Anno Coffee: Sinew and Bone
July 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
Two years ago, the emerald ash borer killed a massive ash tree in my back yard. I had it taken down by arborists, but had them leave the logs behind because ash is a good, long-burning hardwood.
I finally got around to splitting it yesterday. My brother Greg came down from Indiana, borrowed my brother Steve’s gas-powered log splitter, and we got to work.
We started at 10:00 AM. We finished at 6:00.
To say the work was grueling would be an understatement. Phase One involved moving the massive logs the arborists left behind from the back yard to the driveway, where the splitter was located. We had my tractor and a light-duty cart, but a few of the lowest segments of trunk we had to team lift, and the last one—as big around as a cafe table—Greg had to chainsaw into segments. And even those were heavy.
Phase Two was to cut down another dead tree—a much smaller maple that had died and become infested with carpenter ants. Phase Two was actually the easiest phase. Neither of us got crushed, and there wasn’t any property damage.
Phase Three involved the actual splitting of the ash and maple logs. This was the longest phase. Greg worked the splitter while I supplied the logs to be split and stacked the split wood.
Phase Three was the worst phase.
Our process: lift/roll log to within reach of splitter operator (Greg); split log with splitter; pick up split wood and add to stack. Or, put another way, lift/roll heavy thing; wait; bend at waist, pick up slightly less heavy things, carry, stack. Repeat.
Phase Three started around 3:00, after a break for lunch. So that’s three hours and change (because we didn’t quit right at 6:00) of lifting and bending and walking. After the four hours of lifting and hauling the un-split logs.
You know what sinew is? It’s the thing you never felt hurt before but is now on fire after seven hours of bending and hauling.
I am muscle-wrecked. I literally have bruises on top of bruises; a small dark purple circle on top of a bigger, greenish blotch on my left forearm. My skin is log-rashed in places. I have blisters on my toes (never buy cheap hiking boots).
After a brief rest and some work-site cleanup, we climbed into Greg’s truck and took the splitter back to Steve’s, and while there, trimmed long, heavy branches from some downed trees and stacked them so Steve could get his grass cut.
Then it was home for showers, beers, and steaks—the latter of which I grilled over a small bed of hickory charcoal at 200 degrees F. Not my usual method of grilling steak, but damn if those weren’t the best steaks I’ve ever made. So good, I don’t even mind patting myself on the back.
So that was yesterday. Today I spent an hour or two in the pool, just floating in the sun, listening to the muscle and bone and sinew heal. And drinking beer.
I’m hoping by tomorrow I can move without my face twisting into a malformed death mask.
It’s good to have goals.
(Ha ha, no, this isn’t all of it, oh god.)