Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Beaver Giveth

     Last year one of our beavers hung a large aspen. I can't say for sure it was the beaver's fault. Maybe a storm blew through and dropped the tree while Bucky was off somewhere else. Whatever the reason she's entwined among three red oaks. Pulling out the chainsaw and finishing the job was a powerful temptation. But my voice of reason, I call her Lois, said doing so was way over the hill and into the land of stupid. So far in, it bordered on suicide. So it hung there for near on a year.
     My daughter Annie and her husband Ryan came to the rescue by building a new house. In the house would be a gas fireplace. On top of which was to be a rustic mantel. Their old house had one made from a birch log. The log came from our woods up north. Moving it out of the trees taught me my knees weren't what they used to be.
     Long story short, a log was pulled from the aspen when Lois wasn't watching. The mantel is drying in the garage. But that's not the point of the entry.
     Last summer Lois and I spent an afternoon in Duluth with some friends. One artsy gift shop led to another. In passing, a display of local artisan, cartoon-like, evergreens carved from wood was spotted and admired. Another one of those things Lois said we could figure out and do ourselves. Our drawers are lined with such never done projects.
     While there I picked one up, looked at it both right side and upside down and said the usual, "Uh huh. I could do 'er. Yup. No doubt about it." Said that many times over the years and had yet to prove I could actually do any of them.
     For some reason those trees have stuck in my craw. Years past, when I was working, there was always something demanding my time way more important than putzy crap like itty-bitty trees and bird houses. Well, it's a little embarrassing but I've built a few birdhouses now. Truly an immoral waste of time. But it seems my morals, like my knees, ain't what they used to be.
     So, with scrap aspen and band saw I be makin' me some trees. Lordy, lordy what have I sunk to? Beaver and storm hangs tree. I cut log from said tree, chainsaw out a slab, square it up with planer and circular saw. Cut the slab to mantel size and have a six foot mini-timber left over. Mini-timber is made into corbels on which to mount mantel. Remainder of timber is quartered lengthwise. From these are made artsy-fartsy, mini-trees. Little trees from big ones. It's embarrassing for sure. Don't tell anyone.

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