Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Firewood ... the final solution

Yes, I built a 16' x 6' woodshed ... by myself.   8' tall.   No easy task, working with 16' lumber and 4'x 8' sheets of plywood... with no one to hold the other end.  It took me about 16 hrs to build and paint it.

Then... I finally did it.  Bought a splitter.  A Husky consumer model, 22-ton.   Wanted an Ariens with a Honda engine, but this was $400 cheaper and I bought an extended 4 year warranty that even covers normal wear.   How much can I use this a year?  Kind of felt silly about buying it but... it will save time and save my hands with the manual splitting I've been doing.   I decided not to build my screen house so I justified the cost that way.   Aside from the USA-made Briggs & Stratton engine (know for their mediocrity), it is a simple and heavily built solid steel machine.   It weighs 534 lbs, but it's fairly well balanced, not too much of a struggle to move.   I hope I don't roll it off the bluff by mistake.  It cut even the knurliest hardwood with ease.  It makes a nice compliment to my Stihl chainsaw.  

I got a helluva workout.  Especially my glutes, core and back.  As hard as any resistance work I've done.   Lifting 80lbs logs onto the trailer, rolling even heavier ones uphill and through the woods.   Although the wood was long dead, half of it was stringy and wet.  Good that it will be at the bottom of the pile.  With the splitter, I can produce a face cord of split firewood from a felled log in less than a half day.

Since I abandoned the screen house project, I upgraded my porch fireplace with the nice Preway I had intended for the screen house.  Tried it out last night.  Awesome.  It's going to make sitting outside, even in winter, nice.  Still want to add some heat shielding for the floor and deck rails, but it's great.

OK... project finished, now back to playing guitar and training on the track.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Oct. 20.  Morning low of 36º.

No, not getting tired of the view...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fontana Lake, NC, Oct. '13

It could not have been better. The weather was perfect. 5 days in the Great Smoky Mountains with temperatures in the 70ºs everyday, no rain.   The boat ran great.

The Government shutdown made the park extremely quiet, but all seemed normal here at Fontana Lake, NC. You'd never know there was a park shutdown. No rangers, but Fontana visitors center was open, a few campers arriving by kayak in the park.  However, only saw one hiker in 5 days and 35+ miles of hiking...  a girl through-hiker on the AT, coincidentally, a recent college grad from Sewanee.  We hiked with her to Shuckstack tower.

The big hike was Monday, the 16 mile hike to High Rocks with a 3500" climb.  We started a bit late and walked the last hour in the dark, but we were prepared.  The summit view was great.   The old ranger cabin at the summit was severely deteriorated, the roof had fallen in.

The Friday hike up the Lost Cove trail out of Eagle creek to Shuckstack tower was spectacular.  The weather was clear and it made for some really good photos.

Overall, we saw 5 bear... all in trees and coming down fast to flee from us.

Check out the photos...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Woodfire culture... that time of year again

With temperatures dipping into the 40ºs on the bluff again tonight, fires took the chill off... both on the porch and in the bedroom.   Feels good.   Been eyeing some log splitters... no, I better not.   I think I'll build a mondo sized wood shed in my woods, rent a splitter, and produce a years worth of firewood in a day.   I have 3 large standing dead trees on my property.

I love the culture of wood.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Firey Gizzard hike

Not the longest but the most rugged and tiring hike in the south Cumberland:  the Firey Gizzard gorge hike to Raven Point.  Just 10 miles, but a lot of up and down, difficult footing with boulder crossings.

It was as beautiful as I had remembered it, the lush forest primeval with ferns and giant hemlocks. We did this hike on Monday, so Roya and I had Raven Point to ourselves.