Nicole Maple Coenen is one bad ass woodswoman. Much like an armchair quarterback it’s sometimes hard to know exactly how exhausting a task is until you actually “pad up.” Well….after being motivated by Nicole Coenen’s woodworking videos, I padded up.
We own some land south of Nashville called Jackson Knob. It’s a little wooded retreat on a hill where we like to brainstorm, write, record, etc.
After watching one of Nicole’s videos where she cracks a 2 foot log in half like she’s snapping a toothpick, I thought, “You know what…I think it’s time I clear some of the woods at the Knob….with an ax.” First off…I don’t think people realize just how heavy an ax is. I was already cramping up and I had only carried the ax to the Home Depot checkout. While at check out I noticed some sunflower seeds….a giant plug of dip would have been the cooler move, but the last time I tried dip in high school, I turned green. For some reason sunflower seeds sounded like they go hand in and with my new woodworking project. I envisioned myself hoisting my new ax overhead with a cheek full of seeds. Coming down on the log as my bicep veins ripple with heightened blood flow like a sea of sex appeal. As the log splits and shards of wood staple to the sweat on my brow, I turn left and spit the remains of a perfectly executed seed removal, discharged from it’s cockpit.
I was a little too excited so I decided to bust out the seeds in my car. In hindsight, I should have closed my hindsight window….as in, as soon as I spit a half broken seed out my drivers side window, the force of the wind while driving would zip the shell back into my car through the back window. I had no idea until I got to Jackson Knob and I had a backseat full of sunflower seeds. So the first hour of my lumber jack debut was spent cleaning out my car. Then I had to walk about 200 yards up hill with my new ax. By the time I got up the hill and picked out my first victim… I was famished.
There was a dead tree that was already half way bent over. Just waiting for an ax f*cking. I put a plug of sunflower seeds in my mouth just like I had envisioned and picked a good spot to take my first whack. “This is it….after today I could be the next Nicole Coenen”……the ax was hoisted overhead and came down with a force that Thor would be proud of. An explosion occurred that I had no anticipated. When I made contact with the wood I expected a little more give, but it was like hitting a piece of concrete. So the vibration jarred my sunflower seeds to the only place in my mouth that had space …..down my throat. The next 7 minutes were spent populating the forest with sunflowers. It should be beautiful this time next year. As far as the log…not a damn thing happened. After about 9 wacks I realized I needed to angle the ax so that it shaves the tree down rather than trying to split it down the middle. Then about 50 wacks in….or as I liked to call it, cardiac arrest, I realized that it’s not really about using your strength to hammer down on the log. It’s more about the weight of the ax coming down and doing the work. You don’t know the true meaning of exhaustion until you’ve felt a bead of sweat tickle your ass crack.
As I was walking down the hill dragging the ax with my now future arthritic hands I noticed 1 dead tree that needed to go. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to start chopping it down about 3 feet above ground level. I wanted to be able to see when it was falling over to get out of the way quickly. Long story very very short….this little bitch did not want to come down. I thought for sure it was going to crumble with one solid hit, but you can see from the picture below that I was whittling it down to a toothpick but it still wouldn’t fall!
Nicole already had my respect, but good grief!!! She is a monster! Her bio even said that she showcases woodchopping and fitness. I guess I didn’t realized that it was the same thing!! 🙂 If Duluth Trading Company ever dabbles in women’s wear, Nicole should be their lumberjill spokeswoman!
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