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A little advice on log cabins

Two days ago, I took down a dead hemlock about eight inches in diameter and about 30-feet high. I told Jenn this was because it was leaning towards the picture windows of our house, just a little too much for my liking. In reality, it was because I bought a new folding camp saw and was bored.

And whenever an outdoorsman is bored, cutting wood is the cure. If you don’t believe this, remember, we are the ones who perfected whittling and wood piles.

A new cutting implement in the hands of a bored outdoorsman is hell on the local forests.

This is not because we outdoorsy types hold resentment to all the trees that have conspired to let flushing grouse fly off unharmed. Although, I will admit, that shortly after dropping the tree, I looked into the forest and whispered, “Let this be a lesson to you all.”

No, it is because buried deep in the heart of every outdoorsman, there is a burning desire to yell “Timber!” at least once and actually mean it. By the way, you know you have cut down a tree correctly, when “timber” is not used to describe what the shed has become after the tree has fallen.

I’m not sure why we have the urge to yell “timber!,” but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that we were subjected to far too many Paul Bunyon stories in our childhood.

To a child of my era, a Paul Bunyon-type of life seemed pretty good, I guess. He was big, muscular, well-liked, had a cool blue ox that he, apparently, never had to clean up after – and songs written about him. But mostly, Bunyon got to run around with a cool, sharp object slung over his shoulder all day long, which ensured no one was ever going to make him take a bath. He basically lived a perfect life.

Paul Bunyon aside, I can tell you there is a certain pride that comes with felling a tree, especially when you realize that in doing so, you can now honestly tell your other outdoorsy friends that you finally started building that log cabin you always dreamed about. It doesn’t matter that you will never cut another log either. What matters is that you can forevermore refer to your log cabin construction experience whenever the subject comes up – which is whenever a group of outdoorsmen meet – and dispense practical folksy advice, such as “When it comes to log cabins, my philosophy is take your time and do it right.”

People listen to this because the ultimate dream of every outdoorsman is to build a log cabin deep in the woods that you can slip away to whenever the lawn needs mowing..

Log cabins also conjure up romantic images of self-sufficiency, tranquil settings and rugged individualism. Plus, they are far more comfortable to hide in than a shed.

The point here is that one of the best things an outdoorsman can do is get himself a sharp implement that is capable of cutting down a tree, so you can finally cross yelling an authentic “timber!” off of your bucket list and start that log cabin you always dreamed about.

But, if I could offer just a word of advice: when it comes to log cabins, my philosophy is take your time and do it right.

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