Friday, October 16, 2020


 Actual term.  Lumberjill is the feminine of lumberjack.  I've never been accused of being feminine, but let's just go for it for the sake of semantics.

I hate cutting trees, not only because I'm a 1980's Greenpeace activist tree hugger, no... mostly because I don't know what the hell I'm doing.  I've read my Stihl chainsaw manual front to back and I've watched countless video tutorials, but felling remains a dangerous job that puckers my butt cheeks.

Rewind to last Friday when Roscoe came back from grazing with a bloody nose that lasted almost 6 hours. He, nor his pasturemate is talking, so Dr. Brown rounded up the usual suspects: trauma, pulmonary hemorrhage or poisoning.  Feed or plant toxicity usually affects the entire herd, but my suspicions rested on this:

A huge red maple down by the lake.  Red maple leaves, after they fall, become extremely toxic.  The tree isn't in a pasture, but the horses walk past it on their way to their daytime pasture.  In the fall, I exclude them from it to prevent accidental ingestion.  We've never had a problem with it, but Roscoe is a knucklehead.  

To add to our poisoning suspicions, Roscoe was in full blown colic mode by Tuesday morning. 

Revenge occurred immediately.

I've cut less than 100 trees down in my life and this was the biggest, plus multi-trunked, with a lean in the opposite direction of the crown weight.  Thanks to two hurricanes, our tree service was tied up for the next month and they wanted $5000 to take to bring it down and haul it all off.  We can do that, I said.  Problem is, the employee I was counting on with the skills to help me was in Ohio on another job.

I knew I was in trouble when the chainsaw felt like it was going through butter.  I now had the challenge of a hollow core.

Just me and my new 18 year old hire, Luke.  Who doesn't drive a tractor.  I put some tension on one of the trunks rising from the 3' diameter base and theorized it would split into the lake.

Correctamundo. I went home to change my Depends and returned to take down the back half.

I wasn't loving life this week.  

Yup, burned up one of my nine lives on that one.

Then the fun begins of cleanup.

Adjanie came to help us.

At first, we thought of leaving the limbs in the lake as fish habitat, but the image of one of the horses (who like to swim) getting their feet tangled up in a sunken tree made us reconsider.

Meanwhile, Roscoe wasn't improving.

Nothing to do but monitor his vitals around the clock, administering pain medications, force feeding mineral oil and fluids.  By Thursday night, I couldn't think anymore.  Cumulative totals of maybe 3 hours sleep per night.  So behind on homework it will take a miracle to submit all my assignments by Sunday...  I'm a seriously pissed off zombie.

Nothing works frustration off like a chainsaw.  

Three days later, we're still cutting and cleaning.  Mostly because we found 3 other red maples that had spawned off the mother tree and were growing all tangled up in groves of oaks.

The results of bloodwork on Roscoe reveal he wasn't poisoned by the maple.  So, we're still stumped as to why his colic lingers and he runs a temperature of 102F unless given Banamine every 12 hours.  To boost his spirits, he was allowed to graze with his BFF last night. At 3 AM Friday morning he looked depressed and puny.  Then by 9, his temp was down and he had some appetite back.  Cheerios help.

Life isn't grand sometimes, it's only by gritting your teeth and not giving up that you can get by.

Oh, did I mention Pippins eye surgery wasn't a total success? No, I haven't had time to introduce you to the new dog I've had for months now.  Yeah, not a good week, actually two weeks.  Ranking right up there in crappiest of the year (and we all know this year has been extra 'special').