Back to the safety of topics OTG…

……………quasi political/economic/philosophical ranting (no matter how satisfying it is for me) is not a popular read it seems. Observations regarding Karl Marx and idiocy reinterpreted floated like a lead balloon. One dear reader even questioned my mental health……

So, here we go . . . back to the more familiar . . . Sal saw a few logs floating by and got the itch. And it needed scratching. Bad.

Log Dog – The Steel Kind

Errant logs have been fewer this year. There simply are not as many ‘floaters’ floating by and what few there are were of pretty poor quality. We were down on our logs. So Sal’s senses were piqued, her antennae tuned and she was Sal-the-Super-Salvager waiting to pounce if something came along. Upon seeing two likely stove-fillers, she was gone in a blur of jackets, ropes, hammers and dogs (the steel kind and the furry kind). My intrepid salvage crew of three were in the boat and zooming out before I knew they were even gone!

Log Dog – The Furry Kind

She had to navigate a veritable morass of wood debris out in the channel to find the two good logs but she succeeded, drove two steel dogs in them and attached the tow ropes. Then, with two furry dogs watching them follow aft, she slowly towed her prizes back to the ‘sorting yard’.

And it is there that our oft-told log salvaging story gets a bit more interesting……

Sal manoeuvred two twenty-five foot long, 10 – to 12 inch diameter logs behind her 17′ long boat (with an unruly crew jumping and wagging and getting in the way) into the lagoon that fills with water at high tide and goes dry by mid-tide. It was high tide. She drifted in slowly.

The goal is to creep the boat and the salvage forward so as to keep the logs behind the boat as she aims for the shore looking for a good rock or cleft upon which to alight. Sal nudged the bow gently into one such convenient ledge and quickly danced over the furry dogs and untied the two logs. Then, walking lightly along the 4″ inch wide gunwale, she moved forward to the bow with logs in tow. That is not easy unless you weigh much less than say, I do. I tend to tip the boat almost over.

Then she stepped lady-like to the shore with both lines and quickly tied them off to a hook, other fixed-in-place log or a nearby tree. Meanwhile, the boat floated ever-so-slightly higher when she stepped off and that freed it from the ledge and it started to float away. Finished securing her prizes, Sal nimbly danced back across the rocks and simply long-and-deftly ballet-stepped back to the bow. Good balance. A minute later, she was back in the captain’s seat with the crew acknowledging her skills and good fortune with some well placed licks and an enthusiasm of tails.

Ms Nimble Salvager is north of 70.

And, well, so am I. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that I was rather well south of 80 but, really, who’s counting? I mention it because the next day, we all went down the hill to the lagoon with my chainsaw and cut those previously gathered (16) logs into thirty two winch-liftable lengths.

Of course, the chainsaw required servicing before I went down (despite having serviced it in late Fall). It seems I did not compressed-air-pressure clean the insides and, with winter moisture, the fine sawdust that gets everywhere absorbed enough moisture to form a kind-of dust-concrete that stuck to and limited the controls. A half hour later that was rectified and off we went.

Yes, the dogs came, too.

When logs come and get tied up, the do not just sit where they were placed. They move around with each turn of the tide. Since we ‘collect’ over time and do not address our stash until there is enough to warrant the work, the logs ended up all akimbo on the shore. Some are perched on rocks, some are laying on others and all are on slimy rocks and mud. If any are on an algae covered rock, they are likely to be left there until later because algae-covered granite is treacherously slippery and the slip is always followed by a hard and painful fall onto other rocks, logs and dogs.

But, with judicious choosing, planning and cutting, we got all but one yesterday. The lone survivor will meet it’s division soon enough. We still have time. Yesterday was the first day of Spring.

19 thoughts on “Back to the safety of topics OTG…

  1. Hey brother, I’m noticing the lack of drift logs with concern. I have enough on my beach for next winter, but only have two potential big ones(so big that John T will be required to pull them off the rocks) in reserve. I looked at buying an Anthracite coal stove and while they are available I can not buy coal of any kind in Bc. It all goes overseas so wood remains the only affordable heat. On that note I’m leaving my quite bay(in the park that I have been requested to vacate) heading home within two weeks to start sawing, splitting, stacking in little boat, to move it to big boat, to drop it in the hold so I can stack it ready to burn. I touch the same piece of wood 9 times before I get any heat benefit.
    It would be way nice if the Government would run a power cable to every little island as they did to most of the lakes in Ontario but that would mean that we westerners are equal to our government as our eastern brethren. (I will not be holding my breath).
    Love your spring flowers!
    So envious of nimble Sally!


    • Yep. Wood-getting never seems to end. But it used to be easier to gather the raw materials. There were logs everywhere. Nowadays, not so much. It might be that we just have more peeps a’gathering but I think it is less loggers a’logging or, maybe better put, loggers logging more efficiently. That little clear-cut down the way did not release a single bit of fiber the entire time they logged it. Everything was taken.
      You’ll be interested to learn that Hugh went after coal a few years back – same disappointment. Weird, too, since there is coal all over Vancouver Island. Nanaimo was built on it. I suspect that Cumberland still has some, too.
      I asked ol’ Sal, “So, what are ya gonna do ten years from now?” “Go get logs, of course. Why”? “Well, you’ll be 81 dancing on ledges with logs…”. “Yes, I will. So, what’s your point?”


  2. Impressed with Sally’s energy and skills and yours of course. I wondered about our supply of logs going forward. They seemed to be dwindling in the Fall.
    I’m jealous of the beautiful daffodils as our snow banks mean it will be weeks before we see their cheery faces.


    • Sal’s energy is a phenomena of some kind. She used to get up at 6:30 and go like a train, non-stop until 9:00 pm and then crash. Now she gets up at 8:00 and goes just like the same express train she has always been but pulls into the station now at 7:00 – ish. Same train. Same passengers (me and dogs) and just as many goods carried. Only difference is a bit shorter day. I am the station attendant. I keep watch.


  3. Sorry for not replying on your previous post. We just adopted our second dog, so last days were a bit hectic.
    Any reason you can think of why there are fewer logs?
    I thought these logs were “stray logs” from big wood cutting operations
    So there is less wood cut in the area, or the people are doing a more efficient job in cutting and transporting the logs?
    Is it an option to cut extra wood on your plot of land?
    Job well done by Sal, I know what it is like to have 2 young dogs “helping” out and getting in the way (especially on a small boat) when chores need to be done


    • Our entire area has been well-logged so maybe they are just dwindling down but I think it is that more and more all kinds of wood are being better utilized. Crooked trees that got felled were ‘let free’ but now not so much…that kind of thing. Plus the industry uses fewer log booms and tugs. Towing booms used to create escapees. There are now so many fewer ‘free logs’ that there are now almost no more log salvagers. Maybe none now. Cutting our own trees is an option but a rather dangerous and hard work option. The hardest part is falling a tree, cutting it up and getting it to the sea. Floating it isn’t hard. Hauling it back up on land is difficult and from there, all wood cutting work is the same. By salvaging logs we save half the work. I’d like to keep it that way.


  4. WordPress only permits me to blog occasionally. The other times I might as well babble to the wind. It seems sometimes it recognizes my password, other times not. 🤷🏻‍♂️?
    I sympathize with your lack o logs. They also become more elusive with age. The gleaner’s age, that is.
    I can relate to Scott’s handling, at least 9 times, and that doesn’t include the final disposal of ashes.
    Nice ‘flares’. Mine are still under a foot of snow! Lots of sunshine = -7 nights, +10 days. It’s just a matter of time. 🤫


    • The log issue may get worse. Looks like it will. But I hope not. Those daffs do look nice after months of dreary weather. But the solar panels are also blooming…we have power! Spring is very welcome.


  5. In your log-gathering sorties, are there any species you reject?

    From reading over the years various monographs and periodicals about OTG living, homesteading, heating with wood, etc., I am aware there are some purists who study the BTU per cord charts and eschew certain species. Locally, for example, I have heard some express disdain for hemlock, cedar and alder. I think, for them, it’s Douglas fir, arbutus, maple, or bust. I have never seen much arbutus or maple floating about among the Discovery Islands.

    I have also read in some of those same places the advice to “burn what God gives you”. If you are on God’s good side, I suppose there’s an endless supply of preferred species drifting by.

    Also, most driftwood seems to have lost its bark (and maybe its bite). That, to me, would represent a challenge in making an identification of species from afar, necessitating one to take to the longboats to go out and have a close look. Even then, I am not always sure of what I am looking at when I see a naked log. Not that it concerns me, since, in my case, I have the luxury of being able to drive up to my quarry. Just an admission of a lacuna in my wood species knowledge.


  6. There is a lot written about wood and how to burn it. And, for me, most of it is a waste of time to even consider save for Cottonwood. I eschew Cottonwood. Too heavy. Too wet. I’ll take anything else, really. Fir and Hemlock are the go-to woods of preference for lazy-buttheads like myself because they give off the most BTUs and are straight grained. Fir is better than Hemlock but the difference is negligible. They both stack well. Our local Coastal Pines burn hot but also rather quickly and are a bi**h to split. Cedar, of course, is only used for kindling but is prized for that. All that I just wrote is somewhat academic….what floats (and is between 8 and 12 inches in diameter) by is 60% of the decision….it is just that Hemlock and Fir is what mostly floats by…so that works out just fine. Experts hate ‘saltwater’ logs and claim (correctly) that the salt eats your stove out. Our stove is over 15 years old but the innards have been replaced twice already and the baffles go out even faster than the internal rails and such. Salt wood eats baffles like they are potato chips. So, why do it? Because floaters are easier to manage. Logs in the forest are twice the work and – this is the salient point – I have to float logs to my location and saltwater will infuse a log almost instantly. Either way, I am gonna have salty wood. So, I am a ‘burn-what-God-gives-ya’ kinda guy.


      • Cedar is my favourite wood. It’s great! It is good for anything that needs to resist the weather because it is rot resistant. Siding for houses, planking for boats, even decking. And it is even kinda strong – for most applications – not for long load bearing spans. But it is ‘light’ and not as strong as a good Fir board which I have encountered that was so hard it took forever to cut it. Cedar is, today, more valuable than Fir or Hemlock because we have ‘mono-cultured’ so much of our forests it is getting more rare. We use it for kindling because the Cedar we find is unmerchantable – meaning the logging companies either lost it or it was so flawed they left it on the ground. It splits really easily (you can make shakes from it) and it has a lot of natural oils. Cedar will light a fire without paper or other accelerant. It just burns easily. Nothing wrong with Cedar but it has its own distinct characteristics.


      • Many do not like cedar, apart from a kindling wood, saying it burns too fast and produces too little heat. I burn some, but not a lot. Okay in the kitchen cookstove, particularly if a quick, hot fire is desired. It will produce a lot of flame and will heat the cooking surface immediately above quite quickly, but I find it less than ideal for a sustained, hot fire, the kind you want to cook a roast in the oven.

        I have an open fireplace and I don’t burn much cedar in it. It burns somewhat “explosively”. Lots of loud pops and crackles that manage to send a shower of sparks, some of which may find there way through the fire screen and onto the wood floor.

        Not sure if the link below will work on Dave’s blog, but it’s a link to a very short video I made to show my cat to someone. The cat was less than completely willing. But the one cedar log in the fire was willing to show off how much noise it could make. I have moved it, at least for now, to the “unlisted” category on Youtube. If that was a fire of cedar only, it would sound like the 4th of July in the living room. However, once it burns down a bit, it also quiets down.

        As well, not sure I have seen anyone post a link to anything here before, so I expect Dave will delete it if it offends.


      • Nothing wrong with cedar. I use it as kindling and when I want a quick, hot fire in the cookstove. It will quickly heat the cooking surface above. Less than ideal for a more enduring fire that needs less stoking, say if you want to cook a big turkey in the oven.

        Also, I avoid it for use in the open fireplace. Makes a lot of noise and throws sparks, some of which can manage to sneak through the fire screen and land on the wood floor. And no, I don’t like glass doors on a fireplace. I tried posting a link to a 24-second Youtube video illustrating the explosive factor, but, as I suspected (having never seen one on Dave’s blog before) links are not allowed. The post disappeared as quickly as posted.


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