Saturday, November 26, 2011

A tree falls at Chalupy

We have had, as my son would say, a November rich in weather events. 60 cm of snow. Then some very strong winds. Then more snow. The winds, however, caused several trees to abandon their roots and succumb to the lure of gravity. So, in my driveway, due to Murphy's law, I found a hung-up aspen. By good fortune, it hung up in a willow tree and missed taking out the shop roof. So it had to be removed. John did the dirty work, or most of it. The first thing was to prop it up so it would not crash to the ground, crushing the removers of the tree.
We used a stepladder to prop it up while John sawed it loose. All the cutting was done with my faithful handsaws. On a job like this, were you to use a chainsaw you would be cutting above your waist and that is very dangerous. Old-fashioned handsaws are indicated.

Next job was to cut off the hung-up portion of the tree.
Can't see the shop roof in the picture, but the tree is brushing it. Once we (John, actually) cut off the forks, the tree was ready to pull out. Now that piece of tree must weigh 300Kg, much too much for two people. Here's where machinery comes in.
I carry a long chain, about 5m, in the car; attach this to log and car, and drive forth. Tree came loose smoothly...
and we muscled it off-driveway.

Dealing with hung-up trees across your driveway is a common Alaska winter activity. Several things come to mind, should you ever have to do this. One is that a chainsaw is very dangerous when you cut above waist level (actually it is always dangerous. But using it high above ground is really, really dumb). Another thing you must remember is the way the tree is going to sag when you cut it. In this case, when you cut from above, because it is hung up it will eventually pinch the saw. You then must underbuck, that is cut from below the tree, cutting upwards. It takes some skill to meet the top cut. This is true whether you use a chainsaw or do it by hand. Finally, when it comes to pulling trees, use a vehicle --- tractor, truck, car --- to do the pulling. A big tree weighs a ton. Literally. Don't try to move it by hand, or if you must, invest in a Peavy.

More snow forecast next week. Blew out the driveway again today; snow over Thanksgiving. Not much, though.

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