Is when the sap is dormant, which I will explain for my younger readers is that time of year when the tree is not full of juice. The reason for this is that when the sap or juice is in the wood when cut, it will ferment, bubble and fizzle the same as sweet cider or grape juice will ferment, and the fermentation will take all the "life" out of the lumber and give it a tendency to decay; again to translate for my younger readers, such wood will rot quicker than wood cut at the proper season of the year.
With pine trees, however, this is not always the case, because the pitchy nature of the sap of the pine prevents it from fermenting like beech sap; in fact, the pitch acts as a preservative and mummifies, so to speak, the wood. Pine knots will last for a hundred years lying in the soft, moist ground and for aught I know, longer, because they are fat with pitch and the pitch prevents decay.
Beech when cut in June is unfit for firewood the following winter, but authorities say that the same trees cut in August and left with the branches still on them for twenty or thirty days, will make firmer and "livelier" timber than that cut under any other conditions.
An expert lumberman in ten minutes' time will cut down a hardwood tree one foot in diameter, and it will not take him over four minutes to cut down a softwood tree of the same size.
Before attempting to chop down a tree; in fact, before attempting to chop anything, be careful to see that there are no clothes lines overhead, if you are chopping in your backyard, or if you are chopping in the forests see that there are no vines, twigs, or branches within swing of your axe. By carefully removing all such things you will remove one of the greatest causes of accidents in the wilderness, for as slight a thing as a little twig can deflect, that is, turn, the blade of your axe from its course and cause the loss of a toe, a foot, or even a leg. This is the reason that swamping is the most dangerous part of the lumberman's work.