Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Leaners Are Down

Some posts ago, earlier this year, I talked about a leaner tree that I was trying to bring down to the ground. This was at the back of our lot, actually on common POA property. There are three leaners there, or maybe only two since one was bifurcated right at the ground. I took out the smaller of these, about 7 inches diameter, early this year. The bigger one was 12-14 inches diameter. This is the one I wrote about earlier. I cut it all the way through except maybe a 1/4 inch. It fell a little, but a major branch kept it from going to the ground. I sawed on that major branch, but it's up high about at the end of my reach. Let me tell you, that's tough sawing. I had it sawed 3/4 of the way through but the branch gave way a little and close up the sawcut. At that time I just left it.

Why do I want that tree on the ground? It's far a way from the house, not even on my property (though easily visible from the house). My only half-way reasonable answer for that is I want it to come down in the way I want it to so that it doesn't take out a struggling pine tree on the way. We have so few pines around here, with the oaks taking over and crowding out everything, that I work to save the pines. The on-so-good answer is I just wanted to do it. It was my project—kind of like the stump in Shane. It's not that it needed to come down but that I wanted it to come down.

The third tree, a 10 incher that is leaning the other way from the bifurcated pair, can stay or not. I may saw on it through the fall and winter or I may not. It's not as if I don't have outdoor work without worrying about that.

Well, I looked out the back of the house last weekend and saw the leaner was on the ground. Or, not really on the ground, but fallen off its stump. It appears to be wedged between the pine and something, a few feet above the ground; I haven't yet gone down there to look. At least it appears to be at a point where I can say "mission accomplished", with the help of wind and rain.

That brings me to the leaner I haven't talked about, a 8 or 10 inch diameter oak on the wooded lot south of us, the lot that came up at auction but I was unavailable to bid on it that day. This tree was leaning towards our lot. I began sawing on it, got a third of the way through, or maybe half, then thought I'd better check and see if it was tall enough to reach the house when it came down. I used the various methods I learned in boy scouts for determining the height of a tree, and decided it was a little too short to miss the house. But, would it take out another tree on its way down, and that other tree hit the house? That I couldn't tell, so I decided to leave this tree alone for a while. To cut it higher up would take a ladder and much arm extension, and I wasn't interested.

Friday I noticed that this tree had come down as well, again thanks to wind and rain. And to vines, which had grown up the tree, choked it, and perhaps pulled it some. It did not split at my partial cut, but rather fell from the roots, as I feared. The top of the tree landed about eight feet from the house, and it took out a branch or two on the way down but not a tree. So I was right in my assessment. I spent a little time yesterday cutting the top of the tree away. How thick the vines were up there!

Widowmakers. That's what the folks in the Piedmont area of North Carolina called leaning trees. They treated them with respect, but never hesitated to take them down and use them for firewood. Our fireplaces don't burn wood, but I do cut the downed trees and stack them in a woodpile. It seems a worthy thing to do.

So that yard work is done. No, wait, on the lot north of us I see two more leaning trees that seemed straight before. Maybe that will be next year's needless project. Meantime, I shall keep writing my articles. From this blog I will go to MS Word and type the last article in the series of construction contract administration. Then, what? Maybe work on my novel a little. Or read some in a writing book. Or go to Absolute Write and critique a poem. So many paths to take.

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