Odds and Ends

Pulling a stump 101. Dig under a big root, saw, use bottle jack to tilt it.

Pulling a stump 101. Dig under a big root, saw, use bottle jack to tilt it.

We are back to working on the prop and will be staying here most of winter. Ta da! the “to-do” list….

1. Clear land, pull 40 year old stumps, haul stumps and debris to the yard waste and pay them to do the composting cos I simply have too much rotting wood that would take me 50 years to compost it all.

From our experience last year, it took us 4hrs of digging and sawing and backache to remove a tiny stump, a fresh 5″ Alder root. Imagine removing 10 of those, but rotting and 24″ Cedar. We need a better way or else pay for the excavator.

The final blow to this stump.

The final blow to this stump.

So I researched with Google and watched U-tube for how others have done it. Bottle jacks! And all sorts of jacks, but bottle jacks seemed to work best and viola, we have 2 in our collection of tools.

Ok, so I still have to dig a hole under a root tentacle, deep enuf to put in the bottle jack, and to loosen up the soil all around the stump. Also have to saw thru all the long roots, cos who knows how far that goes. In about 2 hrs, I have the 1st bottle jack in and lifting. As we are dealing with rotting stumps here, exerting 10 ton pressure tend to break off parts of the root, so resetting the bottle jack frequently is part of the deal. So for this particularly large stump, I was messing with the bottle jack, more digging and more sawing for another 2 hrs before it lifted 10″ on 1 side.

Uprooted Cedar stump.

Uprooted Cedar stump.

Then its time to set up the lift lever system that we designed to complete the pulling. Its not easy to haul the 2 large timber around to form the tilted A, but with it, we save many more hours of digging and back breaking work. …

The bottle jacks is good for 10 tons vertical, Fordie is only capable of 2 tons lateral. So using a car to pull a stump is not possible by itself, but with 2 bottle jacks and the lift lever, we pull a large stump in about 5hrs total. And that’s mostly me digging, while Doug cut more trees down or whack the bushes.

Moving a large log laboriously

Moving a large log laboriously

2. Haul good logs to the mill.

So there’s just the 2 of us and no heavy equipment… how are we going to load the trailer? Well, back to working Fordie, the bottle jacks and steel cable pulley. Improvising with just the tools we got. Inch by inch, we raised 1 end of the log to trailer height, pushing the roller logs under as far as we can get. Finally use Fordie to pull the log onto the trailer. It took us a whole day work out a system to load the 1st log. After that, logs loading is just laborious, but we know we can do it.

Trailer loaded, Fordie ready.

Trailer loaded, Fordie ready.

I found a website that estimates the weight of logs by thickness and length… oops, each 1 of these is about 1000lbs. Ok, 2 is all this trailer can handle. So we haul 2 at a time to the mill. For all our efforts, I only got $100 for 2 logs! I am better off selling firewood!

The claws! Off loading the 2 logs.

The claws! Off loading the 2 logs.

So I learn it the hardway… but it was a great experience. Knowing that we are able to do so much with limited tools is so inspiring and confidence boosting. Makes me feel more confident that we probably could clear the land and build a house with mostly our own energy… only if we had lots of time tho.

And seeing this machine at work behind Fordie is just priceless!

10 years worth of logs to burn

10 years worth of logs to burn

3. “Buck” up the long fallen trees, roll and stack them for drying and splitting when they start cracking up.

Ok, so we are not bringing more logs to the mill… what then? How to store a whole yard full of firewood size logs?



Well, I try barter trade them for fish… and I’ll accept money in lieu of food. 🙂 So far I got some fish, but very little money… kinda like I am giving them away.

Little red onions.

Little red onions.

4. By the ways…  we have a Chipmunk by the window. I think it likes the walnut that we put out.

And my onion harvest… must be something that I didn’t do right…. why so small? But they taste good… strong.. like shallots…. and of course we ate the greens.


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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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