Monday, June 2, 2014


The past few weeks have been pretty busy. Between the softball practices, the games, Girls Scouts, and an overnight work trip to Utica we have begun to get the yard the way we want it. Although we're not really sure how we want it. One thing we were sure of was that the trees lining one side of out lot had to go.

Aside from being overgrown, about half of them only had branches on one side of the trunk. There's an easement behind the house and any part of the trees that crossed the property line had been cut off. They were originally nice privacy trees, but now they were patchy and dropped a shit-ton of needles. We got two quotes. One was for removing a little over half of the trees. The other was from Salvatore Tree Service for all of the trees and came in at about half of the first quote. Dun. They showed up when they said they would and worked all day (from about 7:45 until after 6:15 - we left for the Springsteen concert and they were still raking up). I wouldn't hesitate to call them again. I watched them take down a few trees and I had never seen it done like this. A guy in a harness attached himself to the crane. The crane lifts him up about two thirds the height of the tree. He attached the crane line to the tree and then repelled down to the ground. He picked up a chainsaw and quickly cut the tree about a foot off the ground. The crane hoisted the tree then laid it gently on the ground where it was unattached from the crane and cut up by two other chainsaw wielding guys. They had a chipper and a log hauling truck there too.

That was a Tuesday. On Wednesday, I was very surprised at how much afternoon sunlight those threes blocked. On Friday, we met with a landscape architect and talked about different ways to lay out the yard. On Monday, we left the house at 5:15 and headed to the softball fields for a game. When we came home a little after 8, this was in the back yard.

This was a little unsettling because 24 hours earlier I had been mowing the lawn in this area. And 26 hours earlier, I was having a catch with my daughter there. Apparently, this was leaning on the pines we had removed and it took a week of not having anything to lean on for it to come down. I thought the easement was the town's, so I contacted them to come clean up their tree. Turns out, it isn't theirs. It still owned by the company that developed the neighborhood. I contacted them. The guy seemed nice enough but the tree was still alive so it is considered "an act of God" which puts it on me to clean up. I told him that there was more of this tree to come down and he should have it removed. He said he'd take a closer look at the tree and get back to me. Then I did what any cheap bastard would do: I went to Harbor Freight with a 20% off coupon and bought their el cheapo electric chainsaw for $45. I had always thought electric chainsaws were silly. Like for weekend warriors that wanted to play lumberjack. Not that I have any real experience with real chainsaws, but electric chainsaws always seemed like toy chainsaws to me. But I didn't want to deal with mixing fuel or the added cost of a decent chainsaw for a few hours. This electric toy worked like a champ. Took a little effort, but that saw went through some 16 inch logs. We cleaned everything up, bundled the trimmings for the town to take away and stacked the logs to give away to people that have fire pits. Dun, again.

The next morning we went up to my in-law to make fence posts out of large locust logs to repair a bunch of broken posts. Making the posts completely by hand using an ax, a maul, and a sledge/wedge was not going well. So we started at one end of the log with beating an ax into it with the sledge. The as far up the newly made crack in the log as we could go, we beat the wedge in making the crack much bigger. Then we put the bucket of the tractor in the crack. And finally, through the magic of hydraulics we started making fence posts. The tractor just popped the post right off along the grain. After a long day of repeating this procedure, we had a trailer full of new posts.

Colonist that did this completely by hand were totally bad-ass and have my respect and admiration. That finished up Memorial Day Weekend and dealing with trees...until that little thunderstorm on Friday.

Are you freakin' kidding me? That tree I knew was going to eventually fall did. And right on my neatly stacked pile of logs from the first tree. And it broke another section of fence.

Did I say Dammit, yet? So this morning, I went down to the basement and got my handy, dandy $45 Harbor Freight electric chainsaw again. And here's what the yard looks like now with a pickup load of logs taken away.

If I can't get rid of these leftover logs, I'm throwing them over what's left of the fence.


  1. I'll help you load it.

    If you go to my blogger profile, you can send me an email and we'll figure something out.