Saturday, February 21, 2009


The weather is interesting to say the least.. from 60 and sunny to 22 and raining..

Still I was able to get a few more timbers up to the site, including two which were part of a tree that made my day interesting.. The tree was 22 inches in diameter where I cut it, and I needed it to fall in a particular direction given the trees around and the way that I was going to have to pull it out of the forest. So I notch the side on which I want it to fall, and I check the limbs to see where the weight is on the tree. The limbs seem to be evenly spaced and the trunk straight so I ought to be able to make the tree fall by cutting away one side low and the other high and the tree will fall into the gap..

Ought to.. Really ought to..

Do I need to say at this point that it did not? As I spend quite some time cutting through this large trunk, which turns out to be mostly heartwood-which is good for me-, I get around to the backside to cut away the far side from where it should fall.. I keep on cutting until I hear that first crack which is the tell-tale sign that the tree is coming down.. I pull the chainsaw out quickly and check to see which way the tree is falling.. I cannot tell except to note that it is NOT falling the direction that I needed it to fall..

Now this is why you always have a few "outs" when you are cutting down trees, especially 50-60 foot tall trees.. I bolted for the two closely spaced trees I had selected as my best out, and then looked back to see the cedar fall almost 180 degrees off of where I needed it to fall... Or to put it another way, fall exactly where I was standing moments before! Fortunately since this is thick forest I had no equipment nearby, except the chainsaw which was still in my hand (and running..) So I killed the saw, set it down, and damn near collapsed.. :) The adrenaline was coursing through my system at a break neck speed..

So rather than start in on delimbing the tree, I did a few jumping jacks.. ran in place.. and tried to work off the adrenaline.. Once more calm, I looked to see if I could still get this monster out of where it fell, decided that I could, then started in on delimbing it. After about two hours I had two very large 16 foot timbers pulled out of there, and one 8 footer left to get.

Ultimately this served as a reminder to never get too comfortable with a chainsaw or with dropping a tree. Usually you can easily tell which way a tree is going to fall (all of the limbs on one side, or it leans a particular direction) but sometimes something happens to change what you think will happen.

So too when I dropped a few other trees the day before when the wild grape vines, greenbriars, and other vines (including poison ivy 3 inches around!) held up a couple of trees, preventing them from falling down at all!

Finally to the stumps.. the photo with the red center is this large cedar which tried to end my life, the second is one I am asking for help with.. I am not sure what kind of tree this was.. One of the problems with getting snags (dead standing trees) is that they have no leaves and so the most common method of determining species is denied to us.. If anyone has any ideas jump in and offer them.. The bark is like that of an oak or a hickory, there is no heartwood, and the interior is almost brilliant white..

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