Tree Removal

Today, I did some lumber jacking in the back yard. Along the north side of my yard, in the section farthest from the house, I have several pine trees. These trees were so big when I moved into this house that they made the back yard look small. My remedy, 13 years ago, was to cut the trees back and trim them such that the lowest branch was higher than 6 feet. That way, I could walk under them. I could plant grass under them. I could use my whole back yard.

Fast forward 10+ years. The trees are not doing well. I don’t know if I trimmed back too much or too much at one time or what. But, of the 6 trees that were there, only one is still alive and it only has green at the top 15 feet or so. One of the trees fell in a wind storm last summer. Lucky for me, it fell into my yard instead of the neighbor’s yard.

This summer, I noticed that one of the remaining trees was leaning. It had rotted out at the bottom and it was leaning in the direction of: 1) The neighbor’s yard, 2) The neighbor’s garage, 3) Power lines, 4) a fence that I own, but would rather not replace this summer.

Since the tree was rotten at the bottom, I figured I could just use a come-along (hand operated ratcheting winch) to pull the tree in the direction of my yard. I as I looked closer at the tree, I realized that the top 5 feet or so was going to be impeded in my attempt to get it to fall into my yard by a branch from the Black Walnut tree that dominates my back yard. No big deal, right? I will just pull the tree toward my yard and the top part will snap off as it gets pulled.  Before I could do that, though, I had some prep work to do.

There was an old phone line that ran from the pole at the back corner of the yard (where the trees are) to the house.  I had to remove that.  Since I was removing that line, I decided to remove the old phone box from the side of the house, too.

I attempted several different ways of getting this darn tree to fall into my yard.  First I pulled it away from the direction that it was leaning. Once I got it leaning toward my yard, I used some old 4X4 posts to prop the tree and make sure it wasn’t going to fall back to where it had been while I adjusted the rope and come along. I had to do quite a bit of work to get the tree to snap and fall.  When it did finally break, it didn’t break near the top where it was touching the branch.  Instead, it snapped almost 15 feet below that.  When it did fall, it made a tremendous and marvelous noise.  The neighbors behind my house, who were outside playing with their kids, yelled, “That was awesome!”

The lady of the house said, “It’s a good thing that you can run fast.” – thinking that I was in danger because I was using the come along to pull the tree toward me. I assured them that I had measured it out and that I was safe.  They didn’t believe me.  So, I picked up what was the top of

the tree and carried it over and placed it where it would have been had the tree fallen in one piece. Vindicated.  I had used the method described in the Boy Scout Handbook to determine how far away I’d need to be

Having taken care of the problem tree, I decided to pull down another one while I still had the come along all set up and the ropes at the appropriate lengths. When this one came down, it was less dramatic.  It just pulled up at the roots.  It didn’t fall all the way.  I’ll take care of the rest when I chop it up into burnable logs.when the tree fell.The aftermath of the felling of two of the six trees that have been rotting away in my back yard for years…

Just a quick update

First, an odometer YTD update.  As of August 31st, I’ve logged 3193.35 miles in the saddle.  August was the month of the Mad Anthony River Rally and I rode the 100 mile route.  My goal was 20mph average and I nailed it.  I started with a group of 14 of my favorite tab people and finished with 3 people I don’t know.  The TAB group just didn’t want to work hard enough to meet my goal, so I took off with the 3 strong riders.

No special rides planned for September, yet.  I’m kind of tapering at this point because we’re approaching the windy season and I don’t want to miss any kiting sessions.  I do want to plan a Bike Brewery Tour though. I’ve reached out to the breweries that I’d like to visit and I’m awaiting replies.  I’m hoping they have some sort of mini-glass so that we can sample some of their signature beers without getting blitzed on the ride.

Readings:  I’m currently reading 2 books on the kindle with the objective of learning to be a better story teller.  I’m not using anything that I’ve learned in this update, obviously.  I’m really not in the mood to do this update, but I feel like I need to knock it out to get the YTD odometer update out there.  I’ll provide reviews of those books once I’ve finished them.  The first of those two, Presenting to Win: The art of Telling Your Story, is frustrating so far.  The other, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, is much more enjoyable.

I’m also reading a book on Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel for a project at work.  This powerful tool has some serious potential going forward.  I’ll post on that later, too.

As I mentioned above, we’re nearing the end of the cycling season (for regular folks) because it’s getting dark out earlier and earlier.  That means I’ll be riding less and reading more.  One of the skills I want to pick up this winter is the ability to create mobile applications.  I hope I have time do fit this in among my cycling, mountain biking, snowboarding, kiting, and snow-kiting.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day!