Road to Thornmire

Yesterday, Andrew and I started working on a driveway for the undeveloped parcel of thorny, swampy woodland we bought during lockdown. We rented a chainsaw at an equipment rental place, where the guy asked if we had ever used one before. We had not. He showed us how to start it: open the choke, pull the string thing (technical term) vigorously a couple of times until you hear the motor almost catch. Then close the choke, one more vigorous pull and the engine catches. Easy.

We headed out to our woods a half-hour away, parked alongside the road, and determined a plan of attack. There’s an old stone wall that we wanted the driveway to run along, so we figured out the angle we needed to cut and tried to start the chainsaw. And failed. And failed. And failed. And then it smelled like gas we realized we had probably flooded the engine. And so there we were, sitting on the side of the road, Googling how to fix a flooded chainsaw engine. Then calling the rental place. Then finally driving back to the rental place, where they showed us how to get it going again and gave us updated instructions (pro tip: you shouldn’t open the choke at all if the saw is already warmed up).

When we got back to our property, the chainsaw started right up and I started cutting down saplings and hacking a path through the undergrowth. For every one minute of chopping, I had to stop the chainsaw, put it down, and rest, because it was so damn heavy. (It’s also freakin loud.) After we cut a narrow path about 30′ into the underbrush (of the ~1000′ we need to cut), the chain jumped the track. Some more Googling later, and we realized we didn’t have the hexwrenches we needed to get it back on.

This was all, of course, very frustrating and, in some ways, a huge waste of time. It certainly wasn’t how we were planning to spend the day. However, we learned a ton, so I’m counting it as not really a waste. We figured out a bunch of things that didn’t work and have a better idea of what to try next time (ear protection, bringing hexwrenches, rent a Brush Hog for the small stuff). My arms/shoulders/back are all noodles today, so we are going to be built by the end of this.

And machete-ing through the woods is pretty satisfying.

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