Being Foolish and Getting Trapped Alone….

As the season progresses, the task of firewood splitting is in full swing. Having gathered some firewood by cleaning up trees in people’s yard, I never get to worried about having enough wood until July.

My wood stove takes up to 24 inch logs, and to maximizes the BTU/effectiveness I cut my wood to nearly exact size. You can use basic things like sticks and so on to measure with, but I have grown quite fond of my Mingo Fire Wood Marker. It allows me to zip along a log, placing a dot where I need to cut it. In less than 1 minute, I have finished marking a 30-50 log to the size I need. Because it uses a can of marker paint, I find that one can per season or about 20 cords of wood uses most of the can.

Splitting wood by hand is done, I like to do it. It is a chore I find rewarding. The rewards come when my space is filled with the warmth of the wood as the cold winter blows outside. When a meal is cooked over the fire because it cost nothing. But there are times when I get the gasoline log splitter out to help me with those hard to do pieces, like the ones with knots or they’re just too big to handle all by myself. Being a modern pioneer, I use both methods.

I wrestled a large piece of red oak onto the bed of the log splitter. I had propped the end of the splitter up so it would handle the next huge pieces and wouldn’t tip over while I was splitting them into sections. I had completed several pieces already and I was starting a new one.

As the wood split, I placed my hand into the cracked area to pull the pieces apart as the splitter came down. Then, the energy in the dried red oak forced the log up and it snapped closed. It had jumped up and caught my hand in it like a vise, and we are talking a 28 inch piece that weighted around 80 pounds. my first reaction was to pull my hand out, I could feel my hand being cut through my glove and I could feel the blood dripping. I knew I had a serous problem, and I was alone.

I knew a calm attitude would allow me to think a way out of this. I was already suffering from my poor decision making by reacting quickly. I felt panicked, but I trusted my thinking…

Picking up the log with my right arm, I carried the whole thing over to the splitting area where I had a splitting wedge. I placed the wedge into the crack and gently began to hit it with the axe. The wedge went in till it hit my hand, which I could almost not feel anymore. I grabbed the log again and moved to the out building where my chainsaw and tree falling equipment was. There I found another wedge and used it to come from the other direction to free my hand. My hand came out, it was pinched badly and the cuts were bleeding pretty good. After I cleaned it, wrapped it, I thought about what I did wrong.

Performing a action I had done hundreds of times before, I got rather comfortable at my task. So much so, I dropped my common sense guard and that is how I got hurt. I had briefly forgotten the energy a simple piece of wood can have. My hand remained swollen for several days, and now it has healed. This has served as a reminder to me, to remember to be alert at every task, at every second, because one slip up can hurt/kill you.

What do you think?