Friday, 12 March 2010

Going sideways

Felling trees is a bit of a hit and miss affair, for me.

More than once, I have carefully cut the horizontal line facing the direction I want the tree to fall; then the sloping diagonal line that meets the first line and spits out a wooden cheese wedge at my feet; then the second horizontal line from the other side of the tree (stay with me, here)... only to watch the tree fall - exactly - in the wrong direction.

A few times, I've made the same cuts and the tree has fallen - perfectly - where I wanted it.

Today was different. Today, I cut down some of my favourite dead trees (the cold is still with us in the mornings and these trees are very close to the yurt. Why drag wood from 100 yards [metres] away when it's right there looking at you when you open the door?) This is what the tree tops looked like at lunchtime, when I'd only taken a few down:


I don't know why I've always liked them. There's something of the Crown of Sauron about them, I suppose.

Anyway, I did OK. Only one tree went in the opposite direction (I said that could happen). But it didn't hurt the neighbour's fence.

I got to the last tree. The biggest. Probably the tallest. I decided to fell it at 90 degrees to the yurt, for maximum safety. I asked Her Outdoors to leave the yurt, just in case (I said they were close). I made my first cut. Then my diagonal. Then the final cut. The tree started to go.

Me: (SHOUTING - A RARE THING) No! No!

Tree: (SILENT)

It went precisely towards the centre of the yurt. Even a tree surgeon couldn't have planned it better. (I don't need to tell you how inconvenient it would be to have a tree destroy our home, our stuff, the work Her Outdoors is doing, what with the client arriving this afternoon.) There was a great crashing of dead wood and an even greater sigh of relief. It fell short of the door by a few feet.

I wonder if that's where the expression "Going sideways" comes from.

3 comments:

Phil Windsor said...

I've had that problem felling trees too. If they are not too big, once they start to go you can quickly snap the chain guard on the chain saw and lean against the tree with one hand, being ready to leap back - but you have to be careful in case it kicks back. A safer method is to climb as far up the tree as you can (which isn't far if it's dead), attach a rope, and either attach it to another tree or a well-hammered in stake in the direction you want it to travel - even better is to get a few people to pull on the rope, and when the tree starts to go they let go and run! I doesn't sound safe, but I've done that at least a dozen times. A long rope is a must, obviously. If you do this, kickback is more likely, as you're making the tree go in a direction it doesn't want to go.
Enjoying the blog so far! :-) (Except the non-veggie bits, poor bunny! Each to their own I guess!)

Charles Budd said...

Oh, I don't know why that came up as Phil Windsor, that's the email account I use for my crap spoof Twitter account for Phil Windsor! It shouldn't be linked to my gmail account. Hmm curious. Anyway, it's me, Charlie Budd!

Alex Crowe said...

Hey Phil-Charlie. Wilkommen in blog and thanks for the tips.

I was talking to a tree sturgeon the other day and he suggested throwing a bag of sand attached to a rope over a branch and tying that off. Saves climbing up, I guess. But having a dozen or so people around could be very useful around here. If you do know of any, or you have a dozen people cluttering up your place, waiting for something to do, please send them down. I woke up this morning realising how short of time I am, what with a yurt platform to build and top with adobe - it'd be easy if the slope wasn't so fierce - there's a drop of nearly a metre in 18 feet. And it's at the top of the slope, so all rocks and soil need to be carried up in our one wheelbarrow (ah - we're 11 wheelbarrows short).