Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘pole chainsaw

Looking Good

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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.

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More Cuttin’

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I stepped out with the chainsaws yesterday and continued crafting a new pathway along our north property line. First, I worked the pole saw to bring down branches that crossed the fence line from our neighbor’s trees. This is a task that, like so many others, seems to grow as you work.

For each branch that comes down, multiple previously unnoticed smaller branches suddenly appear.

I don’t know, maybe that’s part of the appeal. The simple task becomes a drawn out project requiring an athletic endurance to complete, and offers a visual reward that can be enjoyed for months.

With the overhead branches removed, the big remaining obstacle drew my total focus: that massive downed oak, frozen in the ground and blocking passage. I’d been slowly picking away at the bark and digging away the leaves around it for days. I found there was a portion where I could saw a section that was suspended above the ground.

It was irresistible to the point I extended my work day to continue progress. I’ve now got the main section across the trail cut into pieces that will be much easier to manage, once the ground releases them from winter’s grip.

I was able to roll one piece out and tip it up on end. That inspired a couple of additional cuts on what remained, even though there wasn’t clearance from the ground. I succeeded at the cost of a sharp blade. The end of the blind cutting put my saw in contact with blade-dulling dirt.

I will spend this morning practicing the art of sharpening my chainsaw blade while the sun climbs high and warms the soil around the dwindling limbs still seized in the frozen ground. Before I do any more cutting, I plan to use shovels and pry bars in hopes of finally eliminating the last barrier across our new route behind the wood shed.

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Written by johnwhays

March 19, 2017 at 9:50 am

Another Tool

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I have totally abandoned my attachment to manual saws for trimming high limbs, and I know exactly why it happened. I have enjoyed nothing but successful ease with our two Stihl small gas engines after making the leap of buying a chainsaw and trimmer.

They were my gateway drug.

It took nothing more than a casual work-place conversation reference to a chainsaw on an extension pole to trigger my conviction that that was exactly the tool I needed. We already keep a jug of mixed gas and have experience with two very similar engines. What’s one more?

dscn5403echWhen a discount coupon arrived in the mail from my favorite hardware store —the one that has supplied my fix of other Stihl equipment— I was all in. It felt a little like I was being possessed by Tim Allen’s grunting tool guy.

The first tall branch where I hoped to test it turned out to be a bit more than what I could reach. Why start small? I quickly learned its limitations. Even standing on my ladder, I couldn’t lift the motorized pole high enough to reach the height where the limb had snapped and was dangling.

It seems like it should be so simple in theory, but the combination of difficult angles, heavy weight of the motor and pole, and awkward leverage of the long reach make using this tool a complex challenge.

Still, it will be a very helpful addition to my arsenal for clearing overhead branches along our trails. Also, and maybe even of more significance, it will serve us well in creating a high hedge-like wall of growth along our northern border where our neighbor grows a field of corn.

For those of you keeping score, this now makes it four small gas engines, …and still not a leaf blower among them.

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Written by johnwhays

November 8, 2016 at 6:00 am