Post-Collapse Lumberjacking

So, this morning we had a tree taken down in our front yard. A 40+ year old black locust that was so rotted you could see through the trunk in a couple spots. Given that this tree towered over our house (and I mean “over” literally as the trunk was perhaps 15 feet from the house), I decided to utilize the services of a local tree trimming company. With a small crew and all the right equipment, it took them about 75 minutes to bring it down, cut it up, and grind the stump.

We’re left with the clean up, which is just fine. We’ll split the wood and use it next year in our wood stove. Research indicates black locust, when dry, burns hot and long. The brush will make for a dandy bonfire.

What if, though, we were faced with the same situation and didn’t have a local service available to handle it? Could we have done it ourselves? If push came to shove, yeah, probably. It wouldn’t have been easy nor all that safe, but I think we could probably have handled it. We have ladders, chainsaws, hand saws, and ropes.

We also have neighbors. People who, God willing, would be around and agreeable to helping. If not out of a sense of friendship and mutual aid then perhaps in exchange for some of the wood.

Taking down a dead tree that threatens to land on your home is just one more thing to think about in your planning. Naturally, in that situation you’re probably not going to be all that worried about appearances. By that, I mean you’re not going to be too concerned if you can’t grind out the stump or if falling limbs leave divots in the grass.

This also brings to mind prepping firewood. Do you have an axe or two, a splitter, a wedge, all that fun stuff? To my way of thinking, those things go part and parcel with having the means to burn wood for heat. If you have a wood stove or fireplace, even if it is just more for decoration than anything else right now, you should invest in quality tools to harvest your own firewood.

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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