Category Archives for Shrubs & Trees

It’s that time of year…

November 17, 2007

No, I’m not talking about the time of year for Thanksgiving or Christmas, though it certainly is the season for those also! But here on the farm it’s also time for the yearly bloom of my ‘Winter Star’ Camellia…
I hope to get some better pictures when more of the buds have opened!

The Farmer Turns Lumberjack

September 4, 2007

I mentioned a few days ago that The Farmer bought a new chainsaw. Naturally, he had to test it out. He chose a tree in the front yard as his first victim. This tree had gotten progressively worse for a long time. Every year there were fewer and fewer limbs with green leaves as the tree got deader and deader.

There were a few problems with this project, however. On one side of the tree was a fence. Behind and to the other side were more trees. Most importantly, our house was in front of the tree, and worse, the tree was leaning in towards it. Therefore, the problem was to get the tree down without smashing the fence, or inflicting damage to the house.

The Farmer thought he had it all figured out. He put one rope on the tree he wanted downed, and another rope on a second tree behind it, then connected them with a winch. The theory being, of course, that once he had the tree sawed almost in two, he could tighten the winch and make the tree fall AWAY from the house.

Of course theories don’t always prove out exactly as expected.

The Farmer turned lumberjack had the right idea. He cut a wedge out of the tree on the side he wanted it to fall.

Then he sawed almost completely through the other side. Next, he started winching (not the pirate type of wenching, mind you, but the cranking a handle kind of winching).
Here’s where the trouble began. The ropes had stretched out, so even after all the cable was winched back onto the spool, the tree wasn’t leaning far enough in the right direction to fall down. However, if the cable on the spool was loosened to allow the winch to be repositioned, the tree leaned dangerously towards the house.

A pretty problem indeed!

Being mechanically minded, The Farmer decided to go get his tractor to keep the tree propped up long enough to loosen the ropes and shorten the length, then reattach the winch and start cranking the cable tight again.

Unfortunately, the tractor didn’t cooperate. It had a dead battery, so naturally wouldn’t start and couldn’t be moved to where the tree was. The Farmer was in a fix all right. It takes something pretty big to hold a tree in place.

At last, The Farmer decided he didn’t have anything to lose by finally trying his assistant’s suggestion. (It’s an unwritten rule that men cannot act on a woman’s suggestion until she has repeated it at least three times, and they have tried at least one idea of their own, and preferably two or three.)

The suggestion? Connect another piece of rope to the anchor tree, thread it through the loop at the end of the rope attached to the sawed-upon tree, then secure it back to the anchor tree, thereby keeping the leaning tree from falling on the house. That allowed The Farmer to attach the winch to a shorter piece of rope so he could tighten it up more and get the tree falling in the desired direction.
Once all that was accomplished, the project moved forward again. The tree started to fall in the right direction, but the upper branches caught in the tree beside it. The branches were dead, but still fairly sturdy.

Finally, after a little more judicious sawing, and some resounding thumps with a pry bar, the tree fell in a serious of crashes of trunk, then several big limbs.

I stopped the camera just a little too soon and missed The Farmer saying,
“At least everything missed me!”

The Farmer was lucky to survive his lumberjack experience, as one of the dead limbs caught in the tree barely missed landing right on top of his head when it finally dropped. You can see the force of the landing by how the log is driven deep in the dirt.

I don’t think even The Farmer’s head would have been hard enough to withstand that! I guess his guardian angel must have been looking after him, allowing him to walk away unscathed.

Just another day in the life of The Farmer turned Lumberjack.