trees arc to the ground or I had headaches the next day. Note: We always skidded with one horse on ice trails, this team skidding is new to me. It is also extremely dangerous to walk along side the log, they can catch on a frozen root or an old stump and jump up and take your legs off. You should walk along side of your horse, it’s much safer. I learned to log from an old Norwegian, they were the best and they didn’t get hurt.

The Pie Shaped Block From The Undercut

Like most jobs, if everything goes well the job is easy.

The Correct Way To Fall A Tree

When there is sloppiness or the faller doesn’t understand the principles involved, there is a good chance of a disaster occurring.

A Dangerous Situation, The Back Cut was Sawn At An Angle

This situation increases the chances of a barber chair split of the tree or an uncontrolled falling at best. Hopefully this faller learned how or found another line of work.

I managed to buck the odds one day and used up at least a good portion of my luck. I was gathering firewood not far from the ranch house and I came upon three dry spruce snags with 30 inch butts. They were about two feet away from each other and during the course of their hundred year life span their limbs had intertwined and now they stood in a triumvirate of deadly melancholy, waiting for a strong wind to blow the three of them down together. There was an immense amount of hot burning firewood in those three trees, but it would be tricky to fall them without getting killed. Their branches still gripped each other like immortal lovers and it would be impossible to fall them one at a time. I’d need to cut two of them until they were ready to fall in the same direction and then fall the third one into the other two so they would all come down together in a giant pile of firewood.

It was a job for a master faller, but I was young and had the confidence or should I say the stupidity of untested youth.

I cut the first two and they were balanced on about a half inch of wood called the hinge between the under cut and the back cut. I remember feeling confident at this point. I made a beautiful under cut and started the back cut on the third tree. I was almost finished when the tree started a violent vibration that spread to the other two trees. I looked up to see what was going on and my eyes filled with the black bark dust that was floating down in a continuous stream. I closed my eyes and I felt the saw slip all the way through the tree.

I had just made one of the most grievous errors a faller can make. My tree was no longer connected to the stump. My saw was pinned by the weight of the tree and the tree was rotating on the stump. The other two trees broke from their hinges and I saw the bizarre sight of all three trees rotating on their stumps. You are never supposed to take your eye away from the tree, but at this point, I decided to retreat was the best course of action. I ran as fast as my young legs could carry me in the knee deep snow. I made it about forty feet before the world switched to black.

I woke up and looked at my body expecting to see bones sticking out. There was no blood or bones, but I had a tremendous headache and my teeth felt like they had all been hit with a hammer. I felt under my stocking cap, who needs a hard hat for firewood logging, and there was a bump about the size of my fist on top of my head. I stood up and began to strengthen my body that felt like jelly.

The story of what happened was there in front of me waiting to be pieced together. The last tree chased me as I ran away and hit me square on top of the head about two thirds up its length. The tree broke over my head in a spot that was eight inches in diameter. By all of the calculations of physics, I shouldn’t be alive and I began to wonder if I was indeed still alive.

I walked over to my Husky 480 chain saw that was undamaged and started to buck up the tree in firewood lengths before I accepted the fact that I was indeed still alive.

The trees burned well that winter and like most close calls with death, you walk away with a greater appreciation of the beauty and mystery of life.

If I had it over to do again, I’d wait for those trees to blow down on their own. That is the intelligence that comes with experience: you don’t learn it in school, it is from the lesson book of hard knocks. If you are lucky and durable, you learn valuable lessons that keep you alive in the future.

Politicians who can’t learn from their mistakes or fail to see the folly of policies that continue to fail are stuck in the blindness of ideological tunnel vision or just plain stupidity. Unfortunately, they can’t accept the fact that their beloved ideology has failed; consequently, they are in denial. It doesn’t matter if someone wants to exist in an alternative reality; unless they insist on destroying a whole country’s economy and perhaps even the economy of the world to prove the legitimacy of a failed economic system. We presently have a leader who is content to bring the trees down on the country despite having proved himself to be an utter failure in economic theory. He could save his legacy and perhaps his reelection if he could only admit abysmal failings with his ideas of wealth redistribution and his Socialism, but he is determined to make the same mistakes over and over.

I survived because of being an extremely fit young man with a skull made of iron: the country is surviving because we have a resilient and dynamic economy, but all things have their limits. I fear the US economy is fast approaching its limits of endurance.


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I am currently sawing Eastern Red Cedar . . . need some good lumber to build that really nice piece of furniture . . . I have a Norwood Mill . . . LumberMate 2000. Talking about tuff stuff to saw . .. odd shapes makes for a lot of sawing with not a lot of yield!!! Happy to send you a picture of the me and the saw working!

Great analogy as usual, Skook. Obama does have the arrogance and unbridled narcissism of youth along with a very dangerous ideology that combine to drive him into leading our country down the path of socialism.

Skookum, great analogy, great last two paragraphs about politicians and failed policies. Please keep up the good work.

BTW, a logger will “fell” a tree. Look it up!

Talllgrass, I am not familiar with the different modern saws. I know the old fashioned head rig and several different edgers and chippers. I think everything I used as far as a mill was designed before I was born.

Eastern Red Cedar, is that a hardwood?

I used to love working and building with wood. We always hauled to a planer mill and had a lot of T&G made. Those were good old days. Trying to make do with three dollars when you needed five.

Antics, when you drive a horse, especially in traffic, he wears blinders to keep him from seeing things coming up on him from behind. They can only stay focused on what is directly in front of them. I think Obama has his Socialist blinders on and he can’t see the failures accumulating behind him.

Thanks Warren, I had no idea that felling trees was part of the lexicon. I used fall because it sounded better and I thought the readers could follow the story better. I don’t remember for sure how we used the words back then, but many of the easier words were often redesigned by the rural people of the North, including me; although, I made an effort to improve my English and speak English fluently.

@Skookum: I just thought your use of “fall” was a Canadian thing and chose to find it charming. 🙂

In Texas a lot with trees is described as “wooded.” In Virginia such a lot lot is described as “treed.” I used to laugh everytime I read an ad for a “treed” lot, imagining it cornered by hunting dogs.

This is kind of embarrassing. I know the correct term, but didn’t use it because it sounds so awkward when you conjugate it for writing. Examples: He is a feller. He felled 500 trees or he fell 500 trees. It is a funny word that is a lot easier to use in the bush. There again the bush may have nothing but bushes or you might not be able to find one with a search warrant.

There is a good lesson here, does a writer use colloquial terms or the correct terms. You must be careful, because there is always someone who is familiar with your subject matter. Funny stuff!

@Skookum: Not to even mention trying to say, “Smart feller, Feller smart” three times fast…



There is a good lesson here, does a writer use colloquial terms or the correct terms. You must be careful, because there is always someone who is familiar with your subject matter. Funny stuff!

Considering the mass of books written today using the author’s particular language quirks, I’d say that it is up to the writer to decide which terminology to use, but to then decide consistently the same way within their authored piece. Also, I’d suggest that the writer’s decision on what terminology to use depends entirely on the audience they are catering to. Just a thought.


Bees you have an excellent memory. However, I have made lifestyle changes to lose weight and to preserve this durable body that I was blessed with. Despite having so little respect for trying to preserve myself in the past, I have decided enough is enough and that it time to show gratitude for health and strength. I quit drinking all alcohol. I wasn’t a problem drinker, but after reading about the diabetes epidemic in North America, I decided my beloved Cabernets just weren’t worth the gamble. My customers I stay with still offer me wine with dinner and I refuse to their astonishment. I have also cut way back on breads, rich foods, and meat. It is working, I am slowly losing the weight. This is a lifestyle change and not a diet. Diets fail because they are only temporary and the dieter quickly resumes old eating habits and the pounds return. As a young man, I was extremely active, ate like a horse and was built with nothing but muscle and bone; unfortunately, bad dietary habits developed that make mature men into fat men. I need to lose 40 more pounds to be at the light heavy weight division, not that I will ever fight again, but an old man is allowed to dream. So you will hear no more of bacchanalian nights from me and I will not encourage or entice others to imbibe.

JG using the correct or colloquial terminology can read like gibberish to the audience, knowing your readers is imperative, but artistic license can always be challenged by an authority with knowledge of the subject matter. Consistency is important.

The trouble is, after decades a couple of decades, I am not sure whether it was my personal variation or a regional variation. It will become a serious consideration in the future.

SKOOKUM, I was not intended to mention the cabernet glass
you had after a long day of outdoor work, It made you’re storys so realistic and enjoying
to read and re read again;
BECAUSE I know you always allow the bits of humor on you’re POSTS,
BEST TO YOU I’m glad you’re taking care of you’re healt

TallGrass, nice to have you visit, it’s always an event,
because not to often coming,
and what is that you will construct, that fine red cedar furniture sound
very nice to view mentally.
I ‘m just an amateur of doing yourself furniture,
I personally made some that’s when I was watching DIY shows, that gave me the
urge of playing with tools, and when one in the show mentionned which tool to buy first I went for it,
that was a electric drill, and I was scare to use it at first, then came the jigsaw, that got me started,
and I learned that the clamps should have been the number one purchase, I end up with my DREMEL SET THAT i HAD REALY FUN PLAYING WITH AND WENT ON TO MY ULTIMATE PLEASURE OF THE DREMEL ROUTER, which allow me to carve and turn a piece of wood in lace design and colorful
absolutly unique that you can’t find anywhere, AND AMONG THEM, that is a four door divider 5 fTS high
with the legs one foot included on wheels and carved oak tree leaves on top and bottom of birch panels design and wood burned and cored on both sides and those 8 designs are all different,
I’m very proud of it
I’m just saying that to show off, and see what you can do to beat that, to tease you too.

@ilovebeeswarzone: Your woodwork sounds wonderful, bees.

Back when there were a whole lot of DIY on TV I designed and made a hexagonal ottoman which has storage space inside for our throws and has a reversible top.
It is overstuffed on one side to put your feet up on and relax.
It has a Dremel’ed chess board on the other side.
I also put it on rollers so I could put it where ever I wanted it really easy.
I used oak wood from a home supply store, though.
No wood chopping for me.


As you said, Consistency is important. However, and this is just another thought, a reader who bashes a writer based on their use of terms, especially when the writer’s terms may be something like a regional term, says more negative of the reader than the author.

I, myself, find it interesting, amusing at times, and instructive at others, when I encounter terms I’m not used to, or old fashioned. Most of the time I find it an endearing aspect of the particular author I’m reading at the moment. You, yourself, have had several of those moments for me while reading your work, and is one aspect that I truly appreciate about your work.

Nan G , I can see it, too, my imagination is accute, because I learned to visulyse my project by learning glass art, because you have to mentaly see the glass project finish and in front of a light before you buy you’re expansive glass color, that took me a long time to acquire that possibility, a few years even,
and that trick was told by a master stain glass artist,, and i was impress and practice it, to get it
one day to my surprise,
we can do things as long as it’s for pleasure to see it done, then we never get tired of having it,
do you agree? bye
it must be very handy to, as nice, and try to put a price on it to compare, and you would be surprise of the value, specialy with oak wood which is very hard to cut, I have a cupboard I made and 3/4 thick oak, and that’s what I felt when I cut it.
and it’s very expansive to buy,

Fortunately, the only drama from my one tree-cutting experience was from a ticked-off displaced mama robin

Good advice, agrees with my experiences in the woods with a chain saw.
I always assumed the worst, that the tree would come after me. Then, when it happened, I was ready for it. Take your finger off your number for an instant, and guaranteed it will bite your a$$.
The same applies to motorcycle riding on streets: Assume every car will pull out in front of you and have a plan. You get to use the plan too many times, so I finally gave up riding.

class factotum, I bet you felt so bad when the robin mama came to bash you,

Lord Whorfin, that was good advices also and very funny too,
hum so the tree came to get you,

Class, I was sorry to hear about the Robin’s eggs; living in trees is a precarious existence at best, for eggs it is even worse. I find many broken in the 18 count cardboard containers at the grocery and they have never even been in trees.

A friend of mine once had a problem with birds. Like the logging story, it is wee bit more exciting.

A Matter Of Honor [Reader Post]

Thanks for the logging story, I admire your “can do” attitude. It was a fun story indeed.

Lord W, I gave up my motos after almost 50 years because I was tired of people trying to kill me on every trip. I might start up again if I get my ducks in a row and manage to get another ranch before I die. I much prefer dodging moose, elk, and bears on the road, instead of people gabbing on cell phones at 70 mph.

Best way: Light charge and run!

At least the critters don’t do it intentionally.

Lord W, not always.

War On The Peace [Reader Post]

I stand corrected.

Skook & Beas;

Folks I am still around, just not as “talkative” as I was for awhile . . . waiting to see what happens over the next few months with the politico-hacks.

The lumber I am sawing is actually “red aromatic cedar” . . . the same stuff they make cedar chests out of. I have sawn a couple thousand board feet the past few weeks . . . it is tough to saw since the logs are so odd shaped . . . nothing comes out of a 20 inch log other than the heart wood (which is where the red aromatic good stuff is anyway) but let me tell ya . . the weather has been a A$$ roasting ordeal!!! One day this past week the temperature in the yard, where I am sawing, hit 120 degrees F and that I HOT!!! I saw awhile, take a break, then haul A$$ naked across the yard for the water hose!!! It is tough this year in Oklahoma!

I always read Skook’s post . . . it astonishes me the things that he and I have in common, lol


I also look for your replys and always take your wisdom for what it is.

Tallgrass, hi,
wow, that’s some expansive wood, what do you want to build, that must smell good too,
now you have to watch the hose at 120 degrees the water in the hose can burn you,
I experience it myself, at less than 90 degree, you have to let it drip until it come from the tap itself’,
and maybe the saw get so hot too and burn instead of sawing properly.
best to you. hope the weather get cooler, and it’s dangerous for igniting fire anywhere too,