by Texas Homesteader
*contains an affiliate link
The first week of December, Northeast Texas was hit with a whammy of a winter storm. Some areas got snow, some got sleet, still others got rain. We got ICE and lots of it. Our ranch was hit hard and the ice accumulation was so heavy that we listened fearfully in the dark while many trees came crashing down all night long as the storm raged on. The next morning at first light we tentatively stepped out into what looked like an icy war zone.
The damage was severe, power was out and trees had collapsed everywhere including along our county road – completely blocking it off. With only half of our road paved and the other half dirt we knew as soon as the ground started to thaw we would be stuck for the duration. (We’ve begged our county commissioner for years to finish paving that tiny strip of our road but that’s a story for another time…)
RancherMan tried to help by firing up the tractor & attempting to move the heavy ice-laden trees with the front-end loader. But even with this equipment it was just too much and he was unsuccessful. Then a wonderful thing happened – although there are only 3 houses on our road, we all gathered with chainsaws & the tractor. By banding together we were successful in finally clearing the street. Even the kids pitched in pulling frozen cut limbs off the road! What a wonderful warming sense of community I felt.
Now what? Everyone in town was affected with large limbs and even whole trees down. In such a small town where will all this debris go? Thankfully the local Rodeo was also willing to help and they opened up a large lot for people to bring their branches and brush during the massive cleanup. As trailer load after trailer load was brought to the rodeo grounds and unloaded, a bulldozer compacted the debris into a huge pile and it was burned. By the time that pile was burned, much more debris had been dropped off and the procedure started again and again. They left their lot open for a month, offering citizens a place to take all those limbs. THANK YOU!
The local High School was also willing to step up. A program was implemented where several students went throughout the community to assist those citizens that needed help cleaning up all these limbs. Older folks that weren’t physically able to do such strenuous work or single moms with no access to chainsaws or trailers, or just citizens that didn’t know what else to do. What a blessing! I’m so proud of the way our city banded together to help each other in this time of great need. Isn’t that what a community is all about?
Now over a month since that frightening day in December, the cleanup continues on our homestead & we have been working hard to clean up the mess left behind. Some of the damaged trees are large Bois D’Arc trees, also known as Ironwood trees. They’re so solid that they’re rot resistant and are much valued for use in posts for buildings or fences but their density makes them brutal on a chainsaw’s chain.
Thankfully RancherMan was able to purchase an inexpensive *Electric Chain Saw Sharpener. He was surprised at how quickly & easily it sharpened a dull blade, even noting that the chain seemed sharper than it was when it was new. All I know is it kept us from having to have our chains professionally sharpened or replacing them prematurely.
So with these tools at our disposal we continue the herculean task at hand – cleaning up our property. At this rate we should be done in a decade or so! LOL I’m considering it my exercise program and it’s quite a workout indeed.
We are hauling packed trailer loads of large limbs to a burn pile in one of our pastures. There’s usually a small burn pile being built in this pasture anyway since each spring we celebrate another year on our ranch by having a large family gathering with games, a cookout & hayride ending with a bonfire at dusk. Yep, the bonfire’s going to be a doozy this year!
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