Home for the Summer: Banning a birch...Even with our summer of logging – working with a hand saw, a chainsaw, a maul, an electric splitter, even with our time spent stacking and restacking hundreds of logs – we were still left, at the end of our stay, with a big tree problem. Big – as in about sixty feet tall.
By: Jan Kent, Lake County News Chronicle
Even with our summer of logging – working with a hand saw, a chainsaw, a maul, an electric splitter, even with our time spent stacking and restacking hundreds of logs – we were still left, at the end of our stay, with a big tree problem. Big – as in about sixty feet tall.
This birch stood about a yard from one of the cabin walls.
We stared at it. Our friends with much more tree experience stared at it. We stared at it individually and in groups. It had fungus growing from its base (a bad sign, several friends told us), it had a little green at the top (a good sign). It definitely leaned toward the cabin, and its branches hung over the roof — a very bad sign. It had to go, but we weren’t going to be able to make that happen. We had to surrender our silly, city notion that we could do everything that needed doing up here at our North Shore cabin. So we hired a guy who climbs trees.
It was great. Our tree guy arrived with a sidekick, a helmet, a safety harness, many ropes of different colors, a hand saw, a chain saw, lots of energy and agility. He also had a contraption that went from his foot to his knee and had a wicked metal claw that stuck out an inch or so from the side of his leg. And up the tree he went.
Having previously given up the pretense that we were in charge here, we hauled out lawn chairs and got comfortable in the sun with the best seats in the yard. Should have made popcorn.
The tree guy climbed up fifty feet or so and, swaying in the breeze, began trimming off the top branches. At first, on the smaller ones, he used the hand saw. When he was down to the fatter branches he hauled up the chainsaw, suspended from his belt by a rope, and fired that up. The branches he tossed clear of the cabin, his partner, us and the dog.
Then he started with the rope tricks. He tied a blue rope around the trunk of the tree about three feet from the top and pulled the rope tight over the nub of a branch he had cut. When he had sawed almost through the trunk he gave it a skillful nudge and it broke off and hung on the rope. All that was left to do was to lower it to his partner on the ground.
Meanwhile, on the ground, Les and I chatted and observed and speculated and were useless, if not annoying. But this was all happening on our dime, so we had decided to enjoy it.
Another four or five feet of the trunk was taken down in the same manner, and then the tree climber fastened a red rope to the top of what remained of the tree and scrambled back down to the ground. A few expert wedges cut into the birch, some pulling on the red rope, a chainsaw cut through the trunk, and the former mighty birch lay on the ground just where it was supposed to.
And then it was over – the tree pieces left for us, as arranged, to deal with. We wrote the check and put away the lawn chairs and both agreed that the afternoon’s performance was better than many movies we had spent good money to see.