Author Topic: Forward Thinking  (Read 1293 times)


  • Quiet please
Forward Thinking
« on: November 13, 2008, 09:06:45 pm »
One of our tasks this weekend was to build a bonfire for next weekend.  So on Sunday, I got the Series III out of the garage and we (2 little helpers aged 6 and 3 as well as myself) drove round the garden picking up all of the waste wood that the previous owner had left lying about.   I’d already scavenged everything that was good firewood – this was all of the rotten stuff as well as chipboard and the like.   We built the fire in the field, covered it with a few fence panels and rewarded ourselves with a packet of jaffa cakes. 

I remembered that we had seen some big lumps of wood at the top of the field which had looked like oak, so I decided to go and fetch them – there is nothing small boys like more than being driven across a field in a roof less Land-Rover.   We arrived at the right place, and set to work clearing some scrub so that we could get to the rounds of wood.   They were indeed oak, and had been down for perhaps 15 years – so not in the best of condition, but still perfectly good firewood.  The eldest stood on one of the rounds and shrieked that he could see the stump, and it was huuuge.  So I hacked a bit more brash down, and indeed the stump, and a very large part of the trunk remained.   It was one of the field boundary trees, and must have been blown over some time in the 90s.  They’d cleared the brash and left the split section of the trunk behind – a piece of wood about 25 feet long and about 3 feet wide.   Firewood bonanza!   I did think about turning it into planks, but it was too badly damaged. 

With a child thrilling combination of winches and big chainsaws (they watched from the tail gate of the Land-Rover, consuming yet more jaffa cakes), the trunk was extracted and turned into 9” slabs, ready for splitting.   

“How old was it daddy?” the eldest asked. 

So we sat down and counted the rings.   175 years when it fell over (give or take a few).

“How long is that daddy?”

“Well, it is rather a long time.   If you had children, and then they had children, those children would be able to see a tree as big as this when they were really old.  They would be your grandchildren”.

As I said it, I realised that we were potentially going to get on to a meaningful discussion about death and/or sex which I really wasn’t up for at this stage.   Thankfully we were interrupted by the youngest who was rapidly learning about stinging nettles.  That little fellow leads a hard life: it was "All you need to know about wasps" last week-end.   

We fetched the trailer and loaded all of the wood, cleared the brash into a pile (more burning for next weekend), and drove home down the edge of the field.   Now that I was looking for oak trees, I could see very clearly where the field boundary trees were missing.  I pointed this out to the boys.   The eldest was pensive. 

“Can we plant some more daddy?” 

“Yes, I suppose we can”

“That’s good, I’d like to plant them for my chil…um, grandchildren”

Ouch.  Nothing to make you feel more mortal than a 6 year old planning his legacy to his grandchildren.   He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to cheat.   Rather than planting haycorns (as Eeyore would say), I’m going to drop in some 30 year old trees with a digger.  That will at least give me something to look at, and the children will love the digger.