An alternate title could be Over Our Heads. Yesterday, we were playing in the trees. Cutting one down. Specifically the biggest tree on our property, the locust seen below.
In a way, we’re sad to see if go. We’re fans of trees, having planted 18 at our first house. Before you start hating me for cutting down a mature tree, listen to the reasons. One, the tree is too close to the house; about 10 feet. Two, this tree is big, and hasn’t reached full size. And three, the tree’s roots are too high up, so excavating would have killed the tree. Because the tree is so close to the house and we can’t get a lift up there, it was a bit tricky to cut down. Having a lift would mean starting from the top, cutting small pieces off at a time. Ben has cut down about 20 large trees at the apartment complex he works for without any problems. This smaller (compared to the large cottonwood trees at his work) should be easy enough.
The boys and I watched from the house as Ben notched out the first limb, tied a rope to it, and cut through while Handy Sammy pulled to make sure it landed safely.
Easy and worked like a charm. But that was the first branch. The one furthest away from the house. See that large center branch? It is a beast. The guys assumed it would be easy because the first one went so well. Following the same process, they started working on the biggest branch. And then it got complicated. The branch was heavy and naturally wanted to fall toward the house, despite the notch Ben cut. In fact, it started pinching the chain saw. Luckily, Ben’s tree cutting experience warned him this could get ugly. So he stopped cutting and left the chain saw in place, effectively preventing the branch from falling on the house.
Any time Ben’s working on something like this, I’m a nervous, anxious mess. First and foremost, I’m concerned for his safety. This time I worried about the house, too. Not knowing exactly what was going on, I asked if I could help. Ben
yelled at told me to get more rope. That’s when I knew this was serious and wasn’t going as planned. Kind of how you know a three a.m. call isn’t going to be good news. And I thought we were in over our heads.
I found tow straps in the truck. Sam and I looped the straps around our bodies, pulling on the limb with all our weight. Ben tied the saw to another branch (so it wouldn’t fall to the ground or on him) and pushed the branch while praying for it to fall the right way. After several extremely tense (both physically and mentally) minutes, we got the branch down, safely in the yard. Whew, what a moment of relief. I may have gotten misty eyed knowing everything was okay. Of course I have no pictures of this, but you can see that branch on the ground in the picture below.
The last two limbs went just as smoothly as the first. And then time for clean up. Ben cut the limbs in manageable, fire-place sized pieces. Can I add he looked mighty fine while doing so? Because he did, safety glasses and all.
Smaller branches are in the yard waste bin, ready for pick up.
Between cutting the tree, Ben was loading more dirt for Craigslisters to haul away. Two birds, one stone. We’ve still got the stump to deal with. The plan is to dig out a little more around the base using the bobcat, then pull on it to hopefully get the majority of the roots.
So that’s our (not so) little tree cutting adventure. Definitely stressful, but we’re glad to be done.
How was your weekend? What did you do? Have you cut down a tree? Did it go smoothly? Or with a little bump in the road?