That was a near-quote of a line from an Arbor day poem recited on one of the old Our Gang comedy shorts.
I am not a "woodsman" by any stretch of the imagination but I do love spending time in the woods and occasionally I will cut my own fire wood. Yesterday, after considering it for each of the days that I have been off since Christmas, I finally got outside with a determination to replenish my firewood supply.
I quickly hit upon the observation that cutting wood with a chainsaw consists of spending approximately 30 % of one's time actually cutting wood and the other 70% of the time is spent working on the chainsaw.
I have no idea if it is true, but I heard once that kudzu came to the United States as a gift from Nazi Germany; the "gift" became a curse indicative of the Nazi attempt at world domination. It is possible that chainsaws could fall into that category - alongside weedeaters - as instruments that provide the "gift" of great service, but also the curse of domineering aggravation.
There are few instances in which my patience are more severely tried than when I am attempting to deal with a stubborn weedeater.
Before my chainsaw met it's untimely demise yesterday, it had taken it's share of opportunities to torment me:
The Start Up - In what condition was the chainsaw put away after it's previous use? That's a question I have to ask myself before each use. This is because the beginning and ending of most of my woodcutting adventures have been centered on the chainsaw. I usually cut wood until it ceases to perform. When the saw breaks, I quit. So at the start up, I have to ask myself if I remember what condition the chainsaw was in when I last put it away.
The Repair - Once the condition of the chainsaw is determined, then repairs must be performed. It is better to assume that repairs will need to be performed. Repairs always need to be performed.
The Preparations - Once the state of the chainsaw is determined and the repairs have been completed, you're ready to clear the forest, right? Wrong.
A little excursion into the woods to cut a few trees requires about as much prep time as a debutante going to the prom.
You must have the necessities:
- a supply of fuel, and the chain oil
- a wrench to tighten the chain
- a screwdriver the loosen and then pry off the casing of the chainsaw so you can investigate why that it has stopped and refused to restart halfway into your first tree
- glasses - not for safety, but to help you find the one, vital missing screw that got lost in the pinestraw when you took the casing off the investigate why the chainsaw stopped and refused to halfway into your first tree
- a manual saw to use so that you can actually work off some of your anxiety in a productive manner after you have spent an inordinate amount of time in vain, looking for that vital missing screw
- gloves - these will help your fingers not to get burned when working on the chainsaw, they also provide some protection when you go into a fit of rage and start punching trees
- a cap - this is particularly useful, because the time normally spent combing your hair can be devoted solely to repairing the chainsaw - also in a fit of frustration, it is recommended that you throw your cap - rather than a wrench, screwdriver, or the chainsaw
- a snack and water - once your first tantrum has subsided, you will need sustenance
- a dog - you need someone to bond with during this time of shared crises; also he won't tell on you if you behave poorly or use bad language. Incidentally, a dog can provide good "cover" if another person happens by and hears you pronouncing curses on the missing screw; some people find it more socially acceptable to yell at one's dog than just talking to no one.
- a pencil and paper - this will allow you to properly document the condition in which you are leaving the chainsaw as you put it way this time.
While my attempt to cut wood yesterday, did yield a few sticks of firewood, it was far from successful. . . .
. . .and my chainsaw met it's demise.
We are saying that the clutch burned out on it.
If you ask my dog, he will tell you the same story.