There are too many cobwebs around here. That’s the first thing I have to say. I’ll have to get rid of them of course but I never seem to notice them until there are a ton of them around. It’s completely pointless to write about since no one cares about anyone else’s cobwebs but it’s just distracting me right now as I attempt to write. I’m going to have to get up and clear them out. Back in a minute.

I’m a bit exhausted right now from doing yard work. On the Saturday before Halloween we had a big snowstorm around these parts and since the trees still have their leaves on them the snow brought down a lot of tree limbs. We were lucky enough not to lose our electricity but people all over the North East did lose power for days on end. I had a lot of tree branches come down in the back yard. Big tree branches.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many branches come down in one storm. Even hurricanes and blizzards. As I’ve been bicycling throughout the week I’ve seen more and more broken branches appear on people’s property out near the road. That’s where you put broken branches around these parts so that the wood chipper can get to them and chip them and take them away. It doesn’t look like the town wood chipper has gotten to any of them yet though. I’m sure there is a lot more important clean up to do first. Still the amount of broken branches amazes me. If they’re not out by the road a glance into the yard shows that they haven’t been cleaned up yet.

For my yard clean up I had to break out the chain saw for the first time in years. I don’t have much call for a chain saw except to cut up the occasional branch but usually the branches are small enough that a pruning saw will do just fine so the chain saw sits. It’s an electric chain saw. I’m sure if I used a chain saw all the time a gas powered one would be better but being that I haven’t pulled it out in at least three years I prefer an electric one. It plugs into the wall and starts with the push of a button. No muss no fuss. I’m sure it would be much harder to start a gas powered one after it had been sitting idle for years. Gas powered lawn mowers are like that.

I only attempted to do about half of the cleanup work that needed to be done. I know my limitations. I haven’t attempted the really big tree limb yet. It’s a foot across and is still half way attached ten feet in the air. That’s going to be tricky to get down. Instead I cleaned up the chestnut tree. At least a third of it had come down. I think I made twenty five to thirty trips up to the front near the road dragging branches behind me. There were a lot of branches. They were big too hence me needing the chainsaw to cut them down to a manageable size. But they still weren’t a foot across.

In the middle of this all the chain came off the chain saw. I picked the saw up, turned it on, went to cut, and it wouldn’t cut the wood. I looked down and there was the chain on the ground. I figured it was time to figure out how to put a chain on a chainsaw. It turned out to be fairly easy. Of course the first thing I did was to unplug it. After that it was simple to spot the big nut on the base of the blade. It’s only an eight inch saw. I removed the nut, slipped the blade off, put the chain back around the blade in the groove, put the blade back in place, and tightened the nut. It all went smoothly until I went to cut and it wouldn’t. Turned out that I put the chain on backwards. Whoops! I repeated the process and got things right.

That saw saved me a lot of work. I’m tired just from hauling the branches but if I had cut them too I’m be much worse off. Using a hand saw is a lot of work. Two days after the storm I used the hand saw a little bit and it was tiring. Being that the chain saw is electric I didn’t want to drag out the extension cord when snow was on the ground. I only meant to make one or two cuts but one thing leads to another and it ended up being ten or twelve cuts. With a hand saw it’s real important to be at the optimal angle and that doesn’t always happen. It’s real annoying. And tiring. I must have made a hundred cuts with the chain saw today on branches from an inch to five inches thick. Those five inch branches would have been a nightmare to cut through by hand.

One other thing I had to cut through this week, though not with a chain saw, was my package of mylar sleeves. Most people are familiar with mylar sleeves as the clear plastic bags that someone would put comic books or even old LP record albums in. I do put my comics in them but this package was mainly filled with the “Map Size” mylar sleeves.

Map sleeves are about 26 x 36 inches. That’s a big sleeve and it also has to be shipped flat so it was shipped to me in a box that was just a little bigger than that and a couple of inches thick. But it was the edges of the box that I had to cut through. Or at least I had to cut through the copious amount of tape that held them on. It was packed really well and since they didn’t want the edges of the sleeves to get smashed. The box’s edges were reinforced with extra cardboard that was bent around all four sides of the box and taped on. I’m telling you it took me fifteen minutes to open that box. But the sleeves were all in good shape.

I don’t actually put maps in my map sleeves. I use them for the large photo collages that I make. The photos tend to run around 20 x 30 inches and I mount them on an even larger piece of matt board. I then slip the whole shebang into a giant sleeve of mylar and I don’t have to worry about the photo getting scratched up. I don’t do a lot of photos that big so an order of ten sleeves, for about $60, lasts me for a couple of years. I’ve been known to double up photos in sleeves sometimes too. They’re not cheap after all.