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Uh Oh..Learning mistakes

The weekend was amazing. Great weather both days and today too. Too bad it's supposed to snow tomorrow. Oh well, it is Winter after all. Maybe we will get enough to shut the ofice down Wednesday. That would be nice since we have a status meeting that day.

I did get quite a bit of work done this weekend. Put a new valve cover gasket in my engine which helps keep that damned oil light from coming on. I swear if I had the time I'd just replace it with a gauge instead.

I did some work on the tractor engine too, getting it ready for Spring chores. I got hooks up in the barn to hang my canoe on when I'm not using it which is most of the time anymore. I wish we had rivers here like out in Colorado or back in Virginia. I loved white water canoeing.

I did get a bunch of firewood drug up and cut. There was one big widow-maker limb on this old oak that Dad and I had to leave a couple winter's ago because all it's weight rested on this one branch that stretched to the ground and we couldn't budge it by hand or with the truck. So I got the bright idea to see if the tractor could budge it. I had this vision that it would be like my other recent forays into the world of woodcutiing and end in near disaster but I was pretty lucky. I had enough chain I was able to get up slope from it and pull it out of the tree with no injuries to me, Jake the Dog or the tractor. Now getting it out of there was another situation altogether. It was WAY TOO HEAVY for the tractor which is unusual since the tractor has really good traction but the back wheels were spinning. So I went and got the truck and the chainsaw. I cut the limb in half but even so, it was still too heavy for the truck to pull. SO I cut all the branches off and got a chain around them and hauled them off with the truck. Then I came back with the tractor and hauled the pieces of the main limb off. In all, I got over a cord of fire wood out of that limb alone and oak makes such nice firewood.

Over the fence there was a big Osage Orange tree leaning over and I thought it had gotten blown over by the wind and died. So I went and cut some of the branches off, hoping to haul it out and cut it up. Soon as I cut the main branch, greenish yellow sap came pouring out. Not just oozing like with some trees, I mean pouring. Like I'd cut into a vein or something. Strange for a tree in the winter but more importantly, it meant I'd just injured a live tree. Reconciling being a farmer and being a Shaman is sometimes hard to do. If I was in farmer mode, I would have just cut the whole thing down as Osage Orange is pretty much a nuisance tree and that would be the end of it. But I was in Shaman mode so I felt really bad about injuring the tree and I told the tree so. I also told it I'd try to help it over the wound. Too bad no one makes syrup from this sap, because there was a steady stream of it coming out. Sticky as hell though. I went back to the barn and found some tree wound dressing and took it back and sprayed it on. Once it dried, it stopped the sap from flowing. I talked to the tree and asked it's forgiveness and it seemed happy. I'll know better next time to check the tree over completely before I assume it's dead.

I got the five pounds of crystals from the mine which I was expecting. They come in a big ziplock with all the dirt from the mine still around them so it doesn't look like anything but a bag full of dirt. You clean them first with water then you have to mix a pound of oxalic acid with a gallon of water and put the crystals in and then boil the whole thing for 3-6 hours. You can't do it inside because of the fumes which smell a lot like the reaction between clorox and pet urine if you've ever smelled that. Vile, evil smell! So I built a nice hot fire with some of the wood I'd cut out in the barnyard and put the bucket down in the coals. Soon it was at a nice rolling boil. I went in to watch some TV and kept coming back out to check it and add water when it got too low. Around midnight, I went out again. The fire was down to coals so I took the bucket off. Here's where my mistake comes in. I didn't think. I pored the acid solution off into a patch of thistle I've wanted to be rid off for awhile anyway. Then I took the bucket over to the pump and pumped the bucket full of clean water. OUCH! Essentially the crystals are glass and I'd just heated them up and then dumped water that was just above freezing on them. I knew as soon as I'd done it what was going to happen. Luckily none of them exploded. Some of the large ones developed some cracks but none of them even shattered. Quartz is some pretty resilliant stuff when it comes right down to it. But I'll remember next time just to let them cool on their own before adding cold water to them. In all, I got about 40 medium to large crystals and 6 large ones and some nice clusters. I'll either give the clusters away or sell them on Ebay to make money to buy another order of crystals.

Oh well, live and learn.




( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2002 04:15 pm (UTC)
The dead trees have been the ones giving me trouble. There used to be three big ones across the Boy Scout path in the woods that I had to climb under because they were too high and/or slippery for me to get over comfortably. Someone's finally gotten around to cutting those recently so it's easier to get through (unfortunately). Yesterday, though, I found another fallen tree farther back in the woods. I tried to climb over that and fell off of it. I did get to see some nice mushrooms growing in it though. I should learn from this and not try to climb over fallen trees, but I bet I'll do it again next chance I get.
Jan. 28th, 2002 04:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I like the challenge as well. I go over though because I'm generally too tall to go under. Just having the contact with them is nice though, live or dead.

Jan. 28th, 2002 04:20 pm (UTC)
True 'nough. I miss those trees across the path though. They kept other people out. That's my path! MINE!
Jan. 28th, 2002 04:23 pm (UTC)
I know, I get jealous when I see otehr people have been in MY woods even if they've not done anything wrong. I do let people have access to them if they are hunting since my woods join with about 5 other properties. Still, I can't help the little twinges of jealousy I get when I see someone took an early moning hike out there before I got a chance to. I'll let you go out there though.


Jan. 28th, 2002 04:31 pm (UTC)
It is a public park I suppose. Lousy public parks. It's so hard to find a stand of trees around here that hasn't been razed for housing developments. The only solution is to go out there early in the morning before nine if I want the place to myself. Which my sister tells me is stupid, but she's paranoid.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
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