Last week I shared my big list of shit to get done before it starts snowing, and while it may seem like I’ve just been sitting around being philosophical about chickens, I’ve actually been working pretty hard to make some pre-winter progress.
One of the things on my list was clearing all of the tree debris from the storm a couple of weeks ago, which meant taking my shiny new chainsaw out of the box it’s been sitting in for a year and a half.
Oh good, it comes with instructions.
All you ever need to know about operating a chainsaw right there, folks.
Actually, chainsaws make me a little nervous. I mean, technically anything that could remove one of my limbs without my consent makes me a little nervous… that’s healthy. But despite some of the really stupid shit I do, I’m pretty cautious about tools I’ve never used before, particularly ones that are completely freehand.
However, I’m far more stubborn than I am nervous, and luckily I know a dude who worked as a lumberjack for a few years and he gave me a proper tutorial on how not to maim myself with this thing.
After guiding me through a few practice cuts he went away and left me to my own devices, so I could get comfortable with the tool in my own way.
A lot of times when men teach women how to use a power tool, there’s a lot of “here is how you’re going to hurt yourself” and “you shouldn’t do this” and “you’re doing it wrong” and then they hover over your shoulder and give constant correction. Even when those guys mean well– and usually they do– that’s still basically the shittiest learning environment ever. I’ve been there dozens of times myself, and while I’m stubborn enough to teach myself in spite of those experiences, I still get irritated at the thought of needing to ask for help or instruction. I avoid it at almost all costs, and when I can’t avoid it, I get preemptively pissed that someone is going to try coddling me or treating me like I’ve only got half a brain. And then I have expend a lot of willpower trying not to throw my chainsaw at them.
All of that went through my head prior to asking for the chainsaw run-down, and while I should have given the guy more credit, I was still really surprised to have someone show me a new skill as if they actually respected my abilities. That’s pretty damn cool. And after an hour practicing by myself, I felt pretty good about my chainsawing skills.
There’s a tractor in that picture, if that gives you an idea of how many branches I cleared. My brush-burning was thwarted by intermittent downpours though…
Seriously. Look at the sky in that last picture. Does that look like I’m about to get soaked? No. I don’t know what the hell was up with the weather, but I feel like it was deliberately screwing with me… and it worked because while I got a lot of the pile cleared, it’s not quite done yet and I can’t check it off my list.
But, here’s one thing that does get a nice big checkmark next to it: Staining the outside of the propane fence.
Done, done, done, done, done. And that feels good.
I also got a good start on the deep-clean of the barn…
There was about four inches of hay and straw that had gathered on the floor over the last year, which I piled up and hauled off to the compost pile.
I found two extension cords I had no idea were still in the barn hidden under all that mess, and I was wondering how the hell they managed to get that deeply buried, when I looked over at the pile of straw I just made…
Already half un-piled. Nugs are so helpful.
While there’s hay in the barn, there will always be hay on the floor (and it does give the chickens something to do when they’re hanging out in the barn) so I let them spread a fresh coat around.
Looks pretty much exactly the same as where I started, but that’s farm work for you.
The good news for my list is that I’ve got 3 days off work next week to tackle a lot of the big things (and maybe some fun things too.)