The Joys of Axes

Hey, all. Just a quick update since things are going well: I’ve been chugging along with my commissions and have made it through all of my new commissioners as of yesterday night. I’ll be starting the repeat customers probably today or maybe tomorrow (gotta go into work today, so that adds a couple of hours to the day I wouldn’t have ordinarily spent).

I wanted to take a quick opportunity to thank all the people who have commissioned me. As you probably know, writing isn’t my “real job”—well, okay, writing fiction isn’t my real job—so anything I make off these commissions is discretionary. It’s bought me things like a scythe last year (a lot more tiring than a weed eater but significantly quieter and in my humble opinion, less of a hassle to maintain) and most recently, a felling axe.

Not gonna lie, I love my axe. I’ve been taking it out into the back of the property and cutting down dead, overgrown, or in-the-way trees. I’ve used axes before, but it was only fairly recently that I learned the difference between a felling and splitting axe. Having cut down a number of trees with each now, I can say that it’s great to have the right tool for the job! You can cut down a tree with a felling axe in the sense that you can put a nail in with a screwdriver, and Whack (yes, I named my axe because this axe is Whack) is a joy to use.

Not sure how many axe aficionados there are out there, but for anybody who’s interested, it’s a Helko Werk Forester. I gotta say, stripping branches off with this thing is effortless, almost like peeling a potato: the blade (okay, okay, “bit” for those who want to use the proper terminology) touches the branches, and they just slip right off. Very satisfying! As for actually felling, I’m still getting the hang of it, but I’ve seen this thing slice through one– or two-inch trunks with a single swing (scary, let me tell ya, but so satisfying!).

I’m hoping that this will help me get into better shape. COVID (and generally being a homebody anyway) has definitely packed on the pounds, and I can definitely feel the burn when I’m out cutting, so here’s hoping a bunch of weight around my middle will move up to my chest. I wouldn’t mind looking like a lumberjack! I’m getting better at it: when I first started, I could swing right-to-left but had pretty much no control if I tried to swing left-to-right. Practice has definitely improved that a lot! I wouldn’t say I’m quite ambidextrous with it, yet, but at least I can consistently hit pretty close to where I’m aiming now. That scene from Titanic where Rose cuts Jack’s handcuffs with an axe makes me cringe every time I miss. Sorry, Jack. You weren’t really using that hand anyway, were you? <shudder>

Speaking of COVID, I had my first shot a few days ago, and my dad and I both get our second ones in early April. Not that I’m gonna stop wearing a mask—it’s all about taking all the precautions we can and hoping it’s enough to stop the spread—but it will be nice knowing that the likelihood of infecting my elderly neighbors (who refuse to get the vaccine) will be greatly diminished.

Welp, enough yammering. I need to finish my coffee and then get on the road. I don’t think I’m gonna get to cut trees today; it’ll be dark or nearly dark by the time I get home. Probably just as well, though; I’ve been out every day this week after work, and my hands and forearms are pretty sore! I need to take the tractor back in there and collect all the wood I’ve chopped up. I gotta tell ya: it takes a few minutes to chop one tree down, but then it takes an hour to chop it up into pieces. When I first started doing this, I went out and chopped down a number of trees and left them lying there. Much of the time spent since then has just been processing the trees I already felled! Great workout, though. Anyway, gotta go. Take care, all!

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