The trees I want are on my neighbor’s property. I have probably enough on my property to build my house, but he has more, so I can pick the best ones.
His only requirement? “Take the stumps, too.”
Very do-able. Ok, so I cut a tree on my property – just to make sure I can do it without killing anyone. Then, I went over to his property, and cut four more. I cut the tops off, and all the branches, then ran out of time. I bought a tractor – a 1967 Ford 3000 diesel tractor from Huntsville Tractor and Equipment. It’s old. Very heavy. Gets the job done. Mostly.
Last Thursday, we were under a severe weather alert, but they issue those all the time- “just to be safe,” of course. I could tell it wasn’t going to be that bad, even though it had rained off and on all day. I told Julie I was going out to the property after work to haul the logs across the ditch that bordered our property and the neighbor’s property where the logs were. The ditch is only about 2 feet deep, and I had crossed it several times with the tractor the day before. I got the tractor started, and went over to get some trees. I chained them to the tractor, and started back across the ditch. I got a little spin out of the tires when I hit the bottom of the ditch, but I gave it more gas, and got across. I dragged another log across with minor difficulties.
I decided to get one more log before going home. These logs are Loblolly trees that are between 16-20″ at the base, 8-10″ at the top, and about 45 feet long. I think they weigh in at around 8-10,000 pounds when they are fresh cut because my 7,000 pound tractor jack and my 8,000 pound winch can barely move them, and my truck can’t move them at all.
I started to go back across the ditch with one last tree, and I got stuck. I tried high gear, low gear, backed up a little – which wasn’t easy with the trunk of a tree pointing at the tractor- So I unhitched and noticed the clouds starting to thicken up a little. I knew at this point it was going to rain in about 45 minutes. The sky was getting dark because somewhere the sun had set. I had no truck- just my car, my tractor jack, and two trucker chains. I decided to winch the tractor.
I got out the tractor jack and could not remember how to hook it up to pull a load. I knew I needed a chain around the tractor, and one around a tree, but just could not remember how to do it. I tried to wedge the jack between the two chains and jack them apart, but the jack just wanted to jump out of that spring-loaded set up. I tried another position with the jack- no luck, and not enough chain to find another tree. I thought about leaving it there overnight, but it wasn’t my property, so I didn’t feel good about that. I had no one to call- everyone was an hour away. I decided to pray.
“Heavenly Father….” I told Him I was thankful for this land, and the tractor, and the safety I had up to this time, but I was trying to build a house for my family, and my tractor was stuck- could He tell me what to do to get it out?”
I finished my prayer and looked at the dimming situation. I saw a little image of the jack and the chain hooked in a loop, so I decided to lengthen the chain, and hook one end around the tractor jack. So I tried that- but no luck. I needed to stabilize one end of the jack against something. Against the tree would only push the tractor.
I prayed again, “Ok, I did that, now what?” This time I saw an image of the jack upside down instead of sideways, so the handle was up in the air when I pulled on it, so I did that.
I prayed again, “Ok, I did that, now what?” This time I saw a picture of the base of the jack up against the base of the tree, with the two chains in a long loop going back to the tractor, and the loop of the chain around the lift of the jack. That was it!
By using the base of the tree as the ground, and the lift of the jack pushing on the chain, I was able to easily winch the tractor forward and out of the ditch. Right about then, it started to rain. I parked the tractor, got my stuff, and began to drive home, and said a prayer of thanks before I left the property.
Some might say that I just exhausted all the other options, and my mind finally came up with a solution. But I don’t think so. Before I prayed- it was all confusion. After praying- with those images flashing in my mind for each step to set up a solution? They didn’t come from me. I’ll just leave with a thought from my church’s scriptures:
Doctrine & Covenants Section 59:
15 And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—
16 Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;
17 Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
So far, so good on the build- no accidents, no problems. I’m feeling pretty blessed, and thankful. Just a lot of trees that need to be cut down, and not enough time to do it all.