7203 Days Remaining

The recent snowfall is slowly melting off the Odin Mountain compound. Now that the big ragged white pine tree has shed it’s snow load I decided it is a good time to remove the branches that are overhanging my firing station.

The first step involved cutting off the tree limbs with a pruning saw. No easy task considering several of the limbs were located at the uppermost length of the pole. One of the limbs is 10-inches thick. An excellent exercise for both the upper arms and patience.

I left stubs sticking out from the main trunk of the tree with the idea of occasionally climbing it for a birds eye view of the beaver swamp next to which the tree is growing.

Pruning tree limbs that overlook the firing station
Pruning tree limbs that overlook the firing station

But down the tree limbs did come even as a I felt a “pump” in the muscles of my human limbs.

After some good hard work about a dozen tree limbs were on the ground. Next came axe work, knocking the small branches off several of the largest limbs. Having used an axe daily for years as a land surveyor and for the US Forest Service, I am pretty good axeman if I do say so myself. Using an axe feels like second nature to me, like riding a bicycle. An axe just feels good in my hands.

Using a sharp axe to cut smaller branches off the larger pieces wood.
Using a sharp axe to cut smaller branches off the larger pieces wood.

The cut off branches were then hauled to the brush pile for burning later on in the year when snow lay thick upon the ground. Burning at this time will ensure no wildfires are accidentally started with the added benefit of a nice large bonfire on a cold winter night.

Odin Mountain, the Human Skidder
Odin Mountain, the Human Skidder

In the picture you can see me, the human skidder. hauling tree limbs to the brush pile.

Once the area was clear of debris the next task was to salvage the large and now bare limbs for firewood. Of course white pine is not the best of firewoods but it does burn hot and fast when dry. This makes it good for getting the dampness out of the house on cool Spring or early Winter mornings.

Using my small battery powered chainsaw it was a pleasant matter to cut the limbs into stove wood lengths. Because the electric saw runs so quietly there is no need for hearing protection, though eye protection is mandatory against flying wood chips.

Cutting up the large tree limbs using an electric chainsaw
Cutting up the large tree limbs using an electric chainsaw

At the end of the tree limb processing I was able to obtain a large wheelbarrow load of white pine firewood.

Free exercise in the great outdoors, an improved rifle range, and pile of firewood.
Free exercise in the great outdoors, an improved rifle range, and pile of firewood.

Next I filled the wheelbarrow with the load of firewood and brought it up the hill to the woodpile, to be burned about year from now when it has dried.

Free exercise in the great outdoors, an improved rifle range, and pile of firewood.
A wheelbarrow load of firewood being transported to the firewood pile

Pruning, chopping, lifting, hauling, cutting, stacking, pushing. A couple hours of hard labor excellent in its variety with the added benefit of improving the Odin Mountain Compound Air Rifle Range (OMCARR). This replaced my usual 5-miles of walking per day, as well as any weightlifting (more on that later)

Alas, other yard and garden work in preparation for the coming winter prevented me from target practice. By the time I had finished up it was already dark at 4:15 pm, made even darker by the overcast sky and thick blanket of cold moisture in the air.

Days are short in the Great North Woods as winter approaches.

And so we come to the subject of Fidel Castro, who passed away yesterday. One of the greatest revolutionaries who ever lived alas died the most horrid of deaths.

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire”.Bukowski

Fidel Castro, Revolutionary.  August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016
Fidel Castro, Revolutionary. August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016

Say what you will, this man met life head on and forged his own path. There is nothing else for a man to do as his death is inevitable.

To risk death in action is to risk living. For a man, the two are one and the same.

One of the greatest fighting revolutionaries mankind has ever created knew the value of a simple military crest of a hill
One of the greatest fighting revolutionaries mankind has ever created knew the value of a simple military crest of a hill

In my view Fidel Castro’s biggest mistake over his entire 90+ year lifespan is, simply put, he allowed himself to become ninety.

You see, Fidel died a Straw Death.

A man is meant to die in battle, fighting his enemies,  to the end proud and strong and free.  Not to die in bed a blithering, drooling, dependent.
A man is meant to die in battle, fighting his enemies, to the end proud and strong and free. Not to die in bed wasting away of old age a blithering, drooling, dependent.

In Viking times the most utterly shameful death imaginable was a “Straw-Death” i.e. you died helpless, drooling and decrepit lying in your bed. It was considered utterly obscene and disgusting beyond belief.

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