4 hours on a Friday afternoon

August 17, 2010 at 5:06 pm (Day to Day, News, Pictures, Tree Trouble) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

(To take down a tree. Four hours on a Tuesday just to write about it. Sheesh.)

Programming note: Sorry it took so long to get this up. I am sure all 15 of you have been waiting and wondering, “where the hell is her tree story??” Well, I’ve kind of been busy with extra things I decided to pile on right at the end of my summer. Like motorcycling, school obsessing, and complete body overhauling. I can sum all that up later. But here’s the gripping tale, in it’s entirety and original text with fabulous pictures. Ready, set, go:

Who needs Yoga X when you can stand outside and sweat from heat and stress. I didn’t do jack shit except be nervous about the tree man, he’s awesome! His name is Ken and me and the neighbors all agree that he’s our hero! He makes it look waaaay too easy.  That’s him in the tree.

Let me re-cap our situation: Tree tipped onto the house.

Cut cut cut, with a handsaw. It’s all we could do last Sunday.

It was about 6 inches off the roof and then resting back on it by Monday morning. We bought a chainsaw and tried to do it ourselves. HA. HA. HA.

The roof is steeper and the branch is higher off the roof than I anticipated so…I was no help. We needed a professional.

That’s from the front. Just thought I’d throw it in there for perspective. The tree is still mostly intact. And here’s just one more picture of the crack that cost me all my money. Damn trees.

And this is Friday. It was about 3 o’clock when he started. About 95° with little breeze and the sun was beating down and the branches were getting thinner and thinner. We were hot on the ground. I was standing, obviously, taking pictures, and Ken was in the tree and his 2 friends were providing the muscle and assistance  to get each piece from the sky to the ground. I really have to say thanks to them too, because without them it would not have been possible to do anything. So this pic is already after he took off the one over the house. He basically hopped onto the roof and chainsawed off a couple of feet that he could reach by hand, then climbed the tree, hung out over the roof, tied it off and chopped it down in bite size chunks. There is NO WAY we would have EVER been able to do even that. The heat must have gotten to us because we were crazy for thinking it. Trees are big and scary tall! After he scaled back up the main trunk he chopped chopped off the bothersome “smaller” limbs. You can see some of them jutting off the one limb he is LAYING on.

That’s my second favorite picture. Yeah. Look close. Do you see a blue line? No? Well it’s there, and it’s the only thing holding him to the tree besides his feet on the branch with the spikey hold in his boots. But you can only reach so far over before you have to basically lay across the limb, stretch it out, grab the chainsaw that hanging off a loop on your pants and start, wield and cut with ONE hand. Zip and done. That’s what it looks like from my perspective. He was like a squirrel just moving from branch to branch and making cuts like he was painting a big picture. I took so many pictures with the camera so I hope he doesn’t mind, but it was pretty exciting. Once you get comfortable with the man in the trees and everyone is kind of gelled and working together, it was really moving along. Ken also brought his truck and chipper rig that was parked in front of the house. I got pics of that too. It’s a scary, dangerous, machine. And like my neighbor said, this tree process draws people to the site like a car accident. But they mostly slow down and keep moving.

Well that’s the top. And this is from the side. Every time he cut one branch going up it looked like 2 more were right behind. One over the driveway, one over the house, one hanging over the yard…OH! there’s another one straight up. They’re all loose looking and flappy. But he just keeps climbing. Climbing and cutting. Dropping them, every single one, perfectly in between our houses. Precision targeting. Not one of the limbs touched the house or the wires or the fence or even the gutters. It’s an art form.

That’s from the front because you can see how high he really is. I thought it was an interesting view that you would like too. The tree is, was, tall. Tapered. Flimsy to me. I’m not crawling up there. Ken is in the middle of the picture. In the tree. Directly above the peak of the house. Here’s another look.

Look at all that blue sky! This is the pan out on my fav shot of the day. The one below these words. Ken finished with all the dangling limbs, all the ones that were kind of sticking out in all directions. Then he’s getting ready to drop the final top piece and prepare to work his way down. He’s just standing up there in the tree. Looking so casual. Literally on one leg, one boot spike technically, with the other one crossed over like he’s just chilling at the bar. You can’t beat this kind of cool. He was actually tying ropes and sweating like crazy, but you would never know it from his relaxed posture. (And, just from an arty viewpoint, I think that the colors of the sky and his clothes and safety gear, boots, not to mention the chainsaw, really bring the whole picture together).

OK, let me speed things up. He’s on the way down now. Shimmy, rope, tie off, ready, cut, hang, drop, untie, repeat.

So, as far as I can tell: Go up. Cut everything in your path. Then once you are at the tippy top, start cutting above you and go back down. Makes sense when you see a professional do it. This might be kind of boring to see I guess, but if you’ve had something like a giant, 50 year old tree taken down piece by heavy piece, it’s overly interesting and strangely satisfying. The worry is pretty much gone for his safety because he obviously knows what he’s doing (been doing it for over 20 years) and he makes tree “walking” look like he’s walking around the yard. Then you forget (not really) that he’s up there and then he’s done. Back on the ground and cutting the last huge piece.

Oooh! You can see some chips flying! That final piece was the size of a love-seat.

This is another picture of the last piece with real chainsaw action, just because. If I could carve wood I would have made it into a sofa seat.  We wouldn’t have been able to move it but that’s besides the point. We could have rolled it. How nice it would be to sit in our tree chair on a warm summer night and look up at our tree trunk. No that’s ok. Cut it up please! Thank you. Our chainsaw cannot handle the diameter, which I measured just for you.  33 inches at it’s widest point. Here’s the pic:

Looks good and smells good too. It has a weird open-guts-tree smell. Fresh like in the rain but woodsy and sandy and barky all at the same time. That description doesn’t exactly sound enticing but it’s not bad. We’re all out there smelling the tree. Intervention!

So now we can really move fast with the cleanup process. This is the pile of logs that were laying around.

These are all the branches. I tried to get a good view with lots of debris so you could get a feel for what four hours of tree cutting can really get you.

I am so grateful that the guys cleaned up almost everything. What we had left was alot. Plus, Ken wanted to use the new chipper. And in my need to help and start moving the big backyard pieces to the tree holding area we have now, I sustained my first real working injury. Crap. I was scared too. Right after I picked up one of the bigger pieces, which I lift stuff all the time so I didn’t even think about it, my right middle finger felt immediately numb and fat. It was black and blue and looked seriously pinched and just injured. It was hot and painful, and looked really bad. I’ll admit I got a bit worried. And of course the BF, who is always warning me not to do stupid shit because I don’t have the best insurance, walks up at that moment. I iced it and hoped for the best. And I stopped doing anything. The nurse next door took a look and said it will prob turn a nice black and blue color, but since my circulation was fine, I should just ice and rest it. Man, this forty year old body is killing me! It’s been some days now and it is ok. KNOCK ON WOOD. It never turned real nasty and it seems to have gone back to mostly normal. It’s a weird browny color but I can use it so I’m not complaining. I was even able to finish my motorcycle class using my bum hand. Right hand throttle ya know! FUN! No hand pictures though…they would have been good right after but I never even thought of it! Anyway, this is the chipper below.

Notice the chips flying out the chute end. Nasty going in. Shreds coming out. Makes that movie Fargo seem extra creepy when you have a wood chipper sitting right in front of your house and you see what it can do to tree limbs that are as big as a human leg. Here’s a few more pics from a different angle.

I like that picture because it kind of shows the effort it takes to heave those branches in. Throw and let go. You do not want to be holding onto the branch when the blades grab it. It sucks it in so fast that even standing there watching it over and over you can’t believe it’s so quick. One more for good luck.

I like this one because you can see inside the truck. It was empty when we started. And it’s not nearly full when we were done. Well, when they were done. I was pretty far away actually. Walking around taking pictures. This was before my finger got a boo boo.

And finally, the finished product! Now I have two trees with one trunk, going straight up, looking like they are doing a booty bump. I was joking around that with my luck there will be a terrible lightning storm that night that will hit the first one and take out the second one in a domino effect. Money well spent.

This is post cleanup. The BF and the boy chainsawed what we had left and stacked it all in the holding pile. I cleaned up the small stuff.

And here we are. Right back to where we started from at the beginning of summer. It’s like gaining weight. All plus more. It is obviously my destiny to be the keeper of the trees. Or at least their parts.

That’s everything nicely stacked. Here’s an individual pic of the big logs just cause I like the way they look. All that used to be in the air. Isn’t that amazing?!? I know. It’s been a long day and the kids want to go out and fish for a little while. They have been very understanding in my need to share with my fans.

If anyone needs any wood?? Camping? Fireplace? Carving? Just to have a piece of the story? It’s always here. And anytime I dare to try and get rid of it all, nature provides me with more! It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I was just thinking that even if I had no trees in the yard, cut to the ground, I bet branches from other areas would start showing up, like from the wind. Or tornados would bring them right to me. Well, that’s hopefully too crazy. Incidentally, it’s been dry as a bone around here all last week. Looked like rain. They said it might. Never did. About one hour after Ken was done and cleaned up and everything was in for the night, it stormed. There was thunder. There was lightning. The wind blew. The rain fell. The earth was clean. And it hasn’t rained again since. I’m not trying to say anything in particular. It just seems strange.

This is the last picture. My newly shorn tree posing for the camera. I should make it the first cause it’s so pretty. This is also the end of the story. Thanks for hanging all the way through. Later.

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