Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Monday 23 November 2015

Meet Daisy

Have I told you the story about Daisy yet?  No, I think not.  The purchase and naming was longer ago than this blog started.  

So the story starts out about 2 years ago.  We had a bad fire season and had to cancel a trail ride.  But we also got a contract to do some trail cutting in the mountains.  The fire went out (thanks Mother Nature!), but it was too late to continue with the ride, so we decided take that time to cut trail.  I have some talented friends and family that are great with a chainsaw.  None were available.  Not a one.  

When it became utterly clear that "I" was to be the main trail cutter, I announced that I was spending all the money I was hoping to make, on a chainsaw.  One I could realistically pack.  Eli has several chainsaws, but the only end I saw to using his, was cutting my own legs off from exhaustion, or coming home with my knuckles dragging along the ground from packing them. 

 Neither option I was willing to seriously consider. 

 So the next 'town trip' I did some serious shopping (with plenty of advice to still buy a "real" saw, not a backyard hedge trimmer) and eventually came home with a saw I thought I could handle.  Eli gave me the 20 minute run down on how to be a professional faller, I cut down a couple trees under his watchful eye.....and away we went to the mountains.  No worries, right?  We got this!      

There were five of us gals; a niece, my Ontario nanny and good friends Jody and Nikky.  Every one of us is used to being around chainsaws, but in the hands of husbands, fathers and brothers.  Not me so much.   

The trail crew on a side trip!  

Needless to say, we were all careful to the point of paranoia.  Plenty of scrub, fallen trees and limbs were cut the first few days, but not so many 'danger trees'.  At one point Amanda was helping me out and watching me walk with the saw to the next fallen tree.  She said "I've never seen anyone pack a saw like that before".  I laughed until tears came to my eyes.  Her dad is an awesome faller (one I was hoping to bring along).  He is also over six feet tall, is broad shouldered and strong, and has been running a saw since he was big enough to pack one.  Which was a while ago....  And, apparently, he does not pack his saw tucked under his arm, balanced on the top of his hip.  Huh.  Who knew?  Got hips and I'm not afraid to use them!     

Me and my top 'swamper' Nikky.   

We have a little pack horse named "Hi-ho" and he is the most excellent 'saw horse'.  He's short you see, like me.  We pack milk crates on the sides...one which fits the saw, and the other that fits the gas and safety gear.  Pulling the saw out all the time, finding rocks to counter the gas weight and the general pain of it all soon got to be too much, and eventually I just convinced my trusty Riley horse that I could ride and pack the saw as well, across my saddle or on my hip.  He agreed that it was much faster and was very patient with me, especially since getting on his back with the saw in hand is not that smooth.  

Awesome horses!  

A couple days in, we tied up and Nikky and I started out on foot through an area I knew to be full of blow down.  There was also a tree that has been in the way for ever and was full of scars from the box horses have to scrape their way around it.  
This was our first real 'falling job' and we were very careful, to say the least.  Our escape route was cleaned out.  I cut my wedge out very carefully, measuring the angle like Eli had shown me.  As I made the backcut, Nikky pushed the tree just the way we wanted it to fall.  As it started to go down, we both got well out of the way and watched it fall about as beautifully and perfectly as one could hope.  We were quite proud of ourselves, I must say.

Hi-ho puts on some black makeup from the burned trees.  

On our way back down to the trail to get the horses, we had a good laugh.  We decided that neither of us had even once heard any guys synchronize a delighted "WAHOO!" and do a happy dance when a tree fell in the right direction.  (Apparently you get used to it, as we certainly got braver as we got more experienced.  But I still chuckle whenever I ride over that stump during a trail ride!)  
We also decided that 'the saw' was working out too well to not have a name.  And a girly name it should be, since it was doing such a girly job!  A bit of thought and some laughs and Nikky came up the name 'Miss Daisy'.  Perfect.  I did some shopping to pretty her up on my next trip to town......  

The funny part of the whole story is that everyone on the ranch still refers to my saw as "Daisy".  It is a favorite due to her light weight and distinguishable not only by her size, but her now faded 'bling'.

It's not that surprising really, when you consider some of the other names on the ranch.  We have a tractor called "The Hamburger", an old truck named 'Brownie' (also referred to as "Friendly" as her fenders "wave" constantly), and another called Miss Griffith.  Not to mention some odd ball horse names, and don't get me started on the cows!  :P

Take care all!

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