Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And the Tree Came Down

Although the rain in the morning made for some soggy conditions, it dried enough by early afternoon to tackle the dead tree.

It needed to come down as it was becoming green with vines and would soon come down on its own and at a time when we least needed it to wind up in the yard. So off with my chainsaw I went, assisted by Chris and Ethan to fell the tree. It seemed a simple task.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

I surveyed the tree and determined which direction it should fall--not being straight there was an element of deciding the center of gravity and which direction was the natural direction for it to fall. That direction seemed good to me--so there was no need for ropes or cables to attempt to direct the tree to another location. I should have surveyed the scene a bit better.

The chainsaw started and ran better than it has in a long time. I tore into the tree making the notch to help ensure the direction of fall.

Then the chainsaw blade got dull. Ugh! I was making a lot of smoke--which had a nice sweet burning wood odor to it, but not cutting a lot of wood.  Off to the garage to change the blade. Yes, I have five blades--but after this blade change I have only one more sharp one. It is time to go off to get the group sharpened again.

After the delay--and the blade was really hot, too hot, it was back to the tree. I finished the notch and then began work on cutting the tree down.

The tree began falling--in exactly the right direction and then the upper branches became caught on another tree. Not a good situation. How to get the tree down.

Use a rope! Great idea. Off to the garage for a rope. After a few minutes the upper limb was roped and we began to pull on the limb to move the tree. Nothing.

What next?

The winch, of course! Thank goodness I have a hand winch. Off to the garage again.

The cable was too short to be of any value. Wait--the tow cable. Back to the garage.

We finally got the tow cable secured to the offending limb and hooked to the winch secured to a nearby unsuspecting tree and began to slowly pull the limb away to allow the tree to continue to fall.

Wait--another tree--a smaller one was now hanging up the entire process. The chainsaw made quick work of this obstacle and then it was back to the winch. We should have taken a picture of this incredible scene--a winch, a tow cable, a tree and a rope--but we didn't.

The three finally succumbed to the force of the winch and fell to the ground, whereupon, I began cutting it into firewood for next winter. Already seasoned, I love the smell of the wood as it is cut.

Success--I was totally drenched in sweat, but survived the project without major injury.

I am going to hire someone next time I need to fell a tree!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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