Archive for the ‘Falling/Peeling Trees’ Category


Sam, Nathan, Bonnie, Me, Neal and Kara. Peeling fools!

One thing this project is…is A GROUP EFFORT!  Two years ago I did almost all the peeling by hand myself.


Neal, Me, Kara and Sam.

IMG_3582I knew I could not repeat that.  So you can imagine my elation when at least six other friends and family showed up on various days to help.  Wow…what a relief!  There was close to 100 man hours peeling those logs.  And boy did they turn out beautiful!  Of course Neal, my best man got his ‘licks’ in.  And my sister was there on weekends making her presence known.  She helped out in lots of ways including


Neal, Nathan, Sam and Me.  Done!!  120 logs!

helping add a half loft in our garage.  Thanks Sisco!  We also had a couple HS young men from Montesano…Sam and Nathan.  It was nice having some ‘young guns’ around so we could rely on them later in the day when our strength seemed to fade.  Thanks guys!  FYI…I flew in to log trees in the middle of April for a reason.  There are two ‘windows’ of opportunity to log trees if you are planning toIMG_3591 peel bark.  Spring and late summer.  The reason being the sap under the bark needs to be ‘running’ up the tree to make the separation of the tree and the


Stan also came out and peeled and helped with the loft in the garage…thanks Stan!

bark easier to separate.  If you fall the tree at any other time of year you will have a terrible time trying to remove the bark.  Another reason is bugs.  You need to peel bark from the trees within a few weeks of falling them or bugs will have taken over and infested your trees making life miserable.

OK…arrived in the NW on April 7.  Visited Mom and headed out to ‘camp’ to see if any crazy things had happened over the winter.  Last winter I had a fine young man decide he needed my rebar more than I did.  He cut the huge steel bracket on my gate and spent 11 minutes grabbing as much steel as he could fit in his four door sedan with the driver door replacement and license #_ _ _  _ __.  You ask how I know all this?  I installed a game camera on my property and have photos of his shopping spree.  Why rebar you ask?  I’ve been told that steel can be sold and the cash be used for feeding the poor or even paying for a light bill.  Maybe not.  You can guess.  Anyway…all things looked good.  No break-ins or vandalism.  IMG_3509Security really should be part of your research is my point in all this.  I plan to add to my solar footprint this summer and thus have enough power to add a security system complete with several cameras.  That way I will be able to watch the ‘two-legged bandits'(bad guys) as they are shopping and call the ‘store manager'(local police).  Be advised though…I am told nothing is perfect with a remote cabin.  Things are bound to happen.   I had hoped for a few days to set up camp but had only one before I was off to Jacks to do a little logging.  Jack was kind enough to offer some of his Douglas Fir as my cabin logs.



thumb_IMG_6427_1024After almost two weeks of logging he may be regretting his kindness.  The first day we fell,







bucked(trimmed off branches) and skidded(drug the trees out) 8-12  trees.  The second day we didthumb_IMG_6419_1024 better…maybe 12 trees.  I only lasted three days before I decided logging was not going to be my next profession.  It was hard work to say the least.



Don came by with his back hoe from the 50’s!  We will have three full log trucks full of trees delivered.  All need to be peeled by hand!  Had some help from my friend Neal and a few others joined us on weekends.

Peeling the logs

Posted: May 20, 2014 in Falling/Peeling Trees

IMG_1852 2We took 35 trees and cut them into 74 logs.  Each one needing their bark removed…by HAND!  It took 10 days to complete the job.  Over 80 hours total.  I had some help for sure.  Kevin and Dave…thanks!  As well as Neal, Craig and several others…thanks!  We used Cedar Spuds as tools.  I would start in the morning peeling approximately one each hour…later I slowed down considerably.  I used the winch on my jeep for moving the logs into groups after peeling.  Finally my pretty little jeep wasn’t a ‘poser’ but now carried its weight for sure!

IMG_1840 2There are only two ‘windows’ in a year you can fall trees and expect to have any luck peeling due to the sap ‘running’ under the bark.  One is in mid-April and the other is late summer.  April is best because you then have the summer to build.  The late summer would then force you to build in the more rainy and cold season of fall.  It is important to note that you have only a few weeks to peel the bark because of bugs and the bark drying thus causing much more effort.

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IMG_1824Terry and I skidded the logs to the top of his driveway where the log truck was to load.  We pulled out 56′ trees because that was about the longest we could drag between the other trees.  Prior to loading on the truck the trees would be cut in 32′ and a 24′ lengths to fit our log garage walls.

OK…picture this…you’ve just cut down 35 trees.  Lengths vary from 40-56′.  Diameters vary from 8-18″.  Now picture them all piled up in one huge PILE!  Now, they need to be cut to length, most of them, to fit on the truck.  You know that you need lengths of 32 and 24 feet…you even have a list.  OK…now you start your chainsaw and make your first cut…remember, a tree has taper…you’ve just measured 24 feet from the butt end so you have a smaller 32 footer.  Now you mix it up and measure the next cut from the butt at 32 feet.  Stager your cuts in other words.  In the IMG_8226middle of all that you loose your ‘count’.  You have no ‘secretary’.  Your a logger now…not a secretary.  “What’s the next cut Dave?”  Uhhhh…24….no, make it 32…wait….no, 24…is it at the butt or ?  Essentially I ended up using my brilliant ‘ball parking’ skills.  I kept muttering to myself “I sure hope this all works out”.  This is NOT the way I advise.  Have a clear idea of the log count…diameter…butt to top and length.  It’s part of the fun I guess.  Cut/purchase 20% more than you think you need is important.  Notice on a few of the photos that some of the logs are already peeled and he is still unloading logs.  The log truck broke down after the first load.  He came back a day later to pick up the second load.  That gave me enough time to peel 6-8 logs before he showed up with the IMG_1832 2second load.

These were some of the most exciting days of the summer(2014).  To watch those trees fall and be pulled out and loaded.  To see them actually show up on our property…wow…exciting.  I really had no idea what lay ahead for Bonnie and I as far as plain ‘ol hard work.  Sometimes it’s better to remain ignorant of the hugeness of the situation.  Take ‘one log at a time’ was our mantra.

Skidding Logs out

Posted: April 25, 2014 in Falling/Peeling Trees

IMG_1821 2We used a dozer to skid the logs for the first two days.  Day three we used my jeep…fun!  I got to drive instead of set chokers.  For those of you who don’t know what a choker is…its usually a cable…you loop around the end of the log then connect to your jeep or dozer.  Sometimes I would set three chokers at once.  Then have to drag three chokers back down to the fallen trees to do it all over again.  Each choker weighed maybe 15 lbs.  All day was quite the test.  Again also… satisfaction.

Cash for DougFir

Cash for DougFir

We contracted with a man one hour away from our property to purchase 25 Douglas Fir trees 10″-18″ thick and 6-8 8″ trees for rafters.   We paid more than the ‘timber world’s going rate’ of $3-400(changes daily) per 1000 board feet.  However, you need premium logs…straight and with little taper if you want to build a log cabin.  Most of the trees I purchased had been marked by a local utility yard as possible poles(to be used for utility poles…straight and little taper).  The problem with selling trees to a utility is that it’s not until they are brought to their yard and processed that you are positive they will pay you for them.  In other words…they reserve the right to ‘reject’ trees that don’t ‘make the cut’.  Thus you never know which trees they will actually pay you for.  Not a great prospect.  That is why my seller chose my cold hard cash over the utilities shaky deal.

As we were falling trees I noticed that Terry was falling them accurately.  So I decided to place my GoPro out where he thought the next tree would fall.  You gotta see this vid!  The tree lands ____”…no, I better not give away the ending:)  Enjoy!

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The process of falling, limbing, cutting to length and skidding the trees out to the landing was probably the toughest work I’d done in 20 years.  But the most rewarding!  I was involved in building my own log cabin…not from a ‘kit’ but FROM SCRATCH!  I may have been beat and bruised…but the satisfaction I felt erased my aches and pains.

We used a dozer to skid the trees out to the landing where we cut the trees to length for my garage dimensions…also so they would fit on the logging truck.

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