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A Chain Saw, A Ladder, Some Trees & Me

by Pennie on September 12, 2013


Ok, I know this sounds like a recipe for disaster, but let me state right up front that no limbs (no human ones, anyway) were lost during this execution of this project.

We have some trees in our back yard that grow like weeds.  When we first moved into the house three years ago, we had a bunch of trees taken out because the whole yard was overgrown.  It was like a jungle in the back yard.  And these trees, which line the sides and back of the back yard were cut down to somewhere between 5 & 6 feet.

Those trees are now easily 20 to 25 feet tall!  Seriously.  And they have offshoots all over the place.  I feel like Alice in Wonderland out there and that at any second the small limbs are going to reach out and wind themselves around me and I’ll eventually become part of the tree.

I have yet to identify what these trees are.  I just know they are prolific and deciduous.  When you cut them, new growth springs forth from around the limb that was cut off.  You often end up with trees with many trunks, but thin trunks.  One of the trees must have been out there for quite some time because it has multiple thicker trunks with fuller leaf coverage.  Most of the other trees tend to be tall and spindly with thin limbs leaning over from their own weight.  It’s beginning to look like a jungle again.

I tend to be kind of a spur of the moment kind of gal, and when I decide I want something done, I want it done now, and I don’t want to have to haggle about schedules and who’s involved and whatnot.  Today I wanted the trees trimmed.  Damn the weather (it was pretty stinking hot today) and everything else.  So I gear up and out I go into the yard, chain saw in hand.

I’m going along cutting off limbs, standing back, accessing, cutting more limbs, etc. and it’s going pretty well.  Do you know how to cut off limbs?  You cut from the underside up into the limb just enough that it doesn’t bind the chain and then you cut down from the top.  Easy Peasy.

I’m about 5’4″ and I’m standing on the ground cutting limbs up at about 6′, which really isn’t the safest thing to do.  And remember I said the limbs are leaning over from their own weight?  I’m cutting a particularly heavy limb up from the bottom and I go in just a little too far.

The limb bends down on itself and catches the chain saw and it is totally stuck.  Really stuck, above my head, dangling from the blade.  Sigh.  I try to push the limb up far enough to get the chain and blade out, but it is too high and too heavy for me to get any leverage.  I call my daughter out to help.

She is 5’10”, so she should be able to help right?  The problem is (don’t tell her I told you) she is kind of a wimp.  Well, maybe not a wimp, but with little upper body strength.  She pushes, pulls,  ropes and leverages to no avail.  We decide to bring out a ladder to get closer to the problem and bring along some chisels.

We make some headway but not enough to actually get the blade out.  I bring out the circular saw.  My daughter is semi-horrified.  She is not happy with power tools.  But she is determined to save me from myself because she thinks I’m getting too old to do some of the things I do.  She states that she is going up on the ladder and use the saw to cut the limb, and I must stay firmly on the ground.

Problem is she has never used a circular saw and holding down the safety and the trigger are discombobulating enough when I point out that she also has to pull back the blade cover at the same time.  All while standing on a ladder, on uneven ground.

But she is determined to do it, right up to the moment I say “Be sure to stay away from the chain, because if you hit that the kickback on the circular saw…” She was down on the ground so fast I didn’t have time to finish the sentence!  It is now my job to be up on the ladder with the circular saw while she stays far, far away.

In about 2 minutes the limb is down, the chain saw is free and no humans are harmed.  I cut down a few more limbs until the chain slips off the saw which I interpret as a sign to stop for the day.  I pack up all the gear, drag all the limbs into a pile to take to the dump, come into the house and collapse into a heap of sweat.

Getting stuck was annoying but I still got a lot down so that was pretty satisfying.  A pretty good day overall.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Lauralee Hensley September 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

They sound like Poplar Trees. Believe me I have five of them. You cut and new off sprouts. It the roots are close to the top of the soil they’ll even send up new trees, so I’m always having to cut them down too. Wish we didn’t have them. I’d take one pretty Maple tree over all these crazy ones. Yet we priced how much it would be to remove them, and there is no way we can afford such.

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