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wood firing/ gathering wood/ doctors orders

updated tue 15 mar 05


Gary Navarre on mon 14 mar 05

Hay Crew,
Went to see my doctor, Paul Hayes, about a fortnight ago to see if I
shouldn't be feeling better by then and he said "You're just gonna have
to start pushing yourself. Ya know if ya don't use it you'll lose it!".
We started having some sunny days again so I had to try to remember what
woods work I planed for when the weather started to break.
Peter Hayes and I have different styles of tree trimming to get brush
for Christmas greens. Peter simply cuts down an old Spruce or Balsam and
snips the brush 2 1/2'-4' long, ties up 40/50lb. bundles, and sells it
as #2. That don't give much $ per pound but tonnage builds quickly. He
just left the scrap to rot because the brush is worth more than the
trunk/stick sold for pulp.
I, on the other hand, prune the tree of limbs up to where the tree will
still produce more limbs for a while longer. This I have shown in the
album Sooner or later the tree
will be dropped, the brush harvested into wreaths, and the rest is kiln
These piles of limbs and sticks are now under snow but since my visit to
Doc, and we have better weather, I had to get out of the house and into
the woods. Like Peter said last summer, "Anybody who stays on the Net
all the time isn't getting the job done!" so I been getting out every
day sometime after noon.
The first few days last week I worked spots where I had left limbs. With
a machete the cold twigs cut off clean with a swipe or two. I pile them
on a bailing twine tie string. When I get a pile I think I can carry
(30lbs. or about 2 Japanese bundles) it gets tied up and carried to the
van. Most were under 2" diameter and left long for easy transport back
to the kiln area. These will eventually be cut to stoking length for the
various stages of the firing. At first I averaged two bundles for three
hours work/day.
On Friday I started on spots where Peter had left his piles and in them
I found sticks cut to the loggers 100" and 10" diameter or smaller. One
stick could give two/three Japanese bundles by weight. That day I hauled
14 bundles back to the house. All tallied I made about 30 bundles of
fuel ready to be cut and sorted for the firing in about 20 hours. Seems
like a lot of work, eh? However.....
There is something I love about working in the woods in winter. The air
is crisp and clean. No Wood Ticks, Mosquitos, Gnats, or Bot Flys. The
snow is still about 18" deep and breaking trail is good for my legs
after being bedridden for a month. Every now and then I'll see some
animal track and as the sun goes down I might hear a Cyote or Wolf in
the distance. The trail is broke from the Cedar swamp to the farm field
across the water so I can move the wood I prepaired last summer. Some of
the Cedar posts will be used for more wood racks and I'm burning the
rest in the kiln even if it isn't supposed to be so hot for firing, just
to see what happens. Who knows, maybe all that snap-crackle-&-popping
will be just what the doctor ordered to get the ash pit to sprinkle ash
on the hot pots.
Well enjoy your party next week, watch out for fleas in your mustache
and stay in there!

G in Da UP
Navarre Pottery
Norway, Michigan, USA