November 16, 2013

Born to this life!

It was a pleasantly warm, bright day today, which made working outside a pleasure, so I was looking forward to getting out in the fresh air and chopping up some wood for the wood burner. My aim was to get enough chopped and ready to burn to keep me going for a few days to save living from hand to mouth as I had been doing and having to keep dashing outside to find and cut enough dry wood to meet my immediate needs. However, even before I’d completed one cut, the chain on my chainsaw failed. As I mentioned in a previous post, it hadn’t been cutting very efficiently for a few days, but the cutting blades themselves were not the problem. What had gone wrong was that the backs of many blades that connect onto the drive pinion had worn away, so much so that drive to the chain had been lost, allowing it to jump completely off the guide.

So a replacement chain was in order, but I wasn’t sure where to find what I needed at such short notice. If I couldn’t get hold of one today I’d soon run out of wood and end up with a very cold house, as overnight temperatures are forecast to fall to just above freezing for the next few nights. So there was some urgency. I’d checked at Les Briconautes when I was there the other day but they were only offering Stihl chains, none of which were the correct length, and I also didn’t know whether they’d be of the correct specification in any case. As it happened, Victor chose that moment to ring, which was very fortunate. He confirmed that chains for all models of chainsaw are of similar spec and that it was just a matter of getting hold of the right length. He said that it might be worth giving Les Briconautes another try and asking about the lengths that were available, as it is possible for them to be adjusted.

So that’s what I did. Initially it didn’t look too encouraging as the assistant I spoke to said that I needed to go to an Oregon supplier. However, he said that he’d speak to his colleague who turned out to know much more about chainsaws then he did. After taking a couple of quick measurements and counting the tooth frequency, he said that if I would like to wait for 10 minutes, he’d make me a chain up. So I did, and when he returned and told me that the price was 28€, I asked if he would make that two instead. He said that he’d be pleased to, and that there was a Stihl offer on as well for a 50% discount on the second chain if you buy two, meaning that I got two Stihl chains for 42€. I thought that was a real result 🙂

When I got back and started using the new chain, I was amazed by how well it performed compared to the old one. In fact, not only did I succeed in chopping up a large quantity of wood ready to take indoors, I also chopped up all the rest of the wood left behind by my house’s previous resident, which I then put under cover in my shelter, and completely chopped up the dead tree that was recently blown over as well and put all of its wood into the shelter too. And I loved every minute while I was doing it! Sure, it helped to have a chainsaw that was working well, but there’s something primevally satisfying about cutting wood from your own land to use for heating your house. And the best thing is, it’s for free too, so there were two reasons for the smile that I ended up having plastered over my face. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of collecting and chopping the wood and carrying it indoors to stack next to my wood burner. I don’t know how long it’ll last, a good few days at least, but it’s nice to know that there’s more chopped and ready to burn, waiting outside in my shelter. I’m sure that it would be too hard for some, but for me it’s a great life and I love it 😉