Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Insatiable log splitter on the loose

By the time other people reach their Third Thirds in Alaska, they often have a cabin. By the time I’ve reached my Third Third, I have friends with cabins. Boy, am I lucky!

I have resisted a cabin for us because I have enough trouble maintaining one residence and its assortment of do-over-and-over-again chores. But I certainly do relish the idea of one’s very own national park in the middle of whatever wilderness it’s planted. So we were delighted to visit Connie and John’s cabin.
As we hiked in, Connie said she used to just walk on trails. Now she realizes how much WORK it takes to keep those trails from being overrun by vegetation, mud, rain, muskeg. Brush, swamp, tree roots. Decay, rust, animals. When they’re your trails, it’s your WORK.

It was a spectacular sunny day. Denali was out and brilliant, the cabin is a 10 on the comfort scale, and Connie and John are gracious hosts. And then I was introduced to QuickSplit. I was so enamored with QuickSplit, I hogged it, didn’t let anyone else get to use it.

Meet QuickSplit:
Why QuickSplit is more fun than a barrel of monkeys:
  1. I’ve never done it before. It’s my newest New Thing.

  2. It takes a job – splitting logs – and adds two of those six simple machines to it to make it EASIER. I feel very homo sapiens-proud when I can see evidence of the brain making the brawn work better. Hooray for the lever and the wedge!

  3. It works better with a partner keeping the log in position. Tim holds the log so the log rises up to the blade in the middle. When the split needs a little help, Tim wields the axe. (He’s good with axe handles….) When you need brawn, you need brawn. I don’t even have aim.

  4. QuickSplit exists within my danger parameters. The blade comes down slowly; it’s not a guillotine, and I’m a whole lever away. Unlike my issues with the axe.

  5. I can see the pile of split logs growing and growing and growing! Yes, this might be a do-over-and-over-again chore, but there is now a mountain of split logs. I am not the one who’ll do it over-and-over-again; and I am helping friends not to have to do it over-and-over-again as soon.

  6. At one point, QuickSplit stopped working. Uh, oh. I broke it. But Connie showed me the little doohickey that swings the ratcheting thing back into position. So now, I KNEW QuickSplit; I was knowledgeable and experienced. Always good feelings.

  7. Sometimes, the log was extra dense and I needed lots of force on the lever. Then I’d have to JUMP UP and PUSH down with everything I’ve got. I love my brute force.
  8. It was sunny, gorgeous, and I was being the little squirrel preparing for winter. I was not waiting till it rained to repair the roof; I was being READY. Something in me felt … righteous.
After a long while, after the wood shed was starting to bulge, I stopped splitting. But then I noticed some newly-chopped log rounds just winking at me, begging to be split. It’s hard to quit when you’re having such a good time.


  1. Just the sort of 'guest' cabin-owners love! Reminds me of a well-advertised, upscale joint in Sadie Cove (outside Homer) that told guests that they get to experience 'real Alaska' by joining in the daily work of the lodge! (and the lodge got free undocumented labour).

    But I get the machine thing. Yeah, machines let us realise what our brains are for.


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