Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Tall Fall

 We were worried about the wind - gusting to over 30 mph yesterday and perhaps 20 mph earlier today - but we decided the sunny day (49°) was too good to pass up. Bob has many trees that need taken down in his woods, especially a handful nearest his house. It was just a week ago that we repaired his roof where limbs fell during a storm and pierced clear through to the attic. Click here to see that event.

 Now, faced with weather about to turn wintry, we felt as though we ought to improve on the long holiday weekend, and get the worst of the dangerous trees down. Bob even bought a new chain saw last weekend in preparation.


 Below is the first tree we tackled. It's one that has been worrying Bob for years. It's thoroughly dead with many high branches just ready to break off and fall. Luckily for us, it had a very slight lean towards his woods, away from the house. We capitalized on that and notched the tree accordingly.

 My first job was to climb the ladder as high as possible and tie a rope to the tree. We used one hundred feet of heavy nylon rope, drug it back into the woods and then, while Bob cut, I pulled as hard as I could. What's my advice for how to get out of the way when you're pulling such a large tree toward you? Run like hell when you see it beginning to topple!

 And topple it did. I hit the ground with a loud thud, sending ponderous vibrations up my legs. How many tons did this tree weigh? Before it fell, Bob told me to scope out where I wanted to run when it began falling. "Know ahead of time where you're going," he said. But when I heard the crack and heard the tree began to topple, I ran directly into the side of a small tree and scraped the side of my face till it bled. Nevertheless, I managed to give the falling behemouth a wide berth.

 This was my view as I yanked on the tree. This is a good way to visualize the height of the tree. When it was lying on the ground, it extended well back into the woods. I can say this: it fell exactly where we planned for it to fall.

 All the trees we dropped were dead - both leafless for some time and partially bark-less. I
am not sure what species of tree it was. But looking at the trunk afterwards, I would guess that it was an ancient walnut. The dark, rich wood speaks of expensive lumber should Bob choose to sell it.

 Fast forward to our fifth tree of the day ... here's Bob celebrating completion of the work. This tree stood in their front yard and had also been dead for many years. The very top looked like pieces have been falling for a long time. It was probably the tallest tree we worked on. By doing it last, we had enough experience to do the job fairly quickly.

 As the tree fell, I ran for cover while Nancy watched from their front porch. The tree nearly covers half the width of their front yard. I think this was yet another nut tree, owing to the dark, fine wood.

 Though we joked about starting business as the Laurel and Hardy Tree Service, we actually take this sort of work very seriously. Large trees produce a great risk to anyone working or living near them. Their weight is incredible and they're often precariously balanced, even crooked, and one has to plan the fall carefully. Bob has plenty of experience with a chain saw while my best qualification is a willingness to try anything.
 We cleaned up the debris from this final tree before I left. Bob's step-son, Michael, joined us for the last hour. The other trees can be worked on as Bob has time.

No comments:

Post a Comment