Some squirrels, a monkey and a whole bunch of wood!

by the Carpenter

It has been a 3-month process.

Back in April, I was in our town of White Bear Lake and I scored! I found a 40’ tall, 46” diameter at the base and a 30” diameter at the top, red oak tree. I arrived at the right time just when the tree cutter was going to fell it. He was actually more then happy to deliver it to me in chunks because I was within two miles as compared to forty miles where his shop was.

Well deliver he did. Two hours later I had several 5’ chunks, a couple 4’ chunks and a 3‘ chunk. The 5’ chunks ranged in diameter from 46” to about 42”. The weight of the 46” logs worked out to be approximately 3500 lbs. 

I cut these logs into 10” thick wheels, and then used a wedge and sledge to create 6 pie shape sections from each wheel. Each of these pie pieces at almost 100 lbs. were then set in a log splitter which when split produced about 20 logs.

I think I spent about 25 to 30 hours on the chain saw and the same on the splitter.

After that was complete, we had a mountain of oak logs ready to stack. Was I going to do that????? Nooooooooo!

This is where my "squirrelly girls" and my "monkey boys" come in. Who are they you ask? Well I have been blessed with six spirited nephews and four sweet nieces here in MN, and one nephew and one niece in PA. The kids here in MN for obvious reasons have been more a part of my life over the years then the PA kids, somewhat sad but that’s another story.

Anyway, my MN kids became "my kids" over the years. As our niece/uncle/nephew relationships grew, somehow the girls became known to me as my "squirrelly girls".

Well as I continued to call them that, one of them insisted that the boys also be given a moniker. Because boys are boys– always jumping and swinging on things– they became the "monkey boys", and to this day the names have stuck!

Now they range in age from a junior in high school to 10 years older then that, and they are still my "squirrelly" and "monkeys". Always will be.

Okay back to the project. I had the four girls and one of the boys over today to stack. And boy did they stack! They put up over five full cords of wood (1 cord= 4’x4’x8’) in five hours.

Every time I am able to spend time with them, I really value it. They get along well, enjoy each other and really seem to actually like each other. They are slipping out of my grasp. Two monkeys and a squirrelly just graduated from college, One monkey works for me, another squirrelly is going to be a junior in college, one monkey just graduated from high school and is off to college in the fall, the two other monkeys are pursuing careers, and the last two squirrellys are in high school. One is a junior, one a senior. It’s a bittersweet time seeing them grow and go, but they will always be my "squirrelly girls" and "monkey boys!"

Today was a fun day with them and it was worth giving up work time to do it.