Monday, December 12, 2011
Waxing Rhapsodic re the Wood Chipper
What can I say about a wood chipper that hasn’t been said before?
They are quiet? I could say that but it would not be true.
Midday through our day of wood chipping I slipped out for a visit to our chiropractor where we discussed the merits of wood chipping, determining that the only thing that could improve the wood chipping experience would be if the machines were silent. That said, our chiropractor pointed out that for certain people (men, boys, half the human race?) one of the pleasures of heavy machinery is the noise factor. Think of ATV’s, motorcycles and anything with its muffler removed. We do wear earplugs when we employ the wood chipper, but they can only do so much and mostly what I cannot hear is anything CSB says to me, such as, Watch out for the huge branch coming your way.
The wood chipper we rented is made by Vermeer, a heavy machinery company named for the Flemish painter of exquisite – and quiet – luminous 17th century interiors. Even when he paints a music lesson, we feel certain that the notes played were soft and that no-one’s eardrums were assaulted.
And then there are the simple pleasures wood chipping: feeding the tree limbs into the hopper; pushing them towards the maw of the grinders (which are very similar to the molinos in a sugar mill, except they do not squeeze out sugar juice); watching the inexorable crushing and shredding of the woody pulp between the grinders; standing back to admire the arc of the finely chipped wood spew from the chute.
I will not mention CSB’s tired and aching limbs the following day.
A few facts to astound friends at your next party:
1. The wood chipper was invented in Germany in 1884 by Peter Jensen, who may or may not be related to the silversmith George Jensen who designed what I think are the loveliest cutlery patterns. Probably not, because Georg was Danish.
2. Between 1992 and 2005 there were 33 deaths by wood chipper in the USA. That statistic does not include the 2007 death of a Los Angeles man. As with the struggle of St Christina of Stommeln against the Devil, the details of death by wood chipper are “of so repulsive a nature that no particulars of it can be given here.”
And then there is the satisfaction of woods that look like woods and not a tornado zone.