Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rob (left), whom I met through my friend Jason, owns property southeast of Moscow. Rob graciously let me park my trailer in a corner of his land. During our winter windstorms, he lost several ponderosa pine trees. Some uprooted, while others simply snapped. His sparse pines are particularly exposed to the winds. Anyway, Rob knew I was interested in finding some logs, and so he contacted me and offered his fallen trees, if I could come and get them.

I called up Peter and Matt, and we headed out on a rainy and cold Sunday morning. Matt and I will share the logs. Peter just came out for the fun and to be supportive.

Peter and Rob cut the fallen trees into logs and cleaned up some of the slash. It was slow and tedious work.

While they did this, Matt and I skidded logs using my Jeep and series of chains and tow straps.

Here is Peter, limbing a fallen ponderosa with his trusty Husqvarna chainsaw. Peter is the chainsaw master.

Matt is pictured here, moving chains around. There was a lot of chain hauling, and after awhile, those big chains felt pretty heavy!

Here is Peter again, cutting some "ramps" to help us guide the logs up onto the trailer. You can see in this picture, many of the decked logs from the day.

Matt is the local Volkswagen nut. He brought his super-deluxe diesel 4x4 volkswagen van and pulled a ~16' double-axle steel frame trailer that he borrowed from Mike Forbes, another palouse local who is hand-building a beautiful post-and-beam home.

This trailer rocks. Many thanks to Mike for allowing us to borrow it! It has a carrying capacity of 7000 lbs, and I bet we loaded it with 4000 lbs worth of logs.

We cut most of our logs to be about 18' long, which meant that they extended beyond the end of the trailer, causing a low backend and a high front end. It caused Matt's VW van to fishtail wildly at speeds greater than 35mph.

It was fun to watch!

The picture to the right shows Matt pulling his full load with his van.

It was a rainy, windy, cold morning and that meant mud and grime and misery. Of course, by the end of the day it was warm and sunny.

Typical Palouse spring day.

The weight on the trailer made the tires look dangerously low on air, so we added air to the tires in Troy.

Here is a better view of the load on Mike's trailer, as pulled by Matt's van.

Although not pictured here, I also hauled 3 or 4 shorter logs to the mill in my trailer, pulled by my jeep.

Those ponderosa pines should mill nicely!!

We loaded the first large pine log onto the trailer using a come-along. After that took 20 minutes, we realized that we had 12 more decked logs to load. We needed something faster.

Since we had two vehicles (Matt's VW and my Jeep), we rigged super-fast method for loading logs. We attached a large block-and-tackle (thanks, Sean!) to the front of the red trailer, threaded a steel cable through it. We attached one end of the steel cable to the log and the other end to the back of my jeep, which was facing away from the trailer. As I drove away from the trailer, this pulled the log in the opposite direction and right up onto the trailer. We used the ramps and a plank borrowed from Rob in order to slide the logs up onto the trailer. It was super-fast indeed. Definitely the way to go.

You can see Peter on the right, holding one end of the steel cable as I drive away, pulling the log up onto the trailer thanks to the block and tackle. Matt helps the logs navigate the ramp using a peavey or lever.

When we finally made it to Jon's mill to drop off the logs, we did the two car trick again. I removed my trailer and backed my Jeep up to the rear of Mike's trailer. We quickly pulled the logs off, at one point pulling three logs off at once.

Altogether, we brought in 13 ponderosa logs. Probably 2 or 3 might be too small to do much
with, but the remainder were large and straight enough to mill some nice posts or beams.

Once I get dimensions from Matt, I'll head back out to Troy and mark which logs belong to whom, and provide some instructions to Jon for milling.

Rob probably has 2x or 3x this many logs still lying on his land. We'll head out there again some weekend and see if we can harvest some more.

Although it is sad that Rob lost so many trees to the winter windstorms, its nice that instead of this wood rotting in place, its going to be custom milled and used in some nice timber-frame structures where it will be admired for a long time to come.