Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lovely town, Mount Vernon.

Last weekend was one filled with some hard work, as we try to get our new home in move-in and livable condition. Unlike our home in Bristol, we are getting others to do some of the major projects for us, such as refinishing floors and walls. It's a combination of "been there, done that" and having two little children who make it hard to carve out the time to do the work.

Or, maybe we're a little lazier.

Other jobs are beyond our scope: Installing central A/C (a prerequisite in Iowa, where we just endured an 8-day spell of temps above 95ยบ), adding to the electrical system and installing a system to rid the home of a mysterious, possible cancer-causing called radon that is prevalent in Iowa and few other places.

But we have cut down some trees, including one pretty big one. And that's what this post will be about, despite my lede.

On to that tree: We believe it was a red cedar tree, a 25- to 30-footer that had the unfortunate plight of having grown right next to our front porch. So, it was brushing right up against our house. Worse, it was dwarfed by a fir tree that is easily 100-feet tall. a real monster, that one. I call it "Pisa," because it leans, it's stately, and it's clearly pretty old.

Anyway, the yew tree needed to go, and Michelle's brother, Matt, and I decided to do it ourselves.

Just call us the lumberjacks.

Last Friday, after I got off work, Matt and I got to work. Matt roped a loop about a third of the way up the tree and we hooked the other end of the rope to the back of a pickup truck. Then we broke out the chainsaw and went to town. The base of the tree is about 11/2 feet to 2 feet thick, and yet we thought we'd fell it in no time. We cut a notch and then sliced away at the sides, expecting the tree to weaken quickly and be ready to go down.

We started at 5:30 p.m. 6:30, 7:30, 8:30. The tree remained upright. In fact, it showed no sign of budging. It was getting dark, and we were starting to wonder whether we'd have to leave it there and take our chances. Meanwhile, the neighborhood had taken quite a bit of interest in our labors. Some walked nearby, pretending to be on a regular evening stroll. Others simply stood in their lawns and gaped. One man rode by in a canary yellow vintage car and asked us, in no mean spirit, what company were we from.

"Brother & Brother," I replied.

He didn't seem amused.

Neither did the neighbors. Not only were we subjecting them to the whine of the chainsaw in the middle of the evening, but there was morbid fascination coursing through the hood that these yahoos from Rhode Island just may cause a tree to fall on that house they just bought.

I must admit that thought crossed my mind, too.

But we were too deep to turn back. So, we mounted one final push. Matt sawed, and I gunned the pickup truck, getting that rope as taut as possible without snapping it. Suddenly, the tree moved, like a slipped disk in your back. Matt sawed again, and I pulled the rope taut again. It slipped again. Another saw and snap! that baby crashed to the ground, right where we had planned (and hoped) it would.

Here's the result, with Iowa's newest lumberjack.

Here's the debris field from the tree.

And a gratuitous shot of me.

Now, we have designs on that 100-footer.

We're not that crazy!


Leeann said...

Dang, that was a risky move but it sounds like it worked out perfectly! Great job.

Matt is rocking the abs! :-)

Can't wait to see more photos of the new house as it comes along. Very exciting!

Richard Lewis said...

What about me? Don't I look pretty good for an old guy?