Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gift of the Wood Cutting Cradle

How many fathers do you think built a wood cutting cradle for their daughter this Christmas? Maybe the better question is how many daughters asked their father for a wood cutting cradle for Christmas?

This past summer when Roy and I were spending a day helping our daughter and son-in-law put up some wood, she mentioned that they really needed a wood cradle, knowing that it was a very handy piece of equipment to have on a homestead, and they hadn't yet acquired one. She asked her dad if he would build her one for Christmas.

Now this child has had a long and personal relationship with wood cradles. When she was growing up, we heated our home with wood and used a cradle for cutting up long branches and eight foot long pieces of waste wood (slabwood) from the sawmill a friend operated about a mile down the road from us. But we also had a contract with a state park some thirty miles away to provide them with bundles of wood for their campsites. Five thousand bundles of wood each summer season, to be exact. This was while Roy was working full time as a teacher so he did have the summer "off" (does one ever have time "off" on a homestead?), but summer was when the park went through the bulk of the wood. Therefore, we worked year round cutting, bundling, and delivering the bundles of wood so come June 1st every year, they had their quota for the year all set and ready.

This meant that many nights when Roy and our daughter got home from school, I would have driven the truck and 8' x 14' flat bed trailer over to the sawmill during the day, gotten a staggering load of slabwood, brought it home and had three cradles loaded with wood all ready to start cutting. Usually we would cut three fillings of the three cradles, then I would go inside to make dinner, our daughter would start her homework, and Roy would do animal chores.

The three of us put in a certain amount of time each weekend on the wood cutting and lots of time in the summer months. About the only time we had a respite from knowing there was wood waiting to be cut was when the sawyer down the road wasn't cutting for some reason.

Our daughter was about twelve when this was taken.

If I'm not mistaken this cradle that we still use (seen here in hibernation mode) is one of the original three we used for the slabwood bundles.

Here's Roy before Christmas working on his daughter's requested present.

Putting the very last finishing touches on it.

Loaded into the truck (if it had been 1/4" longer, it wouldn't have fit!) and ready for the trip on Christmas Day.

I sincerely hope our daughter and son-in-law will not be using her cradle to cut and deliver wood to a state park (!), but it does come in unbelievably handy for stacking full of eight foot long branches from kindling size to about six inches in diameter. Then one chainsaw slice down through the designated slots and many, many pieces of wood are cut to size in a jiff.

Wanna know another gift she asked for for Christmas? Well, they live fa-a-a-a-r off the grid, making their own electricity with solar panels, so they have to be conscious of how much power they use. Their electric toaster just bit the dust, so it seemed like a good time to switch to a folding camping toaster that they can put on top of their wood cook stove in the morning to make toast. But she grew up with one of those, too, as we didn't have electricity for many years. (Do you think we permanently warped her?)


Chicken Mama said...

"Do you think we permanently warped her?"


Your daughter.

Annie said...

If you did, I think it was warped in a good way!

I had never heard of a wood cradle before, thanks for the education!

Claire said...

Definitely warped. No question.