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Logging with a donkey

Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9121
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
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We had a few trees blow down earlier this year, and some of them were blocking the track to a neighbour's bit of land, so we had to clear them. And, as we'd recently bought donkey a new collar, we pressed her into service.

We don't have a 'full kit', but we do have a collar, a set of chains, a swingle tree and a bit of strong rope.

Here she is in her shiny new collar.

She had to make quite a few trips up and down that track!

This is the knot we used to attach the rope to the log. It's a timber hitch, which will grip the log strongly when it's being pulled but releases immediately when there's no pressure on the rope.

This is why we had to clear it - not much can get through here!

My son took one look at that photo and said 'Oh yeah, that was when I'd fallen backwards over that wall and was climbing back up again. The dead-man switch on the chainsaw works good!" Not the kind of thing to instill confidence in a mother...

Donkey always keeps at least one ear on what's going on behind her.

When she's actually pulling something, the chains aren't in a bad position, but the moment she stops and the weight is off, they tend to end up lying on the floor around her back feet. I really need to make some sort of plough-band to the chain up a bit higher when she's standing still as she tended to step over the chain and get it tangled between her legs.

I'd also love to get my hands on some kind of logging skid - the track was really lumpy and the logs kept getting stuck and I would have to keep making donkey back up a step (and usually over the chain..) and lift the log to release it. I was also cursing my decision to not bring the logging springs with me when I moved here. Poor donkey must have taken a few nasty bumps on her shoulders every time we hit a lump or had to start pulling those logs from a standstill and a suitable spring on the end of each chain would have make it much more comfortable for her.
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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