Couple weeks ago had a spindly pine around 40’ off our private road about 75’ tall but only about 20” diameter half uproot and get hung in a bigger pine leaning about 20 degrees off vertical and aimed at the road. It seemed stuck pretty good but I had to head out of town early in the morning on business for a few days so figured I had better get it down before I left as it would block the road and be a mess if I wasn’t there to get it up.
It was one of those days where no one got injured, no equipment got busted, everything got done, but nothing went right either.
Told my wife and Dad to stay off the road for about 30 minutes and I’d text them when all was clear. Put a rope and snatch block about 20’ up the trunk, notched it to fall away from the driveway, started to pull on it from a perfectly safe distance to put just a little pressure on it before back cutting. Before back cutting, I shut off the saw and checked the rigging now that it was snug to make sure nothing was in a bind and all was right with it. So of course my Dad comes up from his end of the road on his four wheeler, wife comes down from our end of the road on the Mule and they start an impromptu conference in the road under the tree. Tell my wife the tree ain’t down yet so please park anywhere else on the planet. She knows what tree I’m cutting so she looks at it, realizes her error and moves. Dad decides it’s a good time to heckle me. Wants to know why I’m taking down a perfectly healthy tree and why I need the tractor to do it other than an excuse to use the tractor. If it falls across the driveway, he’ll just whack it off with limb loppers and throw it out of the way. Back in the day he didn’t cut healthy trees for no reason and he didn’t need a grapple on a fancy tractor to move a 3” tree. We then clarify I’m not cutting that tree, I’m cutting THAT tree. He hadn’t notice THAT tree as it wasn’t all that obvious from the road, so he moved without further comment and later thanked me for taking it down. They’re not normally like that. It should have been a sign but there was no stopping at that point anyway.
Do the back cut, leaving a nice even hinge. Not sure how bad stuck it is but know it’s either going to stay on the hinge and pull over or it’s going to pull off the stump and go who knows where. Nothing of value in range so really don’t care. It gets up to about 5 degrees off vertical, pulls off the stump, falls into another tree and is hung again. All the rigging is still in place and there’s nothing in front of the tractor big enough to stop it so forward we go, pull the bottom out from under it and down it comes all perfect.
Dad goes home now that the excitement is over. Wife comes back to help drag limbs and clean up. Plan is to cut the trunk into 10’ or so chunks to dump in the hole about 50’ away, strip the limbs and grapple to the brush pile for chipping later.
Problem 1: Either the pine or a tree it hit was populated by approximately 4 million chiggers many of which attacked me. That shortened the plan to 20’ sections of trunk and we’re taking the whole top which we’ll limb up later for chipping after the chiggers freeze this winter.
Priblem 2: While wife is making a little brush pile from the busted limbs that didn’t stay on the tree, she steps on a yellow jacket nest, flees to the Mule and apparently tries to outrun them as she tears off toward the pond at about 40mph. Even if I could do something for her I couldn’t catch her, so me and my chiggers go back to work. Grapple gets the trunk sections into the hole pretty quick. On to skidding the tree top through the small trees which I have ceased to give one crap about which results in the low range, slow, low impact method going to medium range, WOT, full pedal and to heck with anything I can run over method. As I was pulling the 35’ tree top down the ditch (didn’t care to tear up the gravel with it) at about 10mph, wife passes me coming back from the pond, I guess still trying to lose the yellow jackets, still running about 40, going who knows where. After getting to the general vicinity of the brush pile I grapple the tree top on top of the pile, track down the wife and agree it’s a really good day to sit inside and watch football.
She only got stung twice so she doctored those up, showered, and got lunch together while I put up all the equipment, grappled the brush pile she made over to the big brush pile, and exterminated a nest of yellow jackets. Lunch, shower, and football made a good rest of the day.
Thought I at least had a before pic of the tree. Only pics I could find were the tree top getting loaded on the brush pile. Yes, that’s all one thing and I don’t have a four lane road to the brush pile which is why it had to be skidded most of the way.