September 28, 2003

Losing a limb

I was the first one home friday, so I went out to clean up the backyard. I had just finished raking leaves when Mookie got home from school, so I had her throw something into the oven for dinner. Meanwhile I was checking out the tomato plants. It's been a real disappointing year for tomatoes, but we've got several little ones started. This late into the season, what these guys need is plenty of sunlight. One thing our backyard doesn't have is plenty of sunlight.

I'd been putting it off, but I was on a roll so I decided to to take down a big limb in the maple tree to open up the yard to late afternoon light. There are only two problems. First, this limb was waaaay up there, and second, it hung over the fence into the neighbors yard. I could care less about the neighbors yard, but I did not want to drop this massive limb on the fence that I paid for.

Mookie was in her room which looks out over the back yard, so I moved under her window to holler up and noticed a humongous spider seemingly hanging in mid-air right outside her window. Perfect. [evil grin]

Rachael poked her head out the window when I yelled and I asked her to come down and give me a hand. As an afterthought I told her to look to her left and she almost decapitated herself pulling her head back inside. Down below I'm laughing like a madman.

Together we moved the bench swing out from underneath the limb. I pulled out my 'high limb cutter'. What this is is a chainsaw blade strung between two long pieces of rope. You toss the rope over the limb, use the ropes to position the blade to cut, and then pull back and forth on the ropes to saw through the limb. Simple and effective.

Wonder of wonders, I tossed the rope over the correct limb on the very first try. Mookie is impressed. Now I did have a plan in mind, I'm hoping to saw through the limb about 4 feet out from the trunk, and let it splinter off so that it pivots down and misses the fence when it falls. Later I can saw the rest of the limb off cleanly close to the trunk.

Worked like a champ. Sorta. The limb began to break, swung down and missed the fence, but it didn't break completely free. Next I grabbed my pole saw (one of the neatest tools ever invented by man) and started hacking smaller branches off of the limb. Once I've cleared a path for the ropes again (which are still around the limb), I moved into a better position for leverage - and out from underneath - and started to saw away again. In moments the limb fell.

Now up to this point, everything went as planned, which gave me a false sense of competence.

Next comes the classic 'uh oh' moment. The limb dropped vertically, hit the ground and started to fall directly towards me. I'm up against the fence, in between the compost bin and a pile of bricks, so there's nowhere for me to go. In the blink of an eye, the splintered end of the limb crashed to the ground in front of me. How close was it? Lets just say that I'm glad I wasn't aroused. Now it's Mookie's turn to laugh hysterically, and she claims it's cosmic payback for the Paooki prank.

Once my heart started again, we cut up the limb into manageable pieces and finished cleaning up. I don't even like tomatoes.

Posted by: Ted at 07:39 PM | category: Boring Stories
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Post contains 614 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Now why was that not titled Amputating a Limb? It doesn't appear that it was lost.

Posted by: Tiger at September 28, 2003 07:59 PM (teDxn)

2 Yeah, this was a crappy year for the 'dermaters'. Last year we had no rain but lots of sun (the watering pot served well to compensate); this year it was all rain an no sun (boo!).
The cukes did pretty good though!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at September 28, 2003 11:38 PM (XdAO4)

3 LOL If I claim I amputated the tree limb, I'd wind up with people living in my tree to keep me from doing further harm to our green friends.

Posted by: Ted at September 29, 2003 07:50 AM (bov8n)

4 Tell me how to make a high limb-trimmer. How does the cutting side of the chain saw blade get into a position to cut when you've got this thing 20' up there?

Posted by: Greg at October 23, 2004 09:58 PM (XWtVI)

5 Greg, I bought mine at Sears. The chain only bends in one direction, so it pretty much sets itself into position. Maybe it's not a true chainsaw chain, but I'm not sure about that.

Posted by: Ted at October 24, 2004 01:01 AM (ZjSa7)

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