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S0045 Cutting firewood 2014
by Glenn Conner © 2015
Cutting firewood 2014
A friend of the family was trying to harvest wood that that the power company cut on the hill above his house.
His nice level grass yard is only 2 feet or so above the flat shallow creek. The hill on the other side of the creek is almost 30 feet straight up then is a tough climb from there on up. The logs were limbed and just needed a little pull to moving down hill and over the edge and into the creek. From there you could tie off to the top of the log and flip it over into the yard to be cut up.
I have a couple of 100 foot lengths of 1/2 inch cable (that I refuse to shorten) in case I get into trouble further than just into a ditch. I got the call to bring my "long cable" and a couple of snatch blocks as all his stuff was 20 feet or less.
We hooked on to the first log. There was nothing to tie a snatch block to anywhere in his yard, so he suggests his buddy park his pick up in the yard and we can tie the snatch block to the trailer hitch. The truck with the snatch block was in the yard and the pulling truck was just in the gravel drive where it could get traction. Worked like a charm. That 8 inch diameter log came down the hill, went over the edge, and stood about 30 degrees from straight up against the steep bank of the creek, just like we planned. Re-hook to the top of the log and with a little tug it fell over into the yard about half the distance to the truck with the snatch block. We cut it up and put the sections into the back of the pulling truck for traction. This took very little effort as it was a down hill slide all the way.
The second tree was maybe 12-14 inches in diameter. A heavier tree slides easier and faster than a small tree, so once it got started that thing went almost 30 feet down the hill and stopped at the edge of the bank. They took the slack out of the cable and gave it a second pull and the log did not move but maybe 6 inches. Another tug and nothing happened.
Country boys take pride in their trucks and the truck's ability to pull with plenty of power. The third tug means backing up and giving it a little gas which gives the cable a bump (or jerk) to get things started. Well, backing up was 10 or closer to 12 feet and then give it enough gas to get the 4 tires (4 wheel drive) to dig in and throw gravel like crazy, The power hit the road, the cable went taunt and the pulling truck went down the road about 20 feet.
Things stopped quickly when the horn of the snatch block truck blew, signifying STOP !!
Seems as if the tree was not properly limbed and one limb about 3 inches in diameter was cut to leave about 4 inches still attached to the tree. This was just enough to grab onto a stump and wedge tight, stopping the tree dead in its tracks.
The tree is now wedged so it COULD NOT MOVE and when power hit the road, the cable went taunt, and all the force was then applied to the snatch block, which was tied to the pickup truck in the grass. The snatch block truck driver came out of the truck screaming and hollering with a crunched up beer can in one hand and rubbing his forehead with the other. Seems he was setting there, just finished a drink of beer. The power of a full pull hit the snatch block and the truck jerked backwards at full force, throwing him across the steering wheel and into the windshield of the truck, crushing his beer can into the dash board.
The lesson to be learn is
Do not drink beer while cutting trees, even if you are not involved and just sitting in your truck.
Always tie the snatch block off to something that WILL NOT MOVE.
Never laugh at your buddy when he is holding a crushed beer can with the impression of the inside of a windshield on his forehead, no matter how funny he looks.
Do not mention that he should not drink and drive and always wear his seat belt, even when the truck is turned off and parked.