When I bought this unit I had high hopes and grand aspirations for gleefully turning my brush pile into beautiful, glowing mulch to put around some trees I planted last year. As I giddily drove home to my acreage with this fine chipper in the back of my truck I knew beyond a doubt this machine was going to be a life-altering purchase of vast import. Future generations would look back on this day with reverence as The Day Hippie Got a Chipper and Changed the World. Also I couldn’t help but notice that I was wearing plaid in my wood chipping daydreams. And I had a better beard. Manly, I was. Manly.
I pulled up to my place and backed my truck up to the brush pile. I briefly considered going inside to find a flannel shirt and some suspenders, but I was too eager to play with my new toy. The first thing I noticed is that it seemed to have gained roughly 150 pounds during the trip home. I quickly realized there was no way I was gonna get that thing out of my truck by just picking it up. Hmmm. Manly.
I backed my truck down in the ditch – my thought being that would get the tailgate much closer to the ground and I could simply wheel the chipper out. Instead of hoisting the thing about three and a half feet down I could just lower it down about six inches this way and be on my merry way towards wood chipping nirvana. No problem! This is going to be easy-peasy. No sooner said than done. I’ll just lower it down right here…
So once I got back from the chiropractor, my first action was to kick the spiteful machine right in the tire. I was able to wheel it up out of the ditch and over to the woodpile without further insult to my sacroiliac, grumbling the whole way. Stupid chipper. I paused for a breath, looked at the woodpile, looked at the chipper.
Okay, let’s do this.
I checked the oil and gas, set the choke and throttle, kicked the clutch bar into position, and yanked the beasty to life. Second pull and it was happily chugging away. Things were looking up! I looked at the woodpile and estimated it’d take about twenty minutes to chip it all. Okay… I kicked the clutch bar into the “turn it on” position and grabbed a branch.
This may be the point in the narrative where I admit that I’ve never used a chipper/shredder before. I’ve never even really seen anyone else use one, to be honest. So…
Okay, do I put the branch in the top? Or into the chute doohicky? I’ll go with the top. Okay. Glancing around to make sure none of my neighbors were around, I rather gingerly edged closer to the chipper and kinda sorta half-tossed the branch into the hopper at the top of the machine. Nothing happened. The branch just sat there. I eased closer again, grabbed the top of the branch and kinda jiggled it a
HOLY CRAP! Yowza! I was NOT ready for that! Oh. My. Lord.
I swear a demon reached up out of the chipper, grabbed the branch, and yanked it down into it’s gaping maw with a half second “ZZZXXXKSKKZRRRRRRRRR” – leaving me standing there, stunned, still holding a leaf, sawdust gently swirling in the air…
What the…? Seriously? Did that just happen? I grabbed another branch and eased it into the hopper, then pushed it further in with another branch. “GRRRIZZZZZINK!” The chipper grabbed the branch and devoured it in a heartbeat, leaving naught but a teaspoon of sawdust and an angry echo reverberating through the hills. I snuck around to the other side of the chipper, kicked the clutch bar back out, and very trepidatiously turned the machine off. A wisp of smoke came out of the chute leaving the slightest smell of burning souls in the air.
I’ve heard animals can smell fear. I’m positive if this thing were alive it would have smelled plenty of fear. And possibly a little pee as well.
Pale, shaking, I wheeled the chipper into my garage, where it’s sat ever since. I find myself edging around it whenever I’m in the garage, giving the machine a good six or eight feet of room. It scares me.