James' blog - Wood splitting and dog walking in a wheelchair
Although the rain is hammering away against the window panes of my office now, this morning the sun was shining brightly and despite the air temperature being a little cool it was a great morning to be outside and doing some wood splitting, which is something that traditionally happens during the winter months on a farm.
How, you may ask, do you split wood in a wheelchair with a C6/7 spinal injury? Well it is quite simple really. All you need is the right equipment and the right people and away you go. We are clearing a mature area of woodland and replanting with 100 trees to commemorate the 100 years since the beginning of the 1st World War. Stephen fells the trees and trims and cuts them up ready for splitting and then loads them onto the log splitter, which is a hydraulically powered piece of machinery that pushes the timber against a steel knife thus splitting it into logs. The ram that pushes the wood is operated by a single lever, which I can operate from my chair. It is excellent occupational therapy and it feels wonderful to be outside and doing something useful. The rest of the team are the really important people; my carers who keep me wrapped up and warm, give me a hand when my arms become tired and keep an eye on my dog Zip in case he gets into trouble.
Zip is an eight month old labrador, given to me by my wife to keep me company and to get me away from my office. We go for walks round parts of the farm together and for a dog of his age he is very good. Needless to say this would not be possible without a member of the care team walking with us to keep control of us both. Being on a farm is quite an unusual experience for my carer girls and I have a lovely time boring them silly talking about the weather, the crops, the woods and the other numerous things that go into running a farm. They on the other hand never cease to amaze me with their knowledge of how computers work and printers and iPads and all the stuff that makes the modern world go round.
It seems just possible that spring might be just round the corner; early daffodils are within days of flowering and snowdrops and primroses are beginning to go for it in earnest. But there is still the rest of February to get through before we're in the clear.
Who has given up what for Lent? My resolution is to try and lose some weight by cutting out the glass of wine in the evenings. Actually it seems to be amazingly hard to do, especially as I keep reading articles that say a glass of red is good for you. It used to be an apple a day.
Oh well – onwards and upwards. Zip is becoming bored so I’d better take him for a spin before he starts chewing things. I wish you readers well for another month.