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Motivation and staying motivated

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Saiso, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    We own 100+ acres of timber land so next cutting season I’ll be cutting our own firewood, hopefully some for the next winter years, and also plan on cutting/selling some softwood logs to our local mill to make a few bucks to help pay expenses for our future off grid homestead.

    My question to all of you is, how do you get motivated and stay motivated to get out and cut/process wood after 40+ hours a week working (increases significantly when fire season starts)? We also have no power and have 2 kids in a small cabin - Time flies and next thing you know it’s time to go to bed for tomorrow’s day’s work.

    So, for those who work FT and have a family, do you excuse yourself immediately after work to get a couple hours in (would miss supper and kids bed time), do you go after they sleep? Weekends? How many hours do you put on average a week after your 40+ hours regular work?

    I’m learning as I go, we started doing this 3 winters ago and so far, we have the best wood and shelter this year compared to previous years. That said, I’m still behind and have a lot more to do this coming season. I’m currently on a temporary parental leave (retuning April 1st) so I’ve been cutting a little bit this winter too. The only issue with that is it gets very cold (-35 Celsius) with high winds and short days. Our winters also bring us a lot of snow (20-50cm storms) so my woodpile doesn’t take long to be hidden.

    Long story short, how and what do you do to keep motivated when it seems there isn’t 24 hours in a day?

    Thank you! :)
     
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  2. LondonNeil

    LondonNeil Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Easy for me. Desk job, 2 toddlers, busy and much of that time is inside. When I get a pocket of time to be outside I'll take it. If outside and running a saw or swinging an axe then even better, I get exercise and do something satisfyingly productive. It's great to see the wood pile grow and think of the free heat and reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Don't have much time? Don't fret, do what you can and make use of small pockets. I do a lot of 45 minute sessions with the axe once the kids are in need of an evening.
     
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  3. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Noted. Thank you! I’ll try to make use of small pockets like you said, even if it’s loading the truck for the next day or split a couple logs.

    I spend my 40+ hours at work mostly outside doing forest inventories of some sort. Not to say I don’t want to be outside afterwards, but some days I’m pooped.
     
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  4. bowtechmadman

    bowtechmadman Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Have to agree with Neil...small buckets of time will add up quickly. I work min. 45 hrs often as much as 65. Coach youngest daughter's travel softball and travel basketball teams, watch oldest daughter compete in high school bball, vball and soccer. Play co-ed volleyball once a week with wife. Enjoy getting out to hunt/fish whenever time allows and I still manage to put up a minimum of 10-14 full cords of firewood up each year. I also mange to fix dinner every night, b/c my wife works probably more hours than I do. Tired? Who has time to be tired?
    Favorite quote my Dad passed down..."Need something done? Give the job to the busiest person you got, they will find a way"
    Specifically to your question of motivation, that is the inherent desire to provide for your family that pushes me.
     
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  5. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Great read. Thanks!

    Dad passed down a nice quote.
     
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  6. sirbuildalot

    sirbuildalot ArboristSite Guru

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    Good question,

    I think it also should be noted, there's a big difference from working from home and traveling to your full time job.

    As for myself, I'm married with 2 kids. I work 40 hours at my full time job, and 10-15 hours at my part time job. Both of which I have to travel to. I'm usually gone from the house from 5:45 am until 4:30 pm, except for days I go to my second job. I get up, have coffee, load the stove, go to the gym, take a shower at gym, get another coffee and go to work. Finding additional time to do outdoor chores can be challenging. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on time with family. Here are "keys of advice" I can offer.

    * I try to get them to help whenever possible, this enables things to go quicker, gives the kids a work ethic and sense of accomplishment, and teaches them that heat isn't free. It also helps keep me from feeling isolated from the family.

    *Buy equipment that enables you to go as quick as possible. Instead of being that guy who chops wood for an hour each night with an axe, buy a splitter and knock it out in one or two Saturdays. To those who say they cant justify it or afford it, I get it. I personally can and the time I save is worth the extra money spent. Time with my kids and wife is worth more to me than saving money.

    *Do the wood type chores when your off work, but your wife isn't. Whether it be a "sick day", or what have you. That way you won't feel guilty, because they aren't home anyways. If you get, say two weeks of vacation, take a week to actually go on vacation with your family, and use the other week in one day increments and do your stuff around the house.
     
  7. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Thanks! Nice to read :)

    Thank you all for your replies so far. I do get 2 weeks vacation and I can obtain more days off off by choosing time off rather than money.

    Once fire suppression season starts, I’ll probably take some OT money and some time off to do some work at home.

    You guys are all so busy as well so that motivates me by itself. I’ll definitely try and get out whenever I can once my trails open up. Until then, I’ll try to do whatever I can around the cabin once the 4-5 ft of snow melts.
     
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  8. Ryan'smilling

    Ryan'smilling Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hey Matt, good thread. I feel for you guys who have to juggle 40+ hours away from home with a family life, especially young kids.

    I'm very lucky to work at home, though I can't make near as much money as I could by getting a job. Can't have your cake and eat it too, it would seem.

    I'll echo the suggestion to get a good piece of machinery. A larger compact utility tractor with a loader will save you many hours of labor every year. My other suggestion would be to realize when you're working harder than you should be. Of course, having too many projects going at once can be its own problem, but it's good to have a couple things going on. When you realize the snow is too deep or something breaks and you need parts from town, it's good to have another project to work on if you've only got a little more time. If you're working on something and realize you're not making progress, step back, work on something else, and take some time to think about what you need to do differently.
     
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  9. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Hey Ryan! I sometime kind of wish I worked from home, that way I could utilize our land more. Maybe a soon retirement? Although I’ve still got many more years to go..

    You’re right, I’ll get more organized this spring and that way I can prioritize certain projects. Anytime I drive around, I always glance at people’s machinery. Makes a grown man almost cry sometime haha. Soon I’ll try to get us a tractor with a bucket/snowblower to start us off!
     
  10. Trapper_Pete

    Trapper_Pete ArboristSite Operative

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    out door work is harder , when my kids were little I got a lot done between 9pm and 2am. I need more sleep than that now. although it is still no that uncommon to work on things till 12 and be up again at 6.


    I thought as the kids got older they would need less , they now wipe their own butt , but somehow, homework , school drama , extra curriculars , band , guitar , 4-H and the fact they no longer take a 2 hour nap or go to bed at 8pm.
    I am still generally first up last to bed.

    it is hard I have a front porch now 3 years going the outside is all enclosed windows in and it needs insulation and the project is stalled but at a point where it is secure . working 40+ every week , kids, life.

    I still get a lot done even outside by head lamp I got a good one put it on a hard hat and just do it.

    winter is hard it is dark virtually every minute not at work. ice on everything or mountains of snow your endlessly moving snow.

    summer isn't entirely better either , this year it seems like it just wouldn't stop raining , and the mosquitoes would carry you off the second you stepped outside.

    weekends when every I can.
    I have been running out and getting a load of wood now that it is staying light a little longer I can get off work at 4:30 and have a load of wood on and be headed home by 5:45 then split it another night that week.

    I sometimes work early or late and can get some work in then.

    I sometimes take vacation days to go fall trees.

    you only want to fight the weather so hard , if you can hardly walk from tree to tree wait and hit it hard when the snow melts some.

    I went to unload the truck the other night getting ready to pull the truck to the shed everything frozen in ice right now everything takes longer than it should, harder on the body wears me out always walking on ice , I had just finished chiseling the gate out of the ice I thought to myself it's Monday that load can stay on the truck for weight and I have a full week and a busy weekend ahead I shouldn't wear my self out on Monday evening.

    little things add up look at everything your doing in a day see if you can cut or make anything more efficient.

    when the kids were little we sent them to grandparents for the weekend some times and worked hard all weekend long.

    and some times well more like regularly fall asleep sitting upright in a wood chair at the table so try and get enough sleep also.
     
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  11. sirbuildalot

    sirbuildalot ArboristSite Guru

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    Your time will come for toys Saiso,

    For many years I got by with 2wd garden tractors ranging from 20-45 years old. I snow blew or plowed my 1000' driveway, (one time in early Feb. of 2013 my town got 31" from storm Nemo), and I did the entire driveway with a 1971 Sears SS14 with a 39" snowthrower attached. I've also hauled dozens and dozens of 4'x7' trailer loads of firewood out of the woods (21 acres), mowed the lawn, etc. I longed for a bigger tractor, and finally got one in 2017. A Kioti NX4510 with a QA bucket, grapple, and forks. I've also added a 8' snowplow, a 7' landscape rake, 3 point forks, a couple sizes of boxes for said forks, etc.

    I've since also added a Ford 1700 to the mix. I have a lot of machines, but not a lot of time to use them. The addition of the Kioti really made jobs easier and quicker, but of course cost a lot of money. Getting wood now is ten times easier than with the garden tractors, which was ten times easier than a wheelbarrow or cart. If I had to gather and process 7-8 cords a year with zero machinery, I wouldn't be able to burn wood. Id spend all my free time gathering wood. To buy it pre split would defeat the purpose of burning wood for me, and log length around here isn't that cheap either with a lot of the work still needing to be done. Buy the best equipment you can afford and you'll thank yourself, especially with 100 acres.

    Don't think you have to go new either. Used tractors can always be had, many times for cheap money. Check this video out when you get some free time.


    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...165273C9ECE4D30A34D0165273C9ECE4D30&FORM=VIRE
     
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  12. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Awesome, thanks for the reply.
    Hearing everyone’s stories help. A lot.

    Our little Tacoma has a light bar/2 spot lights in front and 2 spot lights in the box - Should help me with those final trips or loading/unloading after children are asleep.
     
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  13. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Sure, I’ll check it out next time I’m on wifi. :)

    Thanks for your story! I did 2 years using mostly pulp hooks. Saw myself yarding 4-8 ft lengths for 200~ meters at a time. Good workout, though. Like you said, truck will be many times better and my first tractor will be many times better than the truck.
     
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  14. bowtechmadman

    bowtechmadman Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I couldn't agree more! I will still remember my youngest (she's 12) when she was like 9 and helping me plant the garden "Dad so this package of beans that is 1.00 will give us beans all summer like last year? What a great way to save money just one can of beans (and they are not very good) costs a dollar at the store." Great life lessons for the kids outside be it helping with wood, gardening, etc...
     
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  15. jrider

    jrider Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Full time job (teaching so when school is in, they are longer than 40 hours but there are lots of times off in my schedule. Have 4 kids total - 1 adopted (14 now) 1 we took in from school because she was in a crappy situation (now 20) and 2 biological (5 and 7) All 4 played sports at some point and one year they all did. Wife is also a teacher. I feed our fireplace and owb plus sell 130 or so cords a year. It's a tough balance. Most Saturday's I devote 4-6 hours to firewood but am usually home by early afternoon. Sunday's I work on wood until they get home from church. Rarely get anything done during the week but sometimes do. I like headlamps...even in summer when it's light out till 9.
     
  16. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Right on! I like the idea of devoting several hours Saturday until early afternoon. My eldest spends every Friday night until Saturday mid-morning then eats, naps. Would work great.

    Thanks
     
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  17. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    I’m cheap and love numbers, that is a great life lesson :)
     
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  18. Tin-knocker

    Tin-knocker ArboristSite Operative

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    I'm not sure of the age of your kids but what I'll do is drag my kids along with me. My oldest (7) usually has no problem helping out. He's just learning how to use a short ax to split and he'll help put wood in the truck or stack wood at the house. The middle one is 3 and she will usually just do her own thing. Playing with salamanders, finding snails or anything else a three year old finds amusing. When I have the chainsaw running I either stick them in the truck or keep them in full view a safe distance away. I try to teach them little lessons when I can. As in how important all the hard work is so that we can stay warm in winter. We make it fun. As soon as the youngest is walking I'm sure I'll take her out there with me too.
    I agree with everyone else. Little bits at a time can still get the job done.
     
  19. cantoo

    cantoo Addicted to ArboristSite

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    IMG_20180605_205631.jpg Without equipment it will be very difficult to get a pile of wood together in a hurry. You might consider making a deal with a neighbour who has a suitable tractor. You go to your lot and get the trees down and cut into suitable sized logs and ready to drag out of the bush. When you have enough ready then rent neighbour to haul the logs to your yard and if possible pay him with logs. With you running chains for him you could get a good pile out in a short amount of time. I have tons of firewood equipment and do 99% of it myself but it didn't start out that way.
     
  20. ChoppyChoppy

    ChoppyChoppy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    It's what I do for a living.

    Sometimes not exactly the highlight of the day to be working, but the other option is to be homeless and be on the welfare.

    During the busy time, about 5 months a year, I put in about 100-120hrs a week. This is pretty easy to do in the summer too, it's light ~22hrs a day.
    Right now we have about 12hrs of light, 7am-7pm.

    40 hrs I dunno if that could be called "full time". That's only ~24% of the available hours in a week. Figure in another ~45hrs a week for sleeping, there's still 50% of a week left for doing things.
     
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