Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tree Trimming

I'm too old and weak for the lumberjack-drill.

A few years ago, I trimmed branches overhanging the roof and the power lines.  Gary held the ladder; I climbed too high; I wielded the lonnng-handled saw.  Other than some achy muscles on both our parts, there were no mishaps.  And I tell ya, I am still pleased and proud of the results.  Oh yes!!

But I didn't finish the job.  I had no intention of coming into contact with electrical lines.  I didn't even want to go too near the cable lines ... because then I would've been disconnected from the internet ... which would make me pout.

Recently, the landlord next door had trucks in the backyard.  A cherry-picker!  And carts to haul brush and logs!  And lots of chainsaws!  At the end of Day 1, Gary talked to the tree-trimmers about doing some extra work while they were out here with their equipment.  They quoted us a price 1/3 what we'd been quoted a few years ago! (Hey, the benefits of grabbing Mr Muscle while his tools and machines are already in the backyard!)

This tree was my biggest worry.  It grew as a weed, way out in back, bordering the unused meadow, and nobody took it down.  Its branches wove back and forth between the three lines (cable, phone, and electricity).  Without a cherry-picker, there was no way to cut without knocking down lines.

These branches looked like they might be within the realm of possibility.  Maybe.  If I was feeling strong.  And being very very careful.  Tree branches had crawled in odd weavy directions.  If I'd tackled it when we first moved in, the branch may have been small enough to use my pruning saw.  Maybe.  But by now the branch-diameter was too overwhelming for something so high above my head.  And the weight had grown enough that it was no longer merely touching the electrical lines, but was pulling down on them.  Yeah, not my forte when I'm at my best and strongest.  (And I'm not exactly at my best and strongest right now.)

I can't post a picture of the improvement of the first problem.  Because the tree is GONE.  Yes, it's gone.  It's a pile o' logs and nothing more.  No more weaving and dancing and tangling in the electrical lines.  Oh, happy day!

The tree below is what's left of the second problem.  From this direction, it looks like the tree is still too close to the cables.  Well, not really.  There's a nice amount of space.  But what's more important -- what's left are branches that we can trim without destroying power lines, assuming we don't delay too many years.

And this mess is the wild grape vines that have grown up on the scrub-trees.  The grapes took root, grew, climbed, then crawled along the power lines to take over the pole for the power lines and begin spreading out.  These are not on our property, and they've grown unmolested for many years.  The neighbors did give us permission to hack back whatever we choose to cut.

I can see in this picture that the tree-trimmers did pull down a lot of grape vines that were within their reach, or which were engulfing branches that were chopped away. So it's better. But there's a long way to go. 

Job #1: Take down all the 6' weeds/trees that are anywhere near the power lines.  And keep taking them down.  If we murder them when they're small, we won't face huge tree-trimming problems when we're 80.

Job #2: Cutting back the tall grasses so that we can reach the bottom of the grape vines ... without inadvertently stepping on snakes, woodchucks, or whatever else may be living back there.

Job #3:  Whacking off the grape vines and taking a hefty chunk out of the branch.  If the smaller viney guys are disconnected from the strong roots and branches, eventually they'll wither, dry, crumble, and then storms will blow their remains off the cables.  At least, that's my hope.

Job #4: Some day in the future ... begin removing some of those bigger branches that are not a problem now.  They will grow twigs which will eventually becomes branches which will cause new problems.  Maybe one branch per year would be an achievable project?  Starting next year?

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