Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Love respect and dignity for trees

A couple of months ago a couple of oak trees fell on the back of the property. At first I was going to do a video and article about stockpiling firewood. As the project progressed, I came to the realization that the trees were symbolic of what the world needed most – love, respect and dignity.

If people would show everyone around them, everything, and the world itself those things things, everything would be better off. Our lives would be better, the world would be a better place, our families would be better, our children would be better,,, everything would be better.

The tree I was working on in the video is a water oak (Quercus nigra), also called a pin oak. The other tree that fell is a live oak. The live oak has a bunch of intertwined limbs that is going to make it rather difficult to cut up. The pin oak has a nice straight trunk with just about all of the limbs at the top. Since the pin oak is going to be easier to cut up I started with it.

Both trees fell across a washed out area next to a creek. The tree top was on the bank of the creek, while the root ball was on another bank. A Stihl MS310 was used to cut off the top and cut up the trunk. The bank was too steep to carry the logs up to the truck, so a tractor and rope was used to pull the logs up the bank.


The chainsaw left a rough edge across the face of the oak rounds, which made counting the rings difficult. I stopped counting around 37 or 38 rings, and still had a couple of inches to go. For now let’s say 50 or so rings. At around a half century old the tree has seen a lot. I wonder if the tree saw my grandfather walking around the property? Did it seem my dad when he was a young man? I know the tree saw my kids and I as we walked around the property.

We forget that everything around us is alive. If it alive, it deserves kindness, love and respect. Except bloodsuckers they deserve nothing – ticks, mosquitoes, and cheating spouses, they deserve nothing,

Anyway, back to the love and respect for everything besides bloodsuckers.

As the tree was cut up I felt sorry for it. The tree had been blown over in a storm. Such is life. We never know what is going to happen. One day the pin oak and live oak are standing majestically in the forest. The next day they are on the ground. What happened to the trees can happen to any of us. We can lose a job, cheating whore wife try to run off with someone who was supposed to be your friend,,, etc.

One day we are looking around being happy where we are at, then next day your whole world has changed and you are looking up from the ground. Such is life.

Both trees were beautiful and magnificent creations. Their acorns fed generations of squirrels and deer. Now, they are relegated to either either rotting on the forest floor or to be used as firewood.

If left to rot on forest floor the tree would be home to all kinds of insects.

If used in my bar-b-q smoker the tree would provide my family and I with food and quality time. When we have a brisket or ribs on the bar-b-q smoker my family and I like to sit near the pit and talk about politics, memories, family history,,,, just your typical stuff.

I feel the trees would get more dignity and respect out of being used for firewood then left to rot. Plus, I need firewood.

The trees were not cut down on purpose, they were blown down in a storm.  The storm might be considered an act of GOD.  If GOD put this tree so that it can be used for firewood, who am I to turn down such a wonderful gift.  It would be downright lazy of me not to cut at least one of these trees up for firewood.  I need bar-b-q wood, a wonderful oak tree is where I can get to it with my truck, so why leave it to rot.

Cutting the pin oak tree up

The base of the pin oak tree (water oak) was on the creek bank, the middle was over a washed out area, and the top was on a sand bar of the creek and was tangled in a couple of smaller trees and vines.  Rather than starting at the top like I usually do, I cut the top off just below a couple of branches.  Rather than fighting the vines to cut the top up, I am going to pull the top out of the vines with a truck.

When dealing with an uprooted tree things can be a little tricky.  You do not know if the trunk is going to move up or down, or if the tree top is going to roll when cut loose.

Safety is number one importance.

I used the Stihl MS310 and started cutting from the top of the tree, but very slowly.  I was watching to see if the main part of the trunk was going to move up or down as stress was relieved.  The trunk started to move down.  Which meant if I kept cutting from the top the Stihl MS310 would become pinched.  The saw was pulled out and started cutting from the bottom.

Top of pin oak tree tangled in vines

Top of pin oak tree tangled in vines

As the trunk started to move downwards, the cut on top closed.  To give some play room I made a relief cut on top and used an axe to take some off the wood from the top of the tree.  There was about 2 inches between the first and second cut.  I was able to keep cutting from the bottom until the trunk had been cut all the way through.

I moved back 18 inches and started making another cut.  There was enough pressure on the tree trunk and the first cut that the second cut started to close up.  I had to cut from the bottom to finish the cut.  When the second cut was made the oak round did not fall free.  Pressure from the leaning top and trunk were keeping it in place.  I took an 8 pound sledge hammer and beat the round free.  It fell to the ground and the stress between the trunk and top was relieved.

Pin oak tree cut up for firewood

Pin oak tree cut up for firewood

18 inch oak rounds – standard firewood length is 24 inches / 2 feet.  I am cutting my oak rounds 18 inches long.  In my bar-b-q smoker 18 inches works better than 24 inches.  With the size of the tree trunk, 18 inches is a lot easier to handle than 24 inches.  In the summer of 2015 I cut some oak firewood 24 inches long.  It did not work very well in my bar-b-q smoker.  I need to be able to turn logs sideways as well as longways.

Getting oak rounds up the creek bank

Once I had several sections of the tree trunk cut up then came the difficult job of getting the oak rounds up the creek bank. I did not feel comoftable carrying the logs up the bank. So I opted for a tractor and rope to pull the oak rounds up.

As my oldest son drove the tractor I wrapped a rope around the oak rounds.  With the rope securely in place the rounds were pulled up one by one.  Once on top of the bank the log was rolled to the side, then the process was repeated.

Dragging firewood out of underbrush

Dragging firewood out of underbrush

We went back and forth, back and forth until all of the oak rounds were out up on the creek bank.  It was a lot of work but in the long run having the firewood will be worth it.

Next I have to split all of that wood.  There is probably another 8 or 9 oaks rounds that can be cut out of the trunk of the pin oak tree, and the top has been barely touched.  After the pin oak comes the live oak.


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Kevin Felts was born and raised in southeast Texas, graduated from Bridge City high school Bridge City Texas, and attended Lamar College in Port Arthur Texas. Hobbies include fishing, hiking, hunting, blogging, sharing his politically incorrect opinion, video blogging on youtube, survivalism and spending time with his family. In his free time you may find Kevin working around the farm, building something, or tending to the livestock

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