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Making it through another year '21-'23

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Old Greenhorn:
Well Today is Norwegian Constitution Day, a large holiday in Norway, something like out 4th of July here in the states. Lots of parades, traditional dress, and other celebrations. One of these days maybe I will get there to see it myself. But for a Norwegian, it is no small honor to have my birthday on that date also. As has been my tradition the last 2 years, I start a new thread on this day, just because it is a date I can remember. I don't want the server to get too bogged down with my never ending drivel which at this point is something like 29 page in the old thread, which can be found here: Staying Busy and Out of Trouble '20-'21.  (The one prior to that can be FOUND HERE.) I thought long on the title for this one but could not find anything suitable so settled for what you see. Maybe I will modify it later when I think of something catchy.
It still amazes me that so many folks read and respond to my pitiful offerings here. Because its my b'day and because I have been feeling a little down the last few days because I am so tired, I have been thinking a lot about my dwindling ability to produce physical work on a consistent basis. It sucks to get old. Don't get me wrong, I know I have many blessing's that others may not enjoy. I am healthy and have no medical issues that I am aware of, I don't even have any prescriptions to take daily. I do have a shop, and some decent tools, and I have managed to find some good clients. I found this forum which has exposed me to a lot of the details and knowledge that I had been lacking and provided some amazing and generous mentors to answer my questions. I would not be where I am right now without it, that is for certain. In fact, I have even gotten a couple of personal messages already this morning wishing me a good day, so thanks for that. You guys are nicer to me than I deserve. Each of these blessings is a big thing that many would love to have and I should be grateful for that everyday and I think I am. But I am having trouble staying up with the workload I have developed. In addition, the work demands some investments in better equipment and I am not too interested in jumping up to large trucks and heavy equipment that I know in a few years I would be working to pay for in repairs and upkeep while getting even slower myself. I am still searching for that balance between making some extra money to keep us afloat, and building something that becomes a beast I have to work everyday to feed. I don't mean to whine or give the impression I am feeble. My ability to work is still a lot better than a lot of other folks. My neighbor across the road can't keep up with me for an hour, let alone a day, and he 'works out' nearly everyday and is at least 15 years younger than me. I am just not happy with what I can produce compared to my expectations of what I should produce. Working in the woods puts you in a situation where the environment doesn't give you a break based on your age. It treats everyone the same and will hurt you quick if you let your guard down.
Maybe I am just thinking about all this stuff too much. :D
Anyway, new thread today.
The conversation on the prior thread at the end was about the upcoming Mushroom log harvest trip which hopefully begins at the end of this week. After the suggestions and discussions I was pondering the idea of mounting a truck bed crane in my trailer right about mid-ships to lift log bundles out of the Mule and into the trailer. I found a cheap one locally, but I have to do some measuring to see if I can mount it and still drive the mule on the trailer. This might have to wait until the new trailer gets bought. But I think if I jazz it up a bit for speed with an electric winch it might save time and sweat. Just before I went to bed I also came up with a modified idea that began with WV Sawmiller's suggestion for a forwarding trailer. As I explained to Howard, the terrain is too rough for that in most cases, BUT his idea is a good one that I had been looking into for a while before I set it aside. Well I let it roll around in my head for a few weeks now. 'Yeah, the ground is rough, but what could I do to mitigate that?' As often happens, I found my possible answer from back in history. I am contemplating making a stone boat of sorts with skis of something of that nature that I can drag behind the Mule adding to the capacity. Perhaps not even skis, but a flat poly bottom if I can find some surplus material someplace. Anyway, the idea has merit and I will pursue it once I spend some time in the woods figuring this all out. It also depends on whether reducing the number of trips out of the woods to the landing will really improve my 'cycle time', which, in many case it won't. So for now it is the 'load/unload' issue I will focus on first. That one will have a big impact on allowing me to work longer without having to lift and load each log at least 3 times. A 35# log isn't much to lift and move, but when you do 100 of them times 3 in a single day, it adds up quick and can really take the life out of my legs at the end of the day.
So now that I still have some time before I can get in there, I have been trying to figure out what my numbers goals are to make this work for me (and the clients by keeping the cost where they want it). My initial goal is to cycle through 150 logs/day (from the slash pile to my driveway inventory pile). If I can do that it should put me at just over the break even point, if I can do that for days in a row (without a rest day) it would be very workable. If I need rest days, then the viability goes down. (getting in and out quickly is very important so I do not have an impact on the logger's schedule. That relationship is worth much more than to me than the logs could be.)  If I could do 200 logs a day (I think my current rig can handle that) then I am in pretty good shape. I am hopeful that I can cut more than I can haul in a single trip, so my plan is to cut as much as I can each day, take the load I can and leave the rest stacked. Then the next day get up there early and load those first (a fairly quiet operation), take a break, then start cutting again until the trailer is full and I have more stacked up. If this happens, eventually I will have a mess of logs queued up and can take a day and make multiple trips or do a run with the dump trailer to catch up (more handling involved in the dump trailer, so I'd avoid that if I can). When I run out of time or steam I make one more run to fetch the Mule and gear and whatever logs are left in the truck bed and remaining trailer space. If I can pull this off, it is a workable plan.
As it relates to orders I have on hand right now, the first run (150) should satisfy a 'co-op' order I have (I need a day to deliver that) plus the two tiny local orders. After that I have the order for Cornell (which is still in some limbo as to the details) which is 300-500 logs, and 2 commercial orders for 100 to 400 logs each but one of those is white oak only. I don't know how much of that I will find, if any. Balancing those large orders to make everyone happy will be tough, but this all depends on what I can get in the inventory. The commercial buyers are willing to wait until I get the right stuff in the right quantity. Also, this first lot I am cutting is a new one, not the one my plans were based on. It's a rush clearing job that just came up. So I have to be fast and when it ends, if all goes well and my relationship remains in good standing (and I am still standing), I still have the 'big lot' coming up in mid-June. Hopefully the money from the first lot can put me in that bigger trailer, I will have learned a lot and outfitted myself better as time goes on. My last ace in the hole is that I have one or two sturdy folks who have offered to help me when I am ready. This means I will have to figure out my system so that I maximize their time and make it worth while for them. I also need to be pulling enough productivity to pay them, so for now, I work alone until I get my act together.
 Anyway, that's my plan. I wanted to put it down in writing so I could come back and see how close I was, and what I completely missed. Second guessing myself is a cheap hobby. ;D
Here we plunge into another year, let's see what this one brings. For now, I'll just worry about today.

VB-Milling:
Gosh and I thought I had a lot to do!

Happy Birthday Tom.  Take a minute to celebrate LOL

samandothers:
Happy Birthday Tom!  It is good to have another!  Enjoy your day and do something fun or enjoyable, maybe not work related!  My daughter's birthday is also today.  She's a bit younger than you.  :D

doc henderson:
I think the totes I use for firewood might come in handy, modifies for your purpose.  with enough they could provide storage and inventory management.  can be moved with a crane or forks, or pallet jack on a hard surface.  they are about 3.5 x 4 feet so could handle your size logs.  could help keep them sterile and such and with the plastic liner, help to not damage them.  just had to get a comment on here so it pops up on my cue.  Happy birthday!



 

 

WV Sawmiller:
Tom,

  Happy birthday. I assume you are wearing your fancy silver buckle shoes and your fancy little knife all day today.

  Good luck on the stoneboat idea. I used to use an old p/u truck hood with the right curve to pull behind my little gravely tractor. I just ran a cable or piece of old guy wire through the metal and it would tear out after a while but it was cheap and fast to replace. The old car hood laid flat, the front curved up to ride over obstacles, and I could butt the back up against the big stone or boulder and it was easy to roll a big stone over one flip then drag it to a low spot I was filling. I'd cut a locust pole and lay it across 2 trees or stumps as a dam and fill in behind them. I read a blurb here somewhere a while back about a guy in Tennessee who had made stone boats all his life. Was pretty neat. i watched the Mountain Men show where Eustace Conway down near Hickory NC made one to drag his logs out. Looks like a fun project. I don't know what kind of swing arm loader you found but I think HF makes a cheap one worth investigating. Good luck. Stay safe. Keep those posts a'coming.

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