Exploits collecting "free" wood #1: What am I doing here

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Monte Pittman posted 11-20-2012 11:12 PM 6689 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Exploits collecting "free" wood series Part 2: Burned Cedar & Box Elder »

For those of you that feel like grabbing a chainsaw and go cut some trees to make things out of, this blog is for you.

Today started yesterday afternoon. Hook up the trailer, sharpen both saes, make sure you have gas and oil, spare chains and filters. Tinker in the shop for a couple hours and go to bed early.

The alarm goes off at 12:45 am. Everything is loaded so it is just a matter of hopping in and going. I am heading 322 miles away. To here ;

It looks like a autumn forest that has shed its leaves. However, it’s a burned forest. Not much life here.. This is a salvage operation. Picture last July, it’s 110 degrees with a 30 mph wind.many miles SW of here a lightning strike starts a prairie fire. 4 days, 80,000 acre and numerous farms and homes lost. No lives lost, just memories. I know a couple of the farmers involved. They lost all of their buildings and equipment. The insurance will rebuild buildings and replace equipment, but not the memories. As a note, the one thing that virtually none of the farmers had insured was the fences. You don’t think much about it, a lot of us have had to repair a fencon our property. Now multiply that times miles of fences. Of course insurance companies being who they are, the fences weren’t listed so they don’t pay for them. This couple figured the fence would cost about $50,000 to replace.this is a young couple with a baby girl about a year old. Most of her stuff was lost in the house. But the insurance money will buy her new stuff and she’ll have a new room to grow up in and that’s cool. Her mom knows, she grew up in the old one. They will get new dining room furniture and dishes, that’s cool. But her grandmother can’t give them as a wedding present. As I said, no humans lost their lives. The family dog is missing,fate and whereabouts unknown. But in the spring they will get a new puppy for their daughter to grow up with. That’s always cool. Dad knows, he grew up with the old one. I didn’t take many pictures, not sure why. Although it’s a scene I will forever see.

The farm had many acres of aromatic red cedar. That’s what I came for. I left with a trailer load. I would guess about 400-500 board feet. Was that much wood really worth the trip? In this case yes. In the future, when they say only a few people were affected, remember that those few were really affected. I left for home about 1:00 pm. I’ll go back for more trees and take them something that I make out of these.

Future blogs on this topic probably won’t be this long, I just felt this one needed its story told.

No live trees were harmed during this adventure. However the saw operator was left with multiple cuts and bruises.

Thanks for letting me take your time.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

12 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4591 days

#1 posted 11-20-2012 11:26 PM

yes, this is a story to be told, and im glad they had insurance for most things, yea i don’t think i would have thought of the fence myself…shesh…that’s a bunch of money for fence…but, on a farm, its like having or not having a tractor…im glad you were able to salvage some cedar from this, maybe a cedar chest for there winter blankets…..sad story, but no lives were lost, except the dog, if he were alive he would have showed up..but a new puppy will help with new memories…show us some of this wood when you get it milled..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3774 days

#2 posted 11-20-2012 11:29 PM

Thanks Monte! Here in Texas we are dealing with a 4-5 year drought and the associated fires that have occurred. The Bastrop area south of us lost thousands of acres and hundreds of farms and homes.

Our area was lucky I guess, we are only losing trees due to insect infestation and disease caused from trees weakened by a lack of water.

Every day we see more trees that have fallen because the roots are gone and the ground is so dry. I wish I could harvest all of it, but I can only put so much weight in my shop because it’s on pier and beam foundation.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3800 days

#3 posted 11-20-2012 11:58 PM

I concur with Dallas, as I live next door to Bastrop in Austin Tx and saw first had what a wild fire can do and as mentioned in your story Monte, it was started by way of electricity only not by nature it was man made power line that sparked the fire.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3695 days

#4 posted 11-21-2012 12:05 AM

You are what I call a rough tough cream puff. Its people like you who walk the walk that make life worth living. Whatever you make these people I am sure it will be nice. All your projects are!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30651 posts in 3625 days

#5 posted 11-21-2012 12:25 AM

I started this morning thinking this would be humorous. So let me add this,

These were burned trees. So I am covered in black soot. I took a branch up side the head and have dried blood all over my shirt. I didn’t drink enough water today and have been having muscle cramps in my arms driving home. But I have a trailer full of red cedar so I am happy!

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View rejo55's profile


190 posts in 3529 days

#6 posted 11-21-2012 12:33 AM

Monte, I’ve been following your work for several months now, and eagerly await your next post. But this one really grabbed me. I know one thing for sure—- when you get old and decrepit like me and just can’t quite hobble out to your shop every day, you have one skill that no one has probably commented on, but please don’t neglect it. That skill is that you can write, Man! This story reminded me of John Steinbeck’s works. I could feel the compassion for this family.
Thanks much for the blog.
Have a good’un

-- rejo55, East Texas

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3977 days

#7 posted 11-21-2012 02:19 AM

Monte, You wrote a great report on this trip! My heart really goes out to fire victoms. Glad you were able to get some more wood for your stash. Now try to heal up before your next adventure! And looking forward to seeing you mill this with your new mill.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Rxmpo's profile


270 posts in 5033 days

#8 posted 11-21-2012 02:32 AM

Being from the NY city area, thankfully I have never seen a wildfire on that scale or the apocalypse left after the newsmen have moved on to the next news story. The photo grabbed me, but as rejo55 said, the writing gives it meaning. Thank you for the post and best wishes to the families affected.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3476 days

#9 posted 11-21-2012 04:47 AM

Wow, that’s quite a story Monte ! You’ve really put a human face on it. I am sure the family you speak of will be pleased that you can make them something beautiful out of wood from the devastation around them.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4091 days

#10 posted 11-21-2012 01:30 PM

Devastation sucks. Quit a story Monte

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4372 days

#11 posted 11-21-2012 04:29 PM

Great story, know what you mean about not taking enough pictures, thank God for memories, even if we can
not print them out for sharing. Have cut a few burned trees, so I know what you mean about the soot. You
would think that after a few years we would remember about that liquid intake, but with all those energy
drinks available it is a little easier to ease the cramps, even if we do not like to walk into the store looking
like a disaster victim. A pressure washer might help to make those logs a little easier/cleaner to handle before
you run them through the saw. Thank you for sharing, and hope the family gets settled into the new house
and life soon.

-- As ever, Gus-the 82 yr young apprentice carpenter

View DocSavage45's profile


9070 posts in 4130 days

#12 posted 11-22-2012 04:19 PM

A craftsman of wood and words. Hope they have a good Thanks Giving. You too!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics