Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘cutting branches

Looking Good

leave a comment »

I’m in the final countdown of days before leaving tomorrow for my annual vacation week of biking and camping with the Tour of Minnesota. I feel reasonably prepared, both mentally and physically. Yesterday, we worked on a few projects with immediate visual rewards on the landscape around our house and on our north loop trail to get everything looking good before I go.

We received notification from our county that it was time to have our septic system inspected and yesterday the tank was pumped and deemed to be in good working order. That’s always a relief to know. Cyndie and I mustered the initiative to use the occasion to clean up the overgrowth in our drain field.

I was reminded of our visit to Ian’s place in Portugal in 2010 when he and I cleared the bramble that had covered a spring he hadn’t seen in years. I uncovered an old tree stump that I had forgotten was there when we cleaned up the crazy tangle of things growing among the wild raspberry bushes since the last time we cut back the growth there.

After that was done I got out the diesel tractor and mowed down the thistle and poison ivy as well as the edges of our north loop trail. If I somehow avoid getting a rash after the wild thrashing of so much of the troublesome ivy it will be a big surprise to me.

Next, we spent time trimming branches near our backyard fire pit. I started with a pole saw that proved entirely inadequate and ultimately brought out the pole chainsaw and the big chainsaw to clear all that looked deserving. It is always interesting to discover there are more things to cut than we originally expected. Once you get in there and take out the first layer, the next obvious candidates suddenly pop into view.

While I had the main chainsaw out, I finally dispatched the last dying pine tree that was in the middle of the back yard.

Cyndie captured the shot just as the tree was falling. There is only one dying pine tree left back there now. It is on the side of the yard and doesn’t stand out as obviously so it can linger a while longer. We have already got enough branches to clean up after all the cutting that was accomplished yesterday.

Today, I will mow the grass with the lawn tractor to get this place looking its best before I leave Cyndie to deal with everything for a week.

That should be completed with plenty of time to spare for packing my things before Saturday’s departure. Despite having done this June week of biking and camping more than twenty times before, I still struggle with the decision making about what I really need to bring.

At this point, it sounds like the week is going to start out hot. That should make it easier to pack light.

.

.

Just Starting

leave a comment »

We are just starting to find out how much work lies ahead to clean up all the downed trees left by the guys we hired to do all the cutting. After completing the willow, I set my sights on the next biggest mess of trees and branches just beside the labyrinth.

I cut and stacked the biggest chunks to be split for firewood.

I started a stack of branches that will be ideal for turning into chips.

The smallest branches will be hauled to our northern property line where we are making a “fence” by piling up brush.

After making just one trip with the ATV trailer filled to overflowing with branches, I’m thinking we may need to alter our plan. There is going to be a lot more brush to pile than there is space to pile it.

There is still a couple of days worth of clean-up to do in this spot.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

From here, I move on to roughly fifty more trees on the ground throughout our woods waiting to be processed. At least none of those will be as big as the two trees I’ve picked to do first. There’s a method to my madness. I hope it will keep getting easier as I work my way through our woods.

On a follow-up note about Pequenita’s diagnosis… We received confirmation on her hyperthyroidism and will treat her with medication. No other problems were detected in her blood analysis. She has lost five pounds since the last time she’d been in, which was a few years ago. Our wee one is living up to her name.

She is one tiny tortie.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 25, 2022 at 6:00 am

Danger Zone

leave a comment »

Green growth is bursting at breakneck speed everywhere we turn this time of year. As much as I dream of letting nature have its way to grow unhindered, experience reveals a number of ways intervention offers room for improvement. Pruning becomes a responsibility, really, to offset the alternative look of neglect.

After enlisting the professional help of tree trimmers to prune and fell trees on our 20 acres, I have an endless amount of clean-up to do in their wake. Historically, I have failed to keep up with the felled lumber that hired help has scattered around our forest floor so I am striving to change that this time.

My effort started with the large willow tree that was first on the list of trees needing attention this spring and which got pruned to a much greater degree than I expected.

Yesterday, I worked to finish cutting up and splitting the last of the large branches scattered beneath the tree after the pruners were finished. The closer I got to completing the effort of clearing the tangle of branches and limbs laying around the trunk of the tree, the more obvious it became that I was working in a danger zone of poison ivy.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The shiny leaves of three with a tinge of redness in the early period of sprouting were everywhere beneath this willow. Everything that I picked up had a high probability of having been in contact with the dreaded rash-inducing plants but I was knee-deep and hours long into the project so I decided to just keep going.

With extra consciousness to quit reaching my gloved hands up to my face, I forged ahead cutting, splitting, and stacking limbs in the woodshed for drying.

It felt a little insane to be plodding back and forth in growth that was filled with so much poison ivy but I decided it was a risk I needed to face to complete the bigger task at hand. It feels great to have the ground around the tree entirely picked up after the pruning. Now I only have twenty or thirty others left deserving similar treatment.

Thankfully, there aren’t any others surrounded by as much poison ivy as this willow.

At the end of my many outdoor projects, I carefully got out of my clothes and piled them in the basement to be laundered and then hit the shower with special oil-busting soap that I lathered and lathered in hopes of surviving the danger with minimal reaction.

I can hope that I wasn’t breathing aerosolized particles of the oil during the tree branch cutting and clearing efforts. My body doesn’t have a good history of inhaling the irritating essence of poison ivy.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 22, 2022 at 10:08 am

Limbing Up

leave a comment »

We have a fair number of big trees that need professional attention to bring down high branches and widow-makers. I received a quote for the work but the guy said they can’t start until the ground dries up enough to support their machinery. I don’t know if it will ever get that dry.

While he was here, I asked his opinion about pruning the lower limbs of our evergreen trees. Some trees are getting so wide at the bottom, that I can barely get around them on the garden tractor when I’m mowing. He offered no objections to limbing up the trees about 3-4 feet.

For all the years we’ve been walking our property, I’d never noticed that our neighbor’s evergreens are all “limbed up” 4-6 feet until I started thinking about doing it to ours. I see that as a good sign, that I didn’t notice. It never looked “wrong” to me on their lot so I trust I won’t dislike the look on ours.

I’m starting with the trees that most annoy me when mowing and then will decide about doing more of our others after I see how the first few look. It’s really a great problem to have, trees getting so big.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

One of the challenges of pruning so many branches is that it creates large piles of cuttings that need to be dealt with later. Right now I am thinking about trimming off the smallest portions of the cut branches and creating a pile of the woodiest cores to be run through the chipper. The needles and small ends can be tossed into the brush piles I’m creating as a natural hedge fence along part of the northern border of our property.

Working on the second tree yesterday using our cool Stihl mini chainsaw, I was cutting so many limbs, one after another, the machine shut down because it got too hot.

Too much of a good thing, I think. This handy little chainsaw is a really slick addition to our cutting tools. The problem with it is that it works too well.

I have to fight the urge to cut too many branches because it is so easy. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean I should.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 3, 2022 at 6:00 am

An Idea

with one comment

I have been trying to picture what I might be able to do with the remaining trunk after cutting off all the dead branches on the large tree at the corner of our property by the road.

Here is a mockup of what one idea I have been pondering might look like…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

It would be a subtle, perpetual message to passing neighbors and travelers, and can serve as a compliment to our banner flag with the word LOVE across it when we put that out at the end of the driveway for events.

My main question for myself is whether, or not, I could evenĀ achieve this sculpting despite my lack of experience. I would certainly need to deal with an aversion to working in such a conspicuous space.

No hiding this project from curious passersby.

How bad do I want it?

The answer to that will determine whether this project is ultimately attempted, or just remains a computer image of an idea I once had.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 29, 2017 at 7:00 am

It’s Infected

leave a comment »

Why did I disregard the training I received long ago, and not take serious action to treat the puncture wound I received on Monday evening? I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I had stepped into a wooden thorn protruding from the bark of a downed tree. It bothered me at work yesterday, and I complained to a coworker about it. She asked if I had done anything about it. I washed it when I took a shower. Other than that, no. I received the “typical man” reply.

IMG_0010eAfter work yesterday, Cyndie and I dove into the chore of clearing the trees off the rise behind the barn where we will be creating a new driving lane. As I was stumbling through the tangle of downed limbs (again, wearing shorts instead of long pants) my legs were suffering new abuses. I, again, complained about the pain from Monday’s thorn. Cyndie asked if I had done anything to treat it.

“No, I didn’t probe the wound, rooting around in search of any leftover thorn fragment.” She offered to disinfect it for me.

As I stepped into the shower, I spotted the inflamed area around the tiny puncture hole.

I guess I should have given this more attention at the time of the incident, like I was trained to do.

If there is any leftover thorn in there, it’s turned to mush now. I did my wimpy, timid best to see if I could get a hold of anything with a tweezers, but to no avail. I resorted to pressing and squeezing around the wound to drain pus. We tried some Hydrogen peroxide, a little rubbing alcohol, and then, an antibiotic ointment.

Luckily, we are not so remote that I can’t just hop in the car and quickly arrive at an urgent care facility. But, that is not an excuse for being nonchalant about caring for wounds that are often considered insignificant. I know better. I intend to use this as a lesson to renew my diligence about giving every assault on my protective shell, proper attention, regardless the perceived seriousness.

Written by johnwhays

July 24, 2013 at 7:00 am