As with any “household” emergency, the fire left us with work to do – work that was not part of our original schedule. And it’s backbreaking work -- work this non-physical girl doesn’t want to do.
At our invitation, a forester from the Idaho Department of Lands in Orofino visited the farm last week to advise us with regard to scorched timber. He gave us his best estimate as to which trees would survive and which should be cut. Our property is not timberland, but the fire burned through pine and fir at the edges of the fields, leaving us with a number of standing trees that will soon die. Even though the work is hard and dangerous, it’s one thing to be able to do it ourselves. It’s quite another to find help to move off the huge pines that fell during the windstorm.
For years, Mike has owned a 1975 Dodge Ram as his hauling vehicle. Finally, after the last wood-cutting session in June, Mike drove it home and wrote “r.i.p.” on it. Then came the search for a replacement, but since he couldn’t find an old Ram, he bought a 1995 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 expanded cab. The good news is that it’s a comfortable vehicle with some amenities, such as a working radio/tape deck, air conditioning, and comfortable riding space for the dogs. (Now you know what’s important to me.) But as Mike says, “It ain’t no power wagon.”
Anyway, Saturday (Sept. 12), we packed Mike’s wood-cutting tools and my crocheting into the bed of the Silverado, invited the dogs to settle into the back seat, and set off once again for the farm. The trip went well.
Saturday afternoon, Mike took the 4-wheeler and headed through the north field to the draw to survey the damage and determine a work plan. He left the 4-wheeler at the edge of the field above the draw, but unfortunately, it then traveled by itself down the steep embankment, rolling over three times before coming to rest on the bank. The good news is that Mike was not on it at the time – or under it when it landed. He set it to rights and then walked back to the house. I went back with him, and by cutting away some shrubbery, he was able to navigate the 4-wheeler into the draw and out by way of the old road. It now runs rough, but we were able to use it.
Sunday was not a day of rest for us. Mike felled and limbed one of the fir trees, and we worked most of the day piling slash, cutting firewood, loading and stacking. We pulled several loads of the firewood out with the 4-wheeler (“vroom-vroom, cough, sputter, vroom, click, click, vroom”), its little trailer well-loaded with limb wood and smaller logs, and those we stacked at the woodshed. Then Mike drove the Silverado into the draw, and we loaded big logs onto it to be split in town. Some of the largest logs we left to be split on site [see opening photo above].