After four birches on the property of his Skootamatta Lake island met their natural demise, Andy Tamas decided “they were too good to let go for firewood.” Instead of sending them up in smoke, he’d make some of the old fellas part of an addition he’d been building on his Blake Island abode.
He cut the felled trees into three-metre lengths, hoping to skid them down to the water for transport to the mainland and on to the local mill. But when he wrapped a chain around one log and used a come-along affixed to a tree to move it, “it got stuck on every root and rock that the island could manifest,” laughs Tamas.
Rather than admit defeat, he adapted one of six metre-long barrels he’d hoarded for a floating dock that was never realized. “Those barrels were just collecting dust,” says Tamas. “And insults. Putting at least one of them to use could very well have extended the longevity of my marriage.” Using a reciprocating saw, he cut off two-thirds of the barrel, keeping the long end, which he slipped over the rough end of the log as an improvised skidding cone. Then he affixed the chain around the birch as before, passed it through a hole in the barrel’s bottom, and rigged up the come-along. “It worked like a dream the first time I tried it,” says Tamas, who, rather than lugging more logs out this summer, will be nailing down the old ones as freshly milled tongue-and-groove flooring in his cottage addition.